Making the most of staying at home is the only thing we can really do during a lock-down. Here are some coping mechanisms to help keep you afloat!
IT’S NOT EASY
Last November I decided to quit my job to stay at home with my little boy.
It was an easy decision for me to make because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do.
I’m a homebody and I love taking care of my family. Still, this CV crisis hits hard.
My husband’s been working from home for over a month, I can’t take my little one to the park, and my social outlets are missing.
Then there’s the fear which is the hardest part for me.
I hate bearing witness to the panic, fear and anxiety that’s gripping so many people.
As someone who usually stays at home, here’s what I do to thrive.
MAKING THE MOST OF STAYING AT HOME VIDEO
If you want me to hear me rant, rave, and waffle about what I’ve been doing to keep sane, here’s the video. Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to see more videos like this!
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to purchase something after clicking on one of the links in this post, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
1.BUY IN BULK
This tip might seem a bit weak, but it takes a load of stress off my plate.
There was a time I enjoyed grocery shopping, but that pleasure has been stripped away. With lineups, face masks, forced hand sanitizer and limits on food items, I want to go out as seldom as possible.
I buy in bulk.
This is a habit I’ve been practicing for a while, which I count among my Frugal Kitchen Tips, but I’ve been taking it to the next level.
For meat, I support a local farmer that sells pasture-raised meats. For $100, they fill my freezer with chicken, beef and pork which they deliver right to my door.
While it’s a lot of money upfront, it feeds my small family for a month.
As for vegetables, I don’t have enough space to store enough fresh produce to keep us fed for two weeks, so I’ve been relying on frozen vegetables.
Then there’s rice, oats, and dried legumes, so with all of those, there are plenty of options to whip up a wholesome, nutritious dinner.
RELATED: Filling the Larder
RELATED: How to Prepare for a Food Shortage
2. BAKE SOMETHING
In January, right before CV held the world hostage, I made myself a sourdough starter.
It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years, so now I have a big bubbling jar of leavener in my fridge. That means yeast is one less thing I need to stock up on!
I’ve been baking my way through this beautiful book on sourdough, so bread is another thing I don’t need to bother with at the store.
There’s something incredibly soothing about the sound of an oven-fresh loaf crackling on the kitchen counter…
Mind you, bread isn’t the only thing I’ve been baking.
A couple of weeks ago there were fudgy sourdough brownies.
There have also been a number of cookies.
Baking is therapeutic but it isn’t exactly the healthiest coping mechanism if you’re making sugary sweets. Still, who can say no to a batch of bourbon vanilla chocolate chip cookies?
3. FLYLADY CLEANING
Having a toddler means I basically have a little whirlwind of chaos blowing through the house at all times.
In February of this year, I knew my old way of doing things just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
I needed structure and a way to clean that would fit my unpredictable schedule. The FlyLady Cleaning app was the answer for me and took all the guessing out of cleaning for me.
Nothing gets neglected in my home anymore and it makes daily chores much more manageable.
I briefly walk you through the app in the video, but to break it down, there are three focus areas:
Daily morning, afternoon and evening routines. These include making the bed, getting dressed, quickly wiping down the bathroom, 15-minutes of exercise, and polishing the kitchen sink.
The Weekly Home Blessing. You're supposed to dedicate one hour a week to this, but with a toddler, I need to break it up into small chunks. It's simply a matter of turning on a 10-minute timer for each weekly chore and flying. When the timer goes off, you stop sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, etc. and move on to the next task.
Weekly Zones. Each week there's a new zone in the home to focus on. This breaks up deep cleaning into easy, manageable bite-sized pieces and renders Spring Cleaning useless. Every day you put on a 15-minute timer and set to work on a zone, whether that's the bedroom, dining room or kitchen.
Having a tidy home plays a huge role in my overall well-being, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one.
I know a lot of folks are struggling with housework right now, so I hope FlyLady helps!
The best part? It’s FREE!
In February I wrote a post about how victory gardens need to make a comeback.
They’re coming back!
Now that real spring is finally showing its face around here (I’m in a part of Canada where we experience Third Winter, also known as a “good old-fashioned Canadian spring”), there’s plenty of garden work to be done.
