COVID-19: 19 Powerful Ways To Help Your Family Now

Gustav Vigilant sculptureWe are living in the age of what if, the thing we never expected, the pandemic we couldn’t fathom. The idea of ever being told to stay home, not go to work; schools closing for weeks on end was a completely foreign concept barely a month ago. COVID-19 has brought to us an unimaginable danger, new terminology and way of life for many called shelter in place. Working from home with families all cooped up in a single location can stress anyone, but you can find relief. Here are 19 powerful ways you can help your family right now to cope and find peace with this new adventure called shelter in place.

1. Create a new daily schedule

With entire families at home it is vital for all to create a new routine for everyone in the household. Disorder is a breeding ground for stress not only for adults but especially kids. Adults and children both feel more comfortable when they know what is coming next. Schedules have been shown to help people manage stress.

  • A posted schedule is comforting way to help children with this transition.
  • Get creative the more fun you make it will help turn this period into an adventure.
  • Schedule fun, include game time, pillow fights, camping night, anything to lighten the mental load.
  • Ease anxiety by scheduling limited watching, reading or listening to the news.

2. Switch up the meal plan

Not only do kids love breakfast for dinner, but having heavier meals earlier in the day provides us useful energy when we need it. I’m not sure why but I always thought Cherrios tasted completely different at dinnertime then they did in the morning. Making lunch the biggest meal of the day has some awesome benefits aside from not crashing on the sofa or going to bed after a big meal.

3. Enjoy a new exercise routine

One of my friends is trying all the workouts she’s been saving and pinning for years. There are hundreds of exercise routines available online,  on You Tube or with apps for the smart phone or tablet. Be your own trainer, get the kids involved too. Participate in Instagram challenges or issue your own challenge for push-ups, sit-ups, wall squats or creative use of everyday items for weight training.

4. Dance

Yes really… get up and dance, it’s a super way to de-stress, as Taylor Swift says, ‘shake it off’ and right now we need it. This brilliant idea came from one of my Instagram followers. Just this past weekend grammy award winning choreographer, Ryan Heffington held a Instagram Live dance class. Not only does dancing provide cardio benefits, it is an instant mood lifter. Turn the music up and have your own dance party!

5. Create a before bed routine

Do something to completely take your mind off the day’s events before bed. Read a novel, take a bath, listen to guided meditation or try restoration yoga. Restoration Yoga is easy, it is basically just super relaxing stretching. The poses are simple, no twisting yourself into some strange pretzel like pose. Online yoga studios offer monthly subscription plans or free 14-day trial memberships, perfect for a quarantine.

6. Commit to a self-care routine

For 14 days we can do anything, right? The beauty with a stay at home order for a certain number of days, is it gives us a fixed time to commit to do something good for ourselves. With additional time on our hands there are no excuses not to make this self-care commitment to ourselves, we need it. I’m dedicating time each day to commit to following a daily skincare regime, its on the schedule.

7. Make something with your hands

Anything from jewelry making, knitting, painting, drawing, woodworking, every sort of handicraft offers us many benefits beyond just the sense of accomplishment. If you choose something you know, the familiarity of handling the tools will bring about a sense of calm. Selecting something new offers one the gratification and the possible struggle of mastering a new skill. All of this allows one to focus, to flip the switch to something positive and unrelated to COVID-19.

8. Make music

Pull out the musical instruments, dust off the keyboard, create your own instrument or just sing. It has long been known making music makes us feel better. It doesn’t matter if you are good or not. Create a family band, or have a battle of the bands with teams. Studies have shown making music is beneficial for improving memory. Music can also encourage one’s capacity for empathy.

9. Teach your children life skills

This idea came from my chiropractor. During what would have been the spring break family vacation on a warm beach, he’s creating life lesson activities for his two girls, aged 8 and 11. “We’re going to pull items out of the pantry/refrigerator creating a makeshift store and give them a set amount of money, real bills and coins, to buy groceries for a week.” They are going to learn to budget and how to make smart choices to feed the family. “Yes, I’m including those $4.00 Oreos as a test.”

10. Learn a new kitchen skill

making sourdough bread and starterIf you weren’t good at cooking before, by the end of 14 days, you’ll be far better than when you started. Maybe you’d like to master your knife skills or be a better pizza baker. I’m working with sourdough. Having never made it before and always looked at the whole making a starter thing as too much work, this is a great opportunity to make some good bread. A sourdough starter is like a pet, you need to feed and care for it almost daily. So far the results have been awesome!

11. Make mealtime an event

Chopped At HomePreparing three meals a day everyday can become a bit dull. With limited food options available at the grocery nowadays we’re all taxed with being more creative. One hilariously energetic way to make meal time fun is to create your own home edition of the Food Network show Chopped, by devising your mystery basket for you, your spouse or kids to prepare a meal from. This can lead to hours of laughs and competitive enjoyment.

12. Break a bad habit

One of the big contributors to our habits is our environment, for most of us, our environment just changed, we are no longer at the office or school. Use this time to take control of your destiny.

  • Guilty of dipping your hand in the candy jar at work, don’t have one while you are at home.
  • If you or your child has a habit of being late, start by making a schedule with consequences. Whether it is a fine (like a swear jar) loss of privileges or extra chores, reinforce accountability.

13. Investigate family history

When you are looking for something to do, online research of family members can be an exciting rabbit hole.

Even better, use this time for you or your children to reach out and talk to family members, especially those for whom it is too dangerous to visit. This is the perfect opportunity to have a great conversation about something completely unrelated to what’s going on in the world. It engages the brain, promotes conversation, and provides a much needed connection to others. Pull out those family photos, hop on FaceTime and ask questions. Don’t forget to make notes.

14. Learn something new

There are oodles of online classes, free or paid, serious or fun. Now you have the time to learn what you may have been putting off.

15. Read a book

Read a bookReading a book helps us to slow down, to concentrate, to focus and escape. Believe it or not there are 11 Benefits of Reading Books.

16. Share the load

This is especially helpful for moms, whether now working from home or having been a stay at home mom. Share the daily tasks of running a home with your spouse and children. Kids and teenagers are capable of laundry, house cleaning, cooking a meal, yard work, and other jobs which make a household run. Chores and responsibilities, without money as the carrot, help build self-esteem. Not only are you giving kids life skills, you are teaching them responsibility, reinforcing engagement and how to be a member of a family, reinforcing how we are all in this together. The benefits of giving kids chores far outweigh any attitude they might offer in retort. Inside this global war against COVID-19, kids and teenagers, need this sense of responsibility to have control over something, to be able to accomplish something.

17. Travel down memory lane

The Breakers Newport RIHow often do you really look at old travel photos? The advantage of having the entire family at home together is to use memories to strengthen the family bond. If you have Apple TV you can load photos from the photo app to create your own virtual travel albums. Shared memories can be a great diversion or provide inspiration to look forward (good for everyone) and plan the next family trip.

18. Go outdoors – if not under quarantine

Get outside and just breathe. Even if you can only go outdoors an a balcony, it helps us avoid going stir crazy. Check your local guidelines, found on your local government or health department website. Remain 6ft from others for safety. Remember even if you are not infected, someone else you encounter may be, or you could be infected and are unaware.

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a drive
  • Sports aren’t an option
  • Exercise
  • Garden and work in the yard

19. Organize

Organization is one of the best ways to create a sense of calm throughout your home. Messiness makes people feel frantic. Pick a closet, a cupboard, a room, you’ve got plenty of time right now, to clean while you use hi-tech carpet cleaning equipment that can be buy online, purge, de-clutter and organize your space.

  • Let kids and teenagers in on the fun, they can easily organize by size, shape and color
  • Make a keep, sell and donate boxes
  • Get rid of what you don’t need, don’t use and doesn’t fit

We all secretly love order because it makes us feel calm and comfortable. A clean, uncluttered space feels better.

However, the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic is many people will and are loosing their jobs and possibly their livelihoods. In the upcoming months people in your community will need help getting back on their feet. By organizing your home with the underlying thought of what can we live without yet give to others, you can help your community. Use local Facebook Groups to organize a future donation day or community garage sale to benefit those in need.

We will make it to the other side of this, together. Taking action is a powerful way to help you and your family feel alive. Make your stay at home or shelter in place time about what can you accomplish, how you can grow, learn and support each other. Making any of these simple changes in your daily life will allow you to arrive on the other side with positive outcomes.