Day to day life in 2020 has completely changed. The Corona Pandemic has completely changed the way we live. Our ‘new normal’ is to stay home, social distance and avoid any contact with this highly contagious virus. At the time of writing, there are well over 1 million diagnosed cases of Corona virus worldwide with close to 6,000 cases in Australia. To date, we have sadly lost 32 Aussies to this highly contagious virus.

And while we are not in an official lock down, we may as well be. We are encouraged to stay at home unless we need to go to work, visit the doctor or pharmacy, exercise or buy essential items. Gyms, parks, beaches, cafes and restaurants are shut. And many retailers have closed of their own accord. Many of us Aussies are super happy to do the right thing and help Scott Morrison’s ‘flattening the curve’ strategy but the biggest issue for most of us – just how long will it take?

Understandably, this great uncertainty is making so many of us feel anxious. And to compound that, spending 24/7 with your family under the same roof now everyone is working and learning from home can be taxing – let’s be honest! Now, I am not suggesting we don’t love our family but we usually have the benefit of a little distance to make out love a little stronger!

Self Care, ladies!

But with everyone working and studying at home, life is super intense. And with everyone eating every meal at home – it can all feel overwhelming. And I worry that the bulk of this pressure falls on the shoulder of us mums – the domestic engineers whose job it is to make sure everything is happening. So, we need to look after ourselves more than ever.

So, please take some time out for yourself. Whether you can have