My husband and I more than doubled the size of our vegetable patch, removing sod, turning the soil, and digging rows.
I mapped out where everything is going to go, started a few seedlings, and can’t stop buying seeds even though I have more than enough.
The next step?
If you want to start a victory garden of your own and don’t know where to begin, Gardening When it Counts is a book I’ve been heavily relying on.
Creating is one of the most powerful things we can do when we’re making the most of staying at home.
It is so easy to turn on the telly and check out of the world to binge-watch a show.
I can’t even tell you how many times I have done that in the past, and you know what? I never feel good after resurfacing.
Being passive like that really isn’t good for our mental health, but creating? It lifts us. And the beautiful thing about it? There are so many different avenues we can go down.
For me, it’s content creation.
It’s the words you are reading right now and the videos I record and edit.
I also try to squeeze in some creative writing before I go to bed.
Crafters are in their element right now, but now is a good time to revisit talents and passions we may have put to rest, or to learn something we’ve always wanted to try our hand at.
YouTube is saturated with all kinds of tutorials.
If you want to learn to doodle or watercolour, my friend, Elizabeth Sampson, The Doodle Nurse, shows you how it’s done.
Do you crochet? My friend Elise at Le Petit Saint Crochet will show you how to knit and crochet the sweetest little creations.
If you head on over to their corner of the internet, do tell them I say hi!
6. CONNECTING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
It’s hard that we can’t see our family and friends whenever we’d like anymore.
I said at the very beginning of this post that seeing everyone’s fear and anxiety has hit me the hardest, but do you know what? That’s not true.
It’s having lost our freedom to assemble.
I mean, there are hotlines encouraging us to tattle on our fellow human beings who toe the line!
To be perfectly candid, I can’t help but think of Soviet Russia. I adore learning about history, including the grisly parts, so one of the books I started reading in January was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago.
I can’t help but draw a similarity.
Perhaps I should choose cheerier reading material.
Enough waffling, though (I have my friend Dawn at Dawn’s Days to thank for that term).
The thing is, most of us are social creatures. We don’t do well with isolation and it isn’t good for our health.
That’s why it is so important for us to connect with our family and friends as often as possible.
I try to make one or two calls a day.
Granted, it’s usually my mother, but when I do call a friend, they are delighted to hear from me.
It’s as good for my mental health as it is for theirs.
If I had more time on my hands, I would send out notecards to let everyone know I’m thinking of them.
7. FEEDING MY SOUL
2019 was the year I found my faith, so it’s been an exciting time in my life.
My faith keeps me anchored in what feels like a sea of chaos.
Bible study has been a part of my daily routine for over a year now, and there is so much comfort in those ancient words.
I pray throughout the day, having daily conversations with God, asking for guidance, wisdom and spiritual discernment.
It keeps me grounded, as it does for many people around the world whether it’s through prayer or meditation.
Recently, I’ve been fixated on the Ten Commandments and how I can better apply them to my life.
The fourth is to rest on the Sabbath and keep it holy.
Even growing up, this is something we never did in my family.
Yes, we went to church, but I can’t recall ever resting, so I’ve been relishing this practice.
I work hard for six days of the week and then I give myself the incredible gift of slowing down and resting on the seventh.
On Saturday I prep a slow cooker meal and as soon as my little one goes to bed, I hit pause.
The first thing I do is go for a long walk outside and stare up at the night sky.
Last week I was lying on the grass in my backyard, transfixed by the stars.
For the next 24 hours, I don’t touch any blog work. I don’t clean, garden, or do yard work. I rest and enjoy the profits of my labour.
Lastly, I’ve always been in the habit of keeping a journal.
It’s healthy to have a place to record our thoughts and privately work our way through problems.
Sometimes I’ll pose a question in my journal and discover the answer in the next day or two.
It’s a wonderful practice.
One thing I do while I’m journalling is recounting the beautiful moments in my day, expressing gratitude for all that is good in my life.
I find that on the worst of days, there’s always a grain of good that came out of it.
