HOW TO ENJOY A MANDATED STAYCATION

It’s all in the mindset. “I hope you are enjoying the time at home with your family right now!” This is how I’m starting every email to clients, potential clients, friends, basically everyone right now. Why? Two reasons. First, a positive lead in to the conversation can start to shift the mindset out of the gate.  Second, mandated time at home and everything around us being cancelled can feel like we’re not at choice. However, we CAN choose to look at this differently. In fact, even enjoying a mandated staycation. 

Last month, I wrote an entire article about Hitting the Pause Button. No, I’m not Agent Zero of the start of the Coronavirus, but the irony of this is not lost on me. While it’s a bit of a forced pause, maybe it’s exactly what we’ve all been looking for.

“Heather- you crazy….” (said in my best movie character voice) I know. I tend to see opportunity in situations no matter how dire they may seem to others. It’s a blessing while also annoying as hell to others I’m sure.  

There are absolutely going to be days/weeks as a part of this time at home where we may lose our ever-loving minds. Folks, I’m not s**tting rainbows and riding around on unicorns, I promise. I did the same exasperated sigh when city and state officials held the press conference announcing school was going to be cancelled for at least three weeks.

Pretty sure I said something like, “Jake and I may not make it out of this alive.” In fact, Jeremy and I took a long walk after the announcement talking about our approach for the next few weeks and how we were going to “make it through.” (yes, very dramatic) Afterall, I’m starting a business and having two kids at home doesn’t exactly scream productivity.

But if we are going to ask our kids for help in making this work, shouldn’t we at least have a mindset of enjoying this mandated staycation?

POPS OF POSITIVE

I keep seeing pops of positive that frankly make my heart happy. Friends talking about family meals around the table because all sports are cancelled. Family game nights more frequent because no sports are on the tv. Let’s get our own family competition on! Kids actively wanting to read because at some point, how long can you watch movies and play video games? Neighborhood kids playing for hours on end when they are normally interrupted because of schedules. These aren’t BAD things folks.

I’m not blind to the fact this is an absolute struggle for some families both from a financial standpoint as well as logistically. You want to know what else I’ve seen? People posting on social media how they can and will help with meals if you reach out to them with no judgment around the need. Neighbors offering to watch kids in an effort for more community. Individuals offering to support local people who are considered high risk to run errands for them or just have a daily phone call for some interaction. Humanity stepping up in a time of need.

What is my point? There is the old saying about life giving you lemons and making lemonade. Well, maybe life is giving us Corona right now to make a better Community.

Here are my three pieces of advice for having some fun and furthermore, a positive outlook for enjoying our mandated staycation.

#1 – STOP WATCHING THE NEWS AND SOCIAL MEDIA 24/7 

Being informed is great. However, over informed and constant information creates panic and a serious amount of “what-ifs.” If you don’t know what I mean by the what-ifs, there is a great children’s book called Bruce Moose and the What-Ifs, by Gary J. Oliver and H. Norman Wright. You would actually be surprised how often I refer to this book when coaching with clients.  The premise is about worry and how it can consume and paralyze us, but only if we let it. How we immediately go to the negative space of what could go wrong. But what could go right? Bringing us back to the mindset that there is a silver lining to all of this if we just dig a little deeper.

When life gives you Corona, have a party at home. Yes, I’m stretching, but come on. We HAVE to laugh. 

Speaking of, yesterday I saw a meme that made me laugh really hard. It was about how we’re all glad to know the way every random sweepstakes, vendor, and rewards card we’ve ever encountered are handling the Coronavirus. SO TRUE! Stop looking at your emails and/or just hit delete. I am assuming you don’t need to know how Delta or the Marriott are handling this unless you have upcoming travel. I literally just went through my email and grabbed the first five I saw….. Groupon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Monogram Hub, Michaels, and Papa John’s, noted. Not sure why I need to know how you are handling things. 

EVERY BLESS-ED ORGANIZATION is sending out an announcement. At some point, WHO CARES?!?! You are an adult. Your organization is run by what I assume are adults. Furthermore, my assumption is you are handling this to the best of your abilities. Stop telling me to wash my hands. Got it. Noted. I do not need the company I ordered a chair from in 2004 to remind me to wash my hands and stay home if I’m sick. 

