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An Open Letter to the Year 2020 and What to do When You’re Stuck at Home During Social Distanc

Dear 2020,

You are the year that started out with so much hope and promise. We were all coming up with our “words of the year” and fresh goals, big plans, and dreams. The future was bright and we were all so grateful for a new start. It would seem that you, 2020, decided to take a U-turn in the middle of our street so you could introduce us to a little bit of dystopia. With social distancing measures in place, everything is suddenly a little bit topsy-turvy and we don’t really know where we stand. Well, at least that’s what the media would have us believe.

Here we are, not quite a full quarter into the year and I’m finding my college daughter home for the duration of the year. A blessing! And also, a little speedbump as she is disappointed to finish the year without her beloved new friends. It is likely that my high school son will soon be studying at home for some amount of time. The high school has had to cancel sports events, concerts, assemblies and a half-produced performance of Les Mis has been postponed indefinitely. Closures and delays are happening to schools and colleges around the state. There is also a remote (ha!) possibility that my husband will be able to forgo his commute and work from home. Remotely.

This work-from-home mom is suddenly back in the parenting trenches. I love it! I especially appreciate how my flexible work schedule can accommodate everyone else. But I am also going to need to stand strong in my boundaries so I can get some work done and also continue moving my business forward.

When social distancing measures are in place, what will we do to keep ourselves occupied? Here are some things you can do to prepare yourself for that eventuality:

  1. Of course, do all the things you need to do to stay safe. Wash your hands for 20 seconds every chance you get. Keep your surfaces clean including doorknobs and kitchen cabinet hardware. Eat healthy, whole foods to keep your immune system strong. If you have a fever, or a cough, do not go out in public.

  2. Go ahead and buy toilet paper/hand sanitizer/disinfectant wipes/etc. if you need them, but don’t hoard supplies. I don’t exactly understand the run on some of these items. You should be able to get water out of a faucet for the duration of the virus and there are plenty of substitutes for toilet paper. (Wink) A simple bleach and water solution should be able to clean everything. By overbuying these items for your family, you are letting fear overwhelm your life and depriving others of simple necessities.

  3. You will likely be home more in the weeks ahead. What project can you take on while you’re there? This is a great time to start organizing your summer garden. Maybe gather the supplies you need to pick up a lost hobby. I have an active knitting project and another waiting in the wings. Maybe this enforced slow-down of life will give me a chance to finish something for once.

  4. This is a good opportunity to put down the devices which cause stress, fear and panic. Be informed, but don’t bad news and panic constantly into your brain. Put your device down and discover how fun it is to learn how to do something new. Bake some bread. Write a play. Start your novel. Create a housebound playlist. Play board games with your family. Pick up your ukulele. Design a new fire pit for your backyard.

  5. This is a great time to organize your closets, declutter your pantry or rearrange your rooms. It’s a good idea to clean things up anyway, so while you’re at it, maximize your time and overcome those hurdles of clutter and chaos. If you need help, contact your local Northwest Home Coach. I can help you get things done while you’re working from home. We won’t be congregating in large groups, so why not use this time to be productive? As for me and my house, we’ll be organizing the shed.

  6. Finally, keep an eye on those around you. If you have elderly neighbors, drop by and see how they’re doing. Share a pot of soup with friends. Make cookies. Have a taco Tuesday or a pizza Friday. Use your best judgement, but as long as your house is clean enough, everyone is healthy, and guests wash hands when they come in, you can probably safely provide hospitality and create a stronger tie to those around you. 

So, 2020, have you forgotten? My word of the year was Chazak! Be strong! As Joshua 1:9 (Tree of Life Version) says “Have I not commanded you? Chazak! Be strong! Do not be terrified or dismayed, for Adonai your God is with you wherever you go.” I’m walking into the weeks ahead with strength and courage, but also humility and love. We will be fine. We have each other. Be well.

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