Thursday, April 9, 2020

Staying Home During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Anytime you turn on the television or internet these days, I'm sure you are getting plenty if not too much information about Covid-19. Boy have things escalated and changed since my last post written in the beginning of March! Instead of re-hashing what's already out there, I figured I'd focus this post on our "new normal" and some of the blessings in disguise...

Some snapshots of our lives so far...
sibling chess matches
lots and lots of puzzles...
haircut in the garage
tae kwon do zoom class
Sunday church service
This week is Spring Break so I had a chance to step away from work and just be with my family. Since we cannot travel this break as we usually do... decided to be creative and just "pretend" we are on vacation anyway! 

Kids are sleeping outside in a tent as I type...
Personally, taking a break from going anywhere and having all outside activities cancelled has been a nice change of pace for me. Here is a list of some things I'm thankful for...
  • being able to wake up at around 8a (or later...) every morning because no need to get my middle schooler to school... before had to wake before 7a and not being a morning person... it was super painful
  • in fact, no morning "rush" at all... before had to get the 4 kids out of the door during the weekday... was always the most stressful 90 minutes of the entire day!
  • actually having time to go for a walk or run in the neighborhood... before I was either at work or in a car driving someone to sports or music lessons or something... by the time i got home and got the kids to bed I was exhausted...
  • actually having time to cook meals and having fun doing it... before I relied on my mom and my au pair to prep most of the meals because I was either at work or in a car driving someone to sports or music lessons or something...
  • even having time to bake and make desserts... yum!  ... and fun! ...before I was too tired from the day to want to do any of this even if I did have the time...
  • eating meals together... like all three meals... every single day... hm... now that I think about it, not sure this one counts as a blessing... lol. There are moments I suppose where good memories will be made along with the crazy.  Like today for instance, at dinner time we were all singing at the top of our lungs... different songs from different musicals... was a blast!
  • watching movies... lots of them... I'm a movie person because I like escaping into a different reality. What better way to not think about the negative news all day long then to disappear into another world. So we make popcorn, snuggle up with blankets on our beanbags in the basement and watch movies together. We kind of started this tradition last summer when we went through all the Harry Potter movies.  Now we have also finished all the Avenger movies in order, went through some DC Comics, even showed my kids the original Superman with Christopher Reeves, then on to the Dark Knight Trilogy... Ip Man 1 2 and 3 (looking forward to Ip Man 4!) ...and now going through X-Men series...
  • having "daddy" home... before he would travel at least two or three times a month so having him home everyday is a plus...
All in all... I'm grateful for the slower pace of life. I feel more rested. What's more, it's amazing how much gas I'm saving. Usually, I have to fill my tank about twice a week but now I think I've gone almost 4 weeks without the fuel gauge indicator moving much at all.

Next week, I'll be back to work. Right now, that means Telemedicine. We cannot risk spreading the virus to the vulnerable who can get very sick and end up hospitalized, intubated, etc. So the "stay at home" advice is truly to combat an invisible enemy... to protect those in our community most susceptible to falling severely ill... to prevent overwhelming the hospitals and medical staff in our communities. It may sound redundant and over stated... but truly... please stay home!

So what to do during this time?  Many creative ideas out there on the internet on how to not be bored... but keep in mind these main things to stay healthy:
  • Eat well - with all the extra time and easy access to the kitchen, may be challenging to avoid binge eating, snacking, grazing... may be tempted to fill up on sugars, chips, carbs... so don't forget your fruit and vegetables
  • Exercise - try to get outside for fresh air and exercise daily... make it part of your routine
  • Relax- important to find your own space and have some "alone" time... if necessary may need to do this outdoors but it is important to have a moment in your day to evoke the relaxation response
  • Sleep - perhaps this is the most important of them all... but get your sleep! sleep will boost your immune system, improve your mood and energy, sharpen your mind and focus... cannot emphasize enough the importance of sleep... below are some tips I posted a while back on some tips to improve sleep:
  • routine routine routine... 
    • develop a bedtime routine about 1 hour before bedtime to wind down
  • induce physical relaxation
    • take a hot shower or soak in a warm bath to relax the muscles
    • give yourself a body rub with a moisturizer that has a pleasing but not super strong scent
    • can try lavendar scented candle, room spray or essential oil
  • avoid increasing stress right before bed
    • avoid the news right before bed
    • avoid hard conversations
    • write down your worries and put it in a box if need be to address in the morning
    • shut down all electronics at least 30min but the longer the better before bedtime
  • minimize sound
    • use white noise if needed
    • try ear plugs
    • go to bed and fall asleep before the person snores next to you
  • exposure to light
    • flood yourself with natural sunlight during the day
    • avoid blue light at night (computers, cell phones, ipads etc)
    • if need to use night light, use red light
  • exercise
    • don't do it too close to bedtime
    • but regular exercise during the day helps
  • watch what you eat
    • certain foods actually may help (like cherries, milk, bananas, turkey, and even not too sugary carbs)
    • avoid foods that cause heartburn (like burgers and tomato based foods or spicy foods)
    • avoid foods that are high in sugar
    • watch what you drink
    • avoid caffeine of any type past 4pm
    • avoid alcohol too close to bedtime (less than 2-3 hrs prior) as this may initiate sleep but disrupts the maintenance of sleep
    • avoid too many drinks of any type past dinner as this may cause the need to go to the bathroom during the night
    • in small quantities certain herbal teas may help
  • minimize disruptions
    • avoid sleeping with a pet
    • sleeping with small children can also be disruptive
    • so what to do if you just can't get the worries out of your head? 
      • try thinking of a story or play a movie in your head that would not evoke a strong emotional response, that way while you are thinking of that, other thoughts have a harder time creeping in and it is much easier to fall asleep when imagining things that have no emotional tug than dwelling on worries, things that happened during the day, or things that you plan to do in the future... 
    • what NOT to do if you wake up in the middle of the night...
      • look at the clock (cause then you're doing math and that wakes up a part of the brain that otherwise would not be activated at this time...)
      • get up and go to the bathroom (I know this one can be hard and may not be possible for everyone, but truly if you get up you are now using muscles and again that wakes up another part of the brain that normally is not active at this time
Well, stay healthy and well, everyone. If you start to feel sick, develop a fever and cough, or just need to get checked, do reach out to your physician. Despite everything, lots of encouraging stories out there as well. We can get through this!
...rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer - Romans 12:12 (NASB)