This kind of loops in with prayer, because that’s what I do while I’m walking. I start a conversation with God, listing what I’m thankful for, asking for what I want, and seeking answers.
Prayer or no prayer, I make a point of going for a long walk every day.
Being on total lockdown is cruel and not conducive to health.
We need fresh air and sunlight to thrive and to boost our immune system.
Many of us are cooped up inside and working from home. This makes going for a walk incredibly difficult with everything else that needs to get done.
Rising a bit earlier to get in a 15-minute walk is a beautiful practice, especially if it helps you catch the morning sunrise.
Early morning sunlight between 8 AM and noon is the most beneficial to our health.
Daily doses of morning sunshine provide us with vitamin D, helps us sleep better and keeps us happier and leaner.
THINGS I WISH I COULD DO WHILE I’M MAKING THE MOST OF STAYING AT HOME
I usually get a lot done in a day, but there are other activities I sure wish I could squeeze in while making the most of staying at home.
Before my little one became mobile, I read a lot.
In 2017 I read 70 books, more than one book a week.
The year my son was born, that crept down to a book a week at 52 titles read.
Then last year, the count plummeted down to 21.
This year? I’ve been reading, but have yet to finish a book.
My son isn’t entirely to blame though as I dedicate almost all of my downtime to my blog and YouTube channel.
To make time for anything, something needs to be sacrificed.
I walk every day and I do tiny spurts of cardio, whether that’s jumping rope for a couple of minutes, shadow boxing, rebounding or doing skaters.
However, I don’t exercise nearly as much as I’d like to. In 2017, there wasn’t a day that passed where I didn’t do something active.
Challenging our bodies to get stronger and more flexible is incredibly rewarding, and necessary.
It kicked my butt, but it was fun and it helped me build up my strength and endurance.
PIIT infused me with energy and paired with Cassey’s accompanying meal plan, I was the fittest I’ve ever been in my life.
I miss her workouts, but again, my time needs to come from somewhere.
2020 is supposed to be the year I learn how to sew.
I have one stitch under my belt and have yet to finish a mending project.
There just isn’t enough time to do everything I want to do!
However, in a world where my son wouldn’t want my constant attention and I had more time than I knew what to do with, I would sit down in front of the sewing machine I’m storing for my mother and learn how to use it.
I would sew cloth napkins, curtains for my windows, vests and bowties for my little boy, and cute aprons.
One day, perhaps!
I’m not talking about painting on canvas.
I’m artistically stunted and have never been able to transmute what’s in my head into a sketch or painting. This is something I learned about myself in the third grade, so I made peace with it a long time ago.
The kind of painting I’m talking about is the kind that would refresh the rooms in my home.
The house I live in has pale pink walls.
These are starting to grow on me, but my master bedroom has a purple wall and my closet is bubblegum pink. Then there’s my basement which is darkened by wood panelling from the 1970s.
Then there are the furniture pieces I would like to update.
That being said, I don’t know my decorating style.
It’s something I’m trying to figure out, but it’s a work-in-progress.
I do know that even if I knew my style, I would still have a hard time painting anything with my mischievous soon-to-be two-year-old.
My list of projects is a mile long, so the best I can do is cross off all the food-related goals and leave the rest for the sunny future.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT MAKING THE MOST OF STAYING AT HOME
If you’re really struggling and don’t know how to cope, there are people you can talk to.
Everything I listed above is a coping mechanism I employ for my own physical and mental wellbeing, but sometimes we need extra help.
If you’ve been having dark thoughts, please call a hotline or make an appointment with your family doctor as soon as possible.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help and I think doing so is incredibly brave and a positive step forward.
THANK YOU FOR POPPING BY THE KITCHEN!
Now it’s your turn! What are you doing to make the most of a sticky situation?
I know there are a number of things I could have included, like treating ourselves to 30-minutes of self-pampering like soaking in a bathtub, dry brushing, rubbing Gehwol on our tootsies, or giving ourselves a quick manicure.
Anyhow, I hope you’ll let me know what you’re doing to cope with everything in the comments below!
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Love and gratitude,