I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few weeks, and ironically enough today was a tough day so I figured it’s as good a time as any. Just to give a little update, we’ve been quarantined at home for almost two months. I’ve been homeschooling my five year-old while dealing with major sleep depravation because my 7 month old doesn’t like to sleep at night. My husband is still working since his industry is considered “essential” so the fear of him catching the virus and bringing it home has been overwhelming, Over the last several weeks, I’ve experienced a roller coaster of emotions. Everything from worrying that we wouldn’t be able to find essentials like diapers, formula and toilet paper, to gratitude that we’re safe and healthy and sadness that the boys are growing up so fast and our families aren’t even able to witness it. Some days are really good and other days are really hard. At the risk of sounding really cheesy, I’ve learned a lot about myself through all of this. I’m not a super positive person by nature and it’s easy for me to spiral when things aren’t going well. These circumstances would have probably caused me to be really negative in the past but with two little boys who are watching everything I do I knew I had to make an effort to make the most out of our situation. It hasn’t come easy but I’ve been intentional about CHOOSING joy.
This is an unusual time because more or less, we’re all dealing with the same thing. Some of us have lost our jobs, been affected by the virus in one way or another or have felt the effects of the isolation caused by being quarantined. Everyone’s situation is different but we really are all in this together. Because of this I wanted to share some of the things that have helped me find joy over the last couple of months:
1. Put things into perspective
To be honest, I was having a pretty tough time with motherhood before all of this happened. A lot of different factors contributed to it, but I just wasn’t enjoying my life like I should have been. Just surviving and trying to get through each day is no way to live. As soon as this all happened, it really caused me to step back and realize that my problems really weren’t that big of a deal. When people are fighting for their lives, losing loved ones, facing financial hardships and dealing with tragedies it forces you to remind yourself that things could be much worse. Nothing in my life is easier now, but I keep reminding myself that things could be so much worse so I’m able to be more resilient when I’m faced with every day issues.
2. Find things that make you happy
So this one sounds really simple, but I kind of feel like most people are so busy with everyday life, jobs, kids, etc that there’s not a lot of time left to just do things that you enjoy. Some people are being really productive during this time and starting businesses, writing books, starting podcasts but the most important thing is that you’re doing things that make you happy. Being at home constantly can be monotonous and hard are your mental health depending on your personality type and circumstances so it’s necessary (especially if you have little ones) to do at least one thing that makes you happy each day. For me that might mean watching trashy reality tv, baking, having a spicy marg before dinner, writing, creating content, doing a face mask or listening to a good podcast. This is the perfect time to discover new things that make you happy too!
3. Become helpful
I’ve found that one of the best ways for me to feel good lately is to do something kind for someone else. Sometimes that means doing a special craft with my oldest son, making a special dessert for my husband or making a loved one’s quarantine birthday special. Our world is so different right now but it’s amazing to see how people are thinking outside the box to spread kindness. Surprising someone with a gift card or hand written note, dropping off some baked goods, spreading awareness for a good cause or using your talents to help others are all ways that you can spread a little joy and I promise you’ll feel better afterwards. Also, it can be as simple as you want and doesn’t have to involve you spending money. Just a small act of kindness means more now than ever.
4. Celebrate everything
So much has been cancelled lately. Weddings, graduations, birthday parties, concerts, sporting events. It’s easy to feel like there’s not a whole lot to look forward to. That’s exactly why I’ve decided to celebrate any chance I get. Half birthdays, quarantine milestones (like Gray learning to ride a bike or Jax learning to crawl), taco Tuesday, the sun being out, Friday lol. We’re alive and we’re healthy and that in itself is a reason to celebrate. It’s honestly brought us so much joy making little things special. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate but it does make you appreciate-and enjoy life more.
The first few weeks of quarantine were extremely difficult because it was raining and constantly gloomy. I’m the type of person who is much happier when it’s sunny so my mood is definitely affected by long periods of gloomy weather. Not to mention, it’s definitely not easy keeping an active 5 year old cooped inside for that long. I’m so grateful that it’s finally sunny and we’ve been taking advantage of the gorgeous Cali weather. Picnics, long walks in the neighborhood, swimming and riding bikes have all been game changers. It’s so important for our mental healthy (and sanity) to try to get outside and be active!
I hope these tips will help you find joy during this crazy and uncertain time. Thank you for reading!