Creating a Strong Sense of “Home” During Social-Isolation

Welp. You guys. There’s a title that I never thought I’d type. An article that I never thought I’d write. An experience I NEVER imagined any (much less ALL) of us going through. Yet, here we are. Living in some kind of surreal universe. Existing in some kind of strange state that feels like for sure we’ll wake in the morning and it’ll all have just been a dream. Right? Nah. It’s our own version of Groundhog Day … “I got you babe …” over and over again.

{Disclaimer: First of all, I feel like I need to preface this by saying – I know how incredibly serious all of this is. Some of you are out there on the front lines of this virus, fighting this very real fight, fighting for all of us. If that is you, I salute you. I’m praying for you. I’m proud of you. I thank you. And, for those of you who are sick or in the role of caregiver right now – I’m praying for you as well. Keep fighting. Hang in there. You are strong. Keep fighting.}

The rest of us – those of us that are in our homes, trying to create a new normal for ourselves and our families – this is for us. In the midst of it all, we have an opportunity to actually thrive. I know. I know what you’re thinking. We’re all just doing our best to survive, much less thrive. But, take a second. Breathe. There IS an opportunity for growth here. I know you can feel it too. Can’t you? Maybe. Maybe, just maybe … we can (we will) all come out on the other side a little stronger. Not as broken as we thought we’d be. Or maybe we’ll be more broken than we imagined. A necessary surrendering of self. Sometimes things have to break in order to be put back together. Made whole again. Maybe we’ll all be connected to our truest selves and our values more than we’ve been in a long, long time. A lasting shift in perspective. 

Wading through it all feels a bit heavy. I know. We all need more grace than ever. All the moods. All the feelings. Allow it. Let yourself feel it. Let your people feel all of their feelings too. Maybe more than anything we all just need an extra dose of understanding, grace and the space to just feel our feelings, our moods and our emotions as we wade through them … attempting to find our way …

To help us, I’ve put together a little list. Some tips … some thoughts … and a few ideas … on helping your family find a healthy rhythm – a way to truly thrive and not simply survive. Plus, boredom busters and sanity savers too! Don’t worry – it’s not a checklist! If you’re like me, you probably feel busier than ever. So, it’s not my intention to overwhelm the already overwhelmed. It’s more of a list of ideas to help ignite something in you – to spark an idea – to help you along your way …

  • Control what you can control. Let go of the rest. This is a practice. Daily. Maybe hourly
  • Pray. Pray more. Give God your worry. Surrender it
  • Remind yourself – outlook determines outcome. Stay positive
  • Count your blessings. Really. Write them down if you need to
  • Consider your people. What do they need? Are they okay? How do they operate best? Are they struggling?
  • Create and environment of comfort and all things cozy — 
    • What is comforting to you?
    • What is comforting to your family?
    • Put out extra throw blankets 
    • Use your fireplace, even if it’s too warm to need it
    • Create comfy nooks or getaway areas for reading, resting, napping, etc
  • Light candles. Use your diffusers
  • Order magazines subscriptions for each member of your family based on their interests
  • If the pollen isn’t too crazy and the weather is good, open your windows and let the fresh air in
  • Puzzles. Start one on a coffee table or somewhere slightly out of the way. Work on it a little here and there. Puzzles are a great way to quiet your mind
  • Paint. Paint a picture. Paint a wall. Paint a piece of furniture. Painting quiets the mind too.
  • Let go of perfectionism. Now is not the time to worry about how tidy your house is or isn’t… 
  • Clean. Yes, I just said let go of your perfectionist tendencies, but … cleaning can be a great way to cope. So, on the flip side – if you clean or organize as a way to relieve stress, go for it! But, if this isn’t comforting to you … let it go
  • Redecorate or rearrange. Again, only if this is something that helps calm you or give you a center. If this is stressful for you, don’t do it! 
    • Shop your home. Now is certainly not the time to worry about buying new items. Look around. What can you use in a new place or in a new fresh way?
  • Schedule your day OR don’t. Know yourself and your family. Choose what works best for your household! If you don’t thrive under routines, lists and schedules, don’t do it. However, this is a time when I’d consider the other people (especially the little people) that live with you. If they thrive with structure, consider doing it for them. Our family does much better when our days flow in an expected way. It doesn’t look like it used to, but as we adapt, we find that it’s helping each of us
  • Reach out to the people you love. Stay in touch with your friends
  • Get outside. Daily walks are good for the soul
  • Go for a drive with the windows down and the music up
  • If you can, call your mom … or your dad … or your grandparent … or an aunt that loves you
  • Get your craft on! I hesitated with this one , but my kiddos voted for “crafts” to make the list. The “craft” part of our day has been their favorite part
  • Order take-out or delivery from a favorite restaurant. Announce this decision in the morning if possible and let yourself (and others) look forward to it all day
  • Movie nights. Take turns picking the movie. It’ll be fun to see what each person chooses and you just might learn something new about each other
    • Serve fresh popped popcorn
    • Introduce your kids to some of your old favorites!
  • Eat together
    • Serve nourishing, healthy food
    • And/or decadent desserts
    • Comfort food is fine if that’s what you feel like you need …
    • Try to eat like you normally would, not more or less
  • Cook or bake together
    • Try homemade bread or a warm hearty soup or a new dessert
  • Have a picnic outside in your yard, if you have one
  • Have a picnic in your living room in front of the TV
  • Move your bodies together – family workouts can be fun, a great way to relieve stress, bond and laugh together
    • set up a designated workout area in the garage or in an unused corner of your home if you don’t already have a designated workout area
  • Do yard work together
    • spring clean the yard and porch areas
  • Write someone a letter … on actual paper … and mail it to them
  • Have your kids do the same. They’ll love having a pen pal!
  • Spend time together … 
    • But, give each other space apart too
  • Make plans and idea lists for future adventures and vacations together
  • Start a gratitude journal (there are two options shown in the “Shop This Post” section at the bottom of this article)
  • Do a household tidy-up in the afternoon or early evening each day
  • Assign chores; you are not in this on your own
  • Have a pajama day
  • Bring back a hobby you used to love or try a new one
  • Serve a yummy looking snack or charcuterie boards (if you can manage to find the food necessary for one!)(follow @southernfryedbliss on Instagram for the best snack board inspiration!)
  • For your kids – Instead of saying “I’m bored”, ask them to say, “Could you help me find something to do?” (be warned – this works, but it’s an exercise in patience because when they use these words, you’ll be required to actually help them think of something to do …)
  • Rethink play, especially for little ones
    • Afternoon bath time is a great activity when you’re stuck!
  • Long showers or baths as a getaway for yourself
  • Create a list of shows or movies that you’ve been wanting to watch
  • Read
  • Organize all the photos that you’ve been ignoring for years
  • FaceTime Happy Hour with friends and family

I hope that you’ll take this list and allow it to encourage you to move forward on the days that you find yourself stuck. I hope that you’ll lean into this new (odd) way of life for now. I’m not suggesting that you ignore the hard that’s happening all around us. I think that it’s important for us all to be informed and aware. But, I think we can do that and still embrace what IS to the best of our ability. Leaning in to God. Taking it one day at a time. Focusing on the things that we can do, what we can control. Creating a new order and rhythm to our days. God Bless.

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