With the initial two weeks of lockdown progressing into many, I have found that I needed to reassess how we manage lockdown life, in order to maintain the mental health of our family.
What does this mean?
To keep it really simple, I needed our family to focus on things that make us happy and consciously place our energy towards those things.
Detailed below are 5 areas of focus that make my family smile more often. Some are just little treats that provide a quick fix, others make us happy because it’s something to look forward to, and in some cases, we simply needed to find ways to bring back some fun!
Of course, what works for my family, may not be the same things that make your family smile, but you get the idea, it’s all about putting your time and energy into getting the most out of life.
Here are our 5:
Look forward not back
Each week I make a plan to have one thing that we can look forward to. Sometimes it’s a surprise, other times it is something that I talk about all week to create excitement and occasionally it is something that lasts the whole week long.
Some of the ideas are:
- Spend a day watching a movie marathon
- Having dessert every night (usually just a weekend treat in our house)
- A surprise High Tea delivery
- Camping in your backyard
- New sports equipment to use in the backyard
- Friday Uber eats delivery instead of school lunch
- Marathon Family Board Game Day
- Downloading a new release movie
- Family Football in the park
- A delivery of new craft activities
- Baking and decorating cupcakes
- Oh and most recently we ordered the components to make our own Boba Tea (!!)
Little things or activities to look forward to provide a positive outlook, beyond the current moment, this is really important if anyone is having a flat day, which we all have had over the last 8 weeks.
On the weekend – we staycation!
Like most people we are really missing our family holidays. So to bring smiles to our faces we use the weekends to pretend we are on a holiday – a Staycation!
Of course this isn’t something we do every weekend (someone has to do the washing eventually 😆), but it feels so good to leave the chores behind and pretend to be somewhere else.
For our family this means we order take-away, pour ourselves a cocktail (or mocktail for the kids) and eat our meals alfresco. We watch movies, read books, go for bushwalks, play cards and boardgames and generally just relax. We have a strict no chores rule (because you don’t do chores on holiday!).
This activity just requires some imagination, you will be surprised how much it can help to break up your week from the weekend, which in lockdown working from home can start to merge.
Walk for more smiles
I’ve discovered that there aren’t many things that can’t be fixed with the release of endorphins via a brisk walk.
Kids fighting – walk it out, need a break from kids fighting – walk it off, hubby has left his shoes in the doorway for you to trip over them again! – send him for a walk 😆.
In all seriousness, walking does help with our mental well-being, I have started walking with the kids each morning before home learning starts and I can see the difference it makes to help settle them into the day. This (and dinner of course) is also a perfect time to check in with each other to see how everyone feeling.
Break the rules (just not the lockdown ones)
Given many of the activities we all love doing aren’t possible, we have decided to break a few of our family rules (and discussed with the kids why).
This has meant the kids have had more TV/Tech time than usual, some nights we have eaten dessert for dinner, finished school quickly on Friday and had half days, wore pajama’s all day and have eaten home-made burgers and pizza more often than I care to admit – because when everything feels so constrained, breaking some rules feels good!
Make family time count!
I’m not sure if it is my “lockdown emotions” or if perhaps just the slower pace of life makes you appreciate your kids just that little bit more, but I am noticing how quickly my kids are growing up. This makes me realize that this time (where the kids can’t get away from you 😆) is really precious.
So grab a board game, go for a family bike ride or walk, eat dinner each night Around The Table together, because this moment in time, as challenging and unpredictable as it is, can also be pretty special too.