Posted in Coronavirus, faith, Food, Food Security, Home, Marriage & Family, Self Regulation

Surviving Coronavirus Isolation – Week 1 at Home

As I watched Survivor yesterday, I thought to myself that this show is not a good example of how to survive a crisis. Everyone is out for themselves. And they lie to each other, to win! In real life we need to work together, helping each other, and trusting one another.

I’m not in survivor mode, exactly, but the hoarding reminds me of the show. Remember, if one person has all the sani-wipes, then we are not protected as well as if everyone has wipes and soap and alcohol.

At our house we are trying to stay healthy emotionally, physically, financially, relationally and spiritually.

I’m going to make this fairly brief and write about what we are doing in each of these areas.

  • Emotionally

It’s extremely important to take care of how we are feeling. Each of the other areas impacts our emotions, and is affected by how we feel.

The main emotion to keep under control is fear. As I’ve said before, fear only serves you well if it moves you in a good direction. So, for me the answer is to do things that are helpful, going forward. Focus on the positive things I can do.

I journal, plan meals, and watch uplifting YouTube videos. I stay informed of current events but limit the time I read/listen to the news. I play occasional games on my own or with my husband when I need to “isolate” my mind. I keep in touch by messaging family and friends.

  • Physically

We go for a daily walk. I use a few light weights and elastic bands to exercise. We’ve taken extended walks up and down a hill to get our heart-rates up. I need to do more, but this is a start.

We have a regular bed-time, around 10:30 p.m. I still find myself awakening frequently at 4:00 a.m. Sometimes I can fall asleep again after a couple of hours.

The big change is cooking for two people during the day. My husband has difficulty keeping his weight down so he has been on a low-carb diet for a long time. We are both making some adjustments.

It seems to work best to have two full meals a day. We supplement with snacks in between if we are hungry, such as a slice of cheese and an apple, or a taquito (heated), or frozen fruit with yogurt.

I’ve pulled out old recipes like meatloaf, beet borscht, butternut squash soup, chicken fajitas, and sweet and sour pork, this past week. I’ve also started baking bread again, because this is more cost-effective than buying. I add all kinds of healthy ingredients.

We are spending a lot more time in the kitchen. Breakfast is generally eggs, in some form. Eggs are a staple of the low carb, or Keto diet, and fairly easy on the budget, so this works out well. We cook one other significant meal, mid or late afternoon.

I’ve started to look at mealtimes as the central, highlight of our day. We are deeply grateful for a good, healthy meal. This is our new form of recreation and pleasure. Since my husband is home, he helps me out in the kitchen.

  • Financially

We are spending less. This is a positive things we are doing. It means our money will stretch further.

A month ago I wrote down all of our fixed expenses, things that don’t change every year or month, like housing costs, car/travel expenses, utilities (electric, phone, wifi), payments and subscriptions. The only subscription we still have is for Amazon Prime.

Other than these, our necessities are food, toiletries, cleansers and prescription medication. This week we spent $140 on food and toiletries. I am budgeting $600 a month for this “variable” area of our finances. Generally, other expenses can wait.

My husband is experimenting with a few online possibilities and I am helping him. There is nothing income-generating at this time but perhaps something will work out in the future.

In Canada the poverty line is $24,000. The government will help people in our situation with $2000 a month for four months, or the equivalent of a poverty level income. I think this is extremely generous. It is an effort to keep small businesses from closing permanently and jobs from disappearing when this is over.

  • Relationally and Spiritually

I am doing what I can to keep the home pleasant. Just being aware of the importance of this makes a difference.

Like others, we are unable to see our children and grandchildren, so we are keeping in touch via phone and video chats. My husband is a music teacher. You can take a look at what we have been up to here. In the past I have wished for a larger home (see photo of grandkids) but today I am very happy to live with less.

Our parents live in another province and have health issues. We do hope that they will not end up in the hospital at this time. We have great compassion for those who have a variety of health, family, and financial challenges at this time.

I try to see good in each day. I pray for the people serving on the front lines, and those with the responsibility to make decisions that affect others. I pray for our food supply chain, as I am realizing the importance of the very basic things in life, such as food.

I know there are still challenges ahead, but I trust that God will help us through this.

Posted in Coronavirus, Disciplining Children, Home, parenting

5 Quick Tips on How to Manage With Kids at Home During COVID-19 Crisis

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Nobody said this would be easy.

And on top of that, you don’t have your usual supports–outings of various kinds, kids sports and lessons, playdates, shopping, even daycare–all those amazing parenting helps.

I’m sure I’m not the most qualified person to speak on this subject. I’m not a natural at this parenting thing, as some women seem to be. But I did learn a few things as I home-schooled my children for half their school years and lived with very limited options on a restricted income.

There are so many resources out there for parents today, so what I am going to pass on are some really simple basics that just might help you keep your sanity.

  • You are the Queen. Or the King. In your home. That means you manage your kingdom. You are in charge.

This really works best if your subjects like you. It works best if they buy into your plan. So you have to get them excited about the big picture. For us it was to have a HAPPY FAMILY. Who doesn’t want that? Everything we did was to work towards the final end of having a happy family.