And the social media posts….. OMG. Unless they have Dr. before their name or an LPN, RN, CAN, NP, PA, MD, EMT, RT, CRNA after their name (thanks Tonna Randolph for this list!), I LITERALLY DON’T CARE AND DON’T WANT YOUR TAKE ON WHAT SHOULD OR SHOULDN’T BE DONE. For the love of God. MAKE IT STOP. To every Tom, Dick, and Harry who are the resident expert on everything because they saw one headline from one news source and are spreading panic and questioning all authority, kindly….. SHUT UP. In fact, hole up in your house. The world will be a better place for it. And for more reasons than just the spread of a virus.

Just for the record, I’m fully speaking to everyone. Not just one side or the other of the political s**tshow. ENOUGH! If you were my children, you would be grounded and sentenced to write, “I will be nice and treat others with kindness,” until your hand needs surgery. All of them!

#2 – STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS

This one is a full-time mindset, not just in a time of a global pandemic. However, for our purposes today, we’ll talk about this in terms of having your kids at home with you for the unforeseeable future with no extracurricular activities. I was on a hilarious text chain last night which verified my thoughts on this.

If you are the most organized, June Cleaver mother and have amazing activities with color coded time slots for entertaining your children for the next 3 weeks, awesome. If you are polar opposite of this and are handing over the remote controls and setting up a soda and snack station by the Playstation for 3 weeks, also awesome. DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! 

I’ve seen some amazingly creative things on social media. It should be noted, I don’t think anyone posting their charts are doing so for bragging rights per say. (On the other hand, there are probably some, but let’s be kind.) Hopefully the intent is purely providing others with ideas.

But parents, first off, if it’s not going to work for you, don’t do it! Secondly, stop feeling bad about it. Setting up unreasonable expectations of yourself and your kids is only going to create more frustration in an already tense time. Suddenly asking your child to read 2 hours a day when you can barely get them to read for 20 minutes has DISASTER written all over it, for instance.

We’re somewhere in the middle on this schedule thing. Jeremy and I came up with an additional house chore per day for each kid and then a few school related things for them to do each morning. The boys choose whatever order for these activities and if they complete without argument and complaining, then basically the rest of the day is playing outside with neighbors, video game tournaments, puzzles, and Lego building. We’re mixing in some family walks in there when we’re off of calls, but we’re not scheduling this. Again, because THIS IS WHAT WORKS FOR US.

Stop judging each other for what is going on. Everyone is in survival mode with this new schedule. Furthermore, comparison during this time will be the root of all evil. I will only judge you if you start shaming others. Think about that.

#3 – ENJOY YOURSELF- THINK OF IT AS A MANDATED STAYCATION

This goes back to the mindset thing, but what would happen if we allowed ourselves to actually enjoy this time at home? Thinking of this as a gift of time. Time is one of the top reasons people sight for not doing things. Following dreams. Making phone calls. Playing games. Getting in shape. Spending time with family. Reading a book. Doing a puzzle. You name it, TIME is the factor.

We’ve all just been handed the GIFT OF TIME. Schedules opened up. Kids present with us now with clear schedules. What are you going to do with this gift? The present is a present. (I know, so corny… but so true.)

I’m not telling you this as another thing to stress yourself out over. Instead, just take some time to think about it. Be intentional about what you want to do with this time. Your mind will inevitably go to the what-ifs sometimes and that’s okay. But after you have acknowledged this worry, move back to a space of enjoying this time with your family. Relax a little. At some point, “this too shall pass,” and when it does, we’ll all be back to 100 miles per hour every day. 

So hit the pause button and enjoy some time with your kids.

ENJOYING A MANDATED STAYCATION

We live in a country of complete abundance. I have full faith we’ll get through this and life will go back to activities and fun. So why not take some TIME to enjoy this staycation? Mandated or not, we still have a choice in this. That choice is our mindset. Every day isn’t going to be rainbows and sunshine. Your kids are going to drive you crazy. That’s what early bedtimes and bottles of wine are for.

My advice? Enjoy this gift of time.

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