Balance Blog

Thriving at Home

Posted by kmeyerlcsw@gmail.com on March 25, 2020 at 11:05 AM

Tips for Thriving at Home:


Our world is in crisis facing the current pandemic and mandates for social distancing. This amounts to our communities, our employment and our families being in crisis. As we shelter in our homes and learn how to be web-based in most everything that we do, we are not only distancing, we are isolating. We are vulnerable to symptoms of depression and anxiety. We need to reorganize the way we take care of our families and the way we take care of ourselves. And, we need to do it sooner than later. Here are some ways you can begin today: 


1. Structure
2. Move
3. Communicate
4. Water and Sun
5. Recharge


1. STRUCTURE

Creating structure and schedule has always been helfpul, but when we are facing crisis and so much uncertainty, schedule and structure become more imperative. Consider implementing structure that is manageable and sustainable for you. There are many sample daily schedules for children and families online, but not many for the single person. Even if you find a schedule, it may not be the one that works for you. So, consider what your day usually looks like a pick a general structure to follow. You can pick definitive times, or a range of times, such as "Wake up at 8am" or "Wake up between 8am and 9am." Start with the following: 


A. Wake Up Time 
B. Meal Times
C. Work Time
D. Bed Time


Waking up and going to bed at the same time will allow your body to follow a rythym, which is important for regulating ourselves. Making sure you have fuel to keep your brain and body working is valuable as we attempt to process new information and manage strong emotions every day. Everyone has some work they can do every day. This helps us feel productive and allows us to make contribution, which fights depression.

Your work might be a web-based version of what you have previously been doing every day, it may be working with your children on their classwork, or it may be learning a new skill online, such as a language or finger knitting. Be sure you find some meaningful work every day. 


Once  you create this basic framework, you can fill in other structure as it suits you. Find time to plan daily human connection. Find time to plan for movement, for getting outside and for taking breaks. Only you know how detailed and strict the schedule needs to be. Be sure to create a schedule that fits your personal style of need for flexibility and structure. 


2. MOVEMENT


Our bodies need to move for countless reasons related to health and well-being of the physical, emotional and cognitive selves. Find a way to incorporate movement into every day. Consider YouTube videoes that lead you in a movement pattern. Consider creating your own stretching routine. Consider talking a walk around the outside of your house. Consider putting on your favorite music and dancing in the living room. Be sure to include movement in your every day routine. 


3. COMMUNICATE


Many people are not used to being around their family members as often as will happen when you are completely home-based. Many people are not used to be out of connection with other humans as much as will happen when you are completely home-based. So, we need a new system for communication and connection. Incorporate the following reminders for navigating daily and ongoing communication: 


A. Kindness - start with kind words, even if you are frustrated
B. I Statements - speak from your personal feelings and experience
C. Soften - take a breath before you speak and soften strong emotions
D. Plan - set aside a daily time to check in with one another and schedule a family meeting
E. Reach Out - utilitze the resources you have to reach out to folks outside your home via video chat, email, text and social media


4. WATER AND SUN


Our bodies love and require water. Remember to stay hydrated, as a well-lubricated brain manages stress much better! Your body function better and you will navigate this path more effectively if you remember to drink plenty of water every day. Start with one large full glass right when you wake up and consider including a large glass of water with each meal of the day. Keep a water bottle filled and carry it around with you so you can sip on water throughout the day. 


Staying indoors with deprive us of direct sunlight, which our bodies also require. Try to get outside at least once a day. Breathe fresh air, feel the sun on your skin and change your view a bit. Consider sitting near a window while indoors to experience the sunlight indirectly as well. 


5. RECHARGE


All that time paying attention to structure, trying to get in some movement, tyring to get outside and working on  your communication skills may leave you depleted and in need of some recharge. Remember to take time each day for yourself to be alone, to mentally check out and to relax. This will look different for each person as you reflect on what helps you recharge. For folks that normally recharge by being with other humans, this may be the time where you dip into your social media more or engage in video chats. For other folks, this may be the time when you retreat to your bedroom, your closet, the garage or the backseat of your vehicle for some alone time. 


Take a break from exposure. Remember that we can increase our anxiety by continuing to expose ourselves to traumatic information and visual stimulus without a break. There is information being disseminated every minute of every day and we need to moderate how much we allow it into our life. Set times when you will not be on social media, the television and will not discuss current events. Let your mind check out from processing this crisis every second of every day and allow for a recharge. 


I am sure that each of you is working to manage and navigate this new and different way that we are living. You will find your system. You will find your rythmn. Keep working at it. You might not be great at it yet, but you'll get there. We all will. 

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