  • Your job description, as the King or Queen of your home is, in practice, very much like that of a Coach in relation to your team.

A coach teaches the team essential winning skills. The coach thinks long term strategy. The coach is the encourager.

  • The King or Queen is also a good Manager. One of the keys to good management is having good systems and structures in place.

Divide the day up into sections. Separate each one with a food break. (Plan and prepare snacks.) See what would work best in each section. Make a list of things to do and fill each section with some significant activity. Don’t have too much structure. Leave room for flexibility and down time. Include regular chores, physical exercise (maybe to a video) and personal/rest/down times. Strategically schedule things to look forward to and enjoy. Have a few back-up activities you can pull out on the spur of the moment. The thing young kids enjoy the most is activities that involve their parents so plan when these will happen.

  • Princes and Princesses can sense their personal value in the kingdom. One day they too will be a King or Queen.

I never actually used this analogy in talking with my children. Parenting is a very personal thing, but there are a few principles that make parenting easier. Ask yourself what you want for your children as adults and what you would like your relationship with them to look like in ten, fifteen or twenty years from now. Keeping this picture before me constantly helped me in the trying times.

  • As a subject to a Heavenly King, we have access to his Throne, to ask for those things of which we are in need. Our Creator knows us better than we know ourselves and we can trust him to Coach us.

Teach your children gratitude. Teach them reverence for God. Teach them faith. When times get tough, we have a place to go to in prayer. When times are good, we have Someone to Praise.

 

 

Posted in anxiety, Coronavirus, Depression, faith, Self Regulation

My Personal Response to the Coronavirus

 

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We are in early days, here in Canada, with stats going up every day, and drastic measures taken by our provincial and federal government around the coronavirus.

Being in the “over 60” category, I am doing my best to heed the admonition of my family and stay home. I admit I went to a specialist appointment last week and this week I needed to have a lab test and pick up a prescription. I’m now delegating the grocery shopping to my husband who is younger (smile).

Fear can grip us in these times, but fear is not helpful unless it serves a good purpose. I realized a long time ago that I can do much better in life without unreasonable fear. So, I try to put fear in its place.

However, there are some really difficult things we may have to face, and thinking about this can make us anxious and fearful. There is also a “spirit of fear” which is not from God and which we do not have to be subject to. There have been times in my life when I have rebuked the spirit of fear, in the powerful name of Jesus, whom I serve, and it has immediately left me.

Facing the truth can make us fearful, but it also has the ability to empower us, because it means we can take some action and be more prepared for what is to come.

I tend to look at the worst case scenario and work my way backwards from there. The worst case scenario for me is that I would be destitute, without food and shelter, diseased and end up dying as a result of the coronavirus. This is a very tragic scenario, but extremely unlikely.

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In times like this I place a lot of trust in God sustaining me. I keep reminding myself when I see a beautiful flower, or watch a bird flitting about on my balcony, that God cares about me more than he cares about the birds and flowers. I’ve been meditating on the beauty of the design of birds…things like their unique color and shape, the function of their feathers, the fact that they can fly and humans can’t. This is faith-inspiring. None of these birds have a “job” or an “income” yet God provides for them.

I have the advantage of having faced extremely trying financial times and come through them. Remembering my past experiences gives me faith for the future now, while my husband’s job hangs in the balance.

I have endured pain and sickness and loss. I’ve taken it one day at a time. I’ve survived. This is what I plan to do.

I will use this time of seclusion to read material I have not had time to read, to practice piano, and play guitar. Maybe I will pick up language learning again. I will write, and call people. I will paint, and maybe make some cards to send.

I will do some exercises. I will cook a few tasty meals. I’ll watch some YouTube videos and the occasional movie or reality show. I have a few ideas of new things I want to learn, like story telling.

There is no shortage of things I can do with my time. But for me the challenge is keeping my spirits up. It’s OK to get a little bit down. That’s normal. But the real “exercise” is to get back to that good place and then try and maintain it for as long as possible. For me it can prove difficult when I am the one entirely responsible for how I will spend my time.

I think it was actually easier when I had children in the house to distract me and challenge me and bring me joy. This “retirement” stage brings with it the difficulty of regulating myself and my life. One of the ways I have typically helped myself was by planning regular outings and activities outside the home. It looks like I will have a long stretch without this distraction, now, so I need to find out what will work for me during this season. I remind myself, this is temporary and I am very capable of addressing this challenge. I plan to encourage myself with every successful day and learn from what I’ve done.

First and foremost, I will not expend unnecessary energy on being anxious about things over which I do not have any direct control. It will only bring me down, make me more susceptible to health issues, and rob me of enjoyment in my present circumstances.

I can pray, and I will pray for those in deep need, and I will be open to possibilities of how I can be of help and think about what is reasonable for me to do. I will try to speak encouragingly, with understanding.

I will regulate what I watch and listen to, in terms of news updates, and I will monitor my response, so as not go become too anxious. I will tell myself to take things one day at a time. I will remind myself of Who I can trust with my future.

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