I’m logging on to an online dinner party for moms through my church later, and I was asked to come up with two icebreaker questions to kick things off.
Since we’re still in quarantine here in New York City, I wanted to see what people have learned since being in a shelter-in-place status, and what habits they plan to continue once everything starts reopening and life returns to a new normal. It got me thinking about my own answers, and that turned into inspiration for this blog post!
Are there certain habits or things you picked up during the last three months that you plan on continuing once everyone starts getting back to their normal schedules and going on with their lives outside of the home?
That was one of my question suggestions, followed by Netflix recommendations. But for today, let’s stick with the healthy habit changes!
There are several things that I have learned and done differently during this process of being quarantined, some of which I plan to keep, and others I plan to move on from. The last three months have been a whirlwind of emotions and hardships over here. We don’t have it a fraction as bad as others (and I fully realize and acknowledge this), but we have had our own struggles and hurdles to climb. It hasn’t been easy.
That said, we’re focusing on the positive today! Here’s a short list of new things I picked up in quarantine that I plan to carry on when it’s all said and done.
Thanks for reading!
Create a routine for my day of being home with Skyler.
I give so much respect to those who had to navigate the challenge of homeschooling into their days during quarantine, especially with a full-time job and household to manage. Y’all are seriously my heroes.
We aren’t in the age of homeschooling yet, but I learned that without the ability to go out and about as we pleased, we both thrive best on a routine.
It’s completely adaptable, but our days are now loosely planned with somewhat of a structure to them. We get up, take a few minutes to wake up before activities, eat breakfast, play, then go for a walk before lunch and nap time. I use nap time to work online, work out, or clean up around the apartment if I have the time. We cuddle and read books for a bit after he wakes up (is anyone else’s toddler super groggy and not ready to socialize for a while?), then slowly ease in to craft time, coloring, and snacks.
If he’s enjoying some independent play, I’m able to work out at home (some days) in the late-afternoon, and then we cook dinner together. He’s my little sidekick who always wants to know what I’m doing, and I’m here for it.
Our evenings now include going up to the rooftop to clap for the hospital workers at 7 p.m., followed by a bath, books, and bedtime shortly after. And that’s our typical day!
I’m looking forward to when I can add in more errands to get outside more as things re-open, and especially scheduling things like play dates and childcare at the gym. It’s okay not to have a perfect schedule, and every family is different. Keeping a loose draft of the one I listed above is what is working for us, and I plan to keep it going!
Get up early enough to work before the house wakes up at least 3-4 times per week.
I’m an early bird if I plan accordingly. This means that how early I get up in the mornings is usually a direct result of when I go to bed the night before.
I get into a problem, however, when Scott’s night owl tendencies rub off on me. He’ll stay up all hours of the night and sleep in to compensate for it if he could. I, on the other hand, would prefer to at least be in bed by 10 p.m. (even if I’m not asleep yet) and up at 5:30 a.m. the next morning to be able to get my work hours in.
I’m sure many of you have experienced this as well, but being quarantined totally threw us off of our schedules. I’ve been staying up later than ever, and when I realized that it was affecting the time my body wanted to wake up, I made a point to plan my bedtimes and stick to a schedule that I could maintain.
Right now I get up extra early (before Skyler who is usually awake by 6:30 a.m.) around 3-4 times per week to be able to sip coffee and sit at the computer in peace. I draft blog posts, work on my online businesses, and answer emails. I feel the most productive and ready for the day ahead when I do this, so it’s something I plan on keeping up for the long haul.
Take a long walk and get outside for at least one to two hours, weather permitting.
It may sound like a long time to some, but it’s what has been keeping me sane during this period of staying inside for what seems like all day, every day. We don’t have access to a backyard in apartment living, so walks are key to be able to get in the fresh air and Vitamin D that we need.
Since we used to visit the indoor play gym several times a week during the mid-morning hours, I have been taking Skyler and Roadie for extra long walks through the neighborhood and our local park every day. Sky really enjoys being outside, and I know our pup appreciates the miles, too.
I don’t realize how much I love being outside until thunderstorms show up and we are stuck inside all day. So, I make sure to take advantage of the ability to walk and spend some quality time outside while I can.
Going on walks for hours isn’t realistic for everyone, but even a short fifteen minute stroll on your lunch break or after dinner can make a difference in your overall activity level.
Connect and video chat with loved ones regularly.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the greatest at staying in touch with the people I love with phone or video calls. I’m a great at text messaging, but it’s just not the same as checking in to hear someone’s voice, so I’m working on making calls and video chats a priority again.
It’s never too late to reconnect with someone, so do yourself a favor and reach out to schedule a chat. Zoom and FaceTime have been so great for this!
Move every day, even if it’s for a shorter (to me) 30 minute at-home workout.
There was a point in time where I only worked out at home, but I eventually got bored and craved a gym environment. I haven’t exclusively worked out at home for years, but I’m sure we all got a taste of what that is like during this time in quarantine.
While I still plan on taking a lot of my workouts back to the gym in the future, I did learn to love breaking a sweat at home again, and here are my biggest takeaways on this one:
- You can get an effective workout done in 30 minutes or less.
- You don’t have to own equipment outside of your bodyweight and a few dumbbells, plates, or bands.
- If you’re bored of working out inside, take your circuits outside! Enjoy your backyard if you have one, or complete the rounds at a nearby park.
- Outdoor cardio is where it’s at. If you’ve never tried running, biking, or even power walking, now would be the perfect time to do so!
- There are plenty of free at-home workouts that you can stream on YouTube, or subscribe to with a free trial before purchasing. Here is a list of some of my go-to channels, and I’ve most recently been loving follow along circuits by Heather Roberston.
- Even twenty minutes is better than nothing!
Tidy up for 15 minutes before I wind down for the night.
I’ve shared this tip throughout the years, and I’ve really embraced it during these months of being at home so much.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t seem to focus right if there are a lot of things that need to be put away or situated around me. (And trust me, it drives me bonkers that we don’t have access to a garage for easy storage. The piles in the corners of some of our rooms have got to go.)
Anyways, I never go to sleep without running the dish washer, and I wake up in a much better mood to tackle the day when the house feels tidy. Even if it’s for 10-15 minutes per day, I highly recommend doing a sweep of putting things away, straightening up, and getting your home to the condition you like to wake up to at some point during the day.
I feel like I do this constantly throughout the day with a toddler, but my “favorite” (ha) sweep of the day happens after Skyler goes down for the night and before I’m ready to just sit and unwind. I put all of his toys away, clear and wipe the counters, put laundry away, make sure the sink is clean, and run our iRobot Roomba vacuum if I haven’t earlier in the day.
It’s a game-changer, my friends!
Craft, color, and make presents to send out to family.
This one has also been a huge break to our bank account!
Instead of buying cards to send out to loved ones, Skyler and I have been busy coloring and crafting to share our messages of gratitude. Our families love getting mail from Skyler, and I don’t have to purchase an overpriced greeting card every time a holiday is coming up or a thank you is needed. It’s a win-win.
We’ve also put a solid effort into being as resourceful as possible and get creative with what we have around us. Skyler likes to collect rocks and sea shells, so we’ve been taking them home to wash and paint during craft time. He seriously has a blast!
We’ve all had to revisit those recipes and dig deep into our refrigerators and pantries during this time. While I don’t like the extra dishes, I have appreciated the act of following and creating recipes again.
I’ve become quite good at throwing meals together in a pinch, and I will certainly continue to do that, but I will also carve out some time to actually plan my meals ahead of time and cook recipes on the regular. Plus, I’ve loved the opportunity to be able to be in the kitchen with Scott at times. It’s not realistic for him to always be involved, but it would be great to use some of our date nights in to get create new dishes. I’ll be sure to share the wins here on the blog!
And while we’re add it, I’ll add sitting down at our dining room table for meals to the list, too. We’ve been doing so more than ever, and it always feels better to sit down and catch up, distraction-free.
I hope this list has given you inspiration to take a look back at the last few months and appreciate the silver lining through the madness.
Are there any healthy habits that you’ve picked up during this time?
What are little things that have made your days lately?
I’d love to hear more about some of the habits you plan on carrying over post-quarantine in the comments. Stay safe out there and talk soon!