Thriving During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Kim Family Whiteboard for Thriving During COVID-1

On this Friday, May 1, 2020, we are marking eight (8) weeks of “lock down.” Although video conferencing and online classrooms have allowed people to work and study at home, many are still struggling with the “new normal.” Talking with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues, most people are longing for the day that things will “get back to normal.” But will we ever get back to “normal?” What is “normal,” anyway? These and other questions and frustrations are causing people to be anxious.

Anxiety is not only limited to the people that I am talking to, but recently, we received an email from our middle school child’s school with an article that we were recommended to read. “Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19,” has some good suggestions for parents to guide their young children.

Here are some things that have been helping our family. They are very simple; however, for our family, it has made a big difference.

  • Establish A Routine: Before the pandemic most people had a routine, whether they set it or not. Most people went to work outside of their homes, and the kids went to school. There were routines at work and school. Students, especially, had a schedule that they had to follow. But with the lock down orders, many people are struggling with finding a routine; therefore, at the end of the day, they feel like they have wasted too much time.
    • Put Together A Schedule: Putting together a simple schedule, and even a daily to-do list, will help to give you something to celebrate at the end of the day. The schedule doesn’t have to be elaborate. Figure out what time you should get out of bed, what time you should eat, and some activities that are relevant to you during this time, and what time you should end your day. Our family put together a white board (pictured above) at the very beginning of the lock down order, and it has helped us to thrive during this time.
    • Get Dressed: There have been a lot of people who simply roll out of bed, tidy themselves up, and show up to video meetings under dressed (some even in their pajamas). Sometimes one must wonder if anyone’s brushed their teeth, thankfully foul smells do not carry over the internet. It’s “whatever is most convenient!” However, getting up at certain times (see point a) and actually getting ready, makes you feel better about yourself. This feeling, in turn, takes some of the anxiety away. Those people whom I have found to be thriving the most are the ones who show up to video chats dressed as if they were going to the office.
    • Schedule in Family Time: Some may have screamed at the screen when they read that. After all, we are with our family more than ever, and they just seem to be in our faces all the time. We’ve all seen children come across the screen to demand attention while on video calls. That is why this is so important. When family time is scheduled, and clearly communicated to the rest of the family, there is a better chance of not being interrupted all the time. When done well, everyone in the family will look forward to the family time. So, how do you make family time valuable? Make it meaningful. Play games. Complete a project together. Watch movies together. Talk. Be creative with your family. This is a golden opportunity to build or re-build your family bond!
    • Plan A Menu: There are plenty of people who already do this, but I was surprised by how many people are struggling with this. One of the difficulties of this time is that most restaurants are closed. And with the entire family home, it’s difficult to figure out what to prepare to eat for each meal. About a month into the quarantine, we decided to schedule a weekly menu. We were surprised by how much stress it relieved! And, when I have suggested this to others, they thought this was brilliant! (I’m not sure about that, but hey…).

  • Stop Thinking About “Going Back to The Normal.”: “I can’t wait for things to go back to normal!” is a common outburst from many after two months of restrictions. However, we must remember that many things have changed already due to this pandemic. Yes, we will be able to go back to our offices and schools. However, coronavirus has made working from home more commonplace, even after the restrictions lift (read articles like this). Rather than being frustrated with what we no longer have, think about what is possible as a result of this pandemic. The data on jobs point to over 80% of jobs that will exist in the future are not yet available – LinkedIn article from October 28, 2018 predicts “85% of Jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. This idea, that new jobs of the future are not yet in existence, is not something that came about during the pandemic. However, this pandemic has changed things, and accelerated innovation (remember, crises are the laboratories of innovation). So, embrace the changes (everything is changing, constantly, anyway!), and put your energies to what opportunities maybe available as a result of this pandemic.
  • Have A Sense of Humor: I love the way that our teenage daughters are finding ways to laugh about things. Even on the whiteboard, you can find their sense of humor. Find ways to laugh about this situation. Find ways to laugh at yourself. Find ways to make others laugh.
  • Pray: Finally, pray. Prayer focuses us. Prayer also reminds us that no matter how much we try; we are not in control of things. And, prayer comforts us.

These suggestions are not exhaustive. What are the things that you are doing to thrive during this unprecedented time? Please leave your ideas in the comments below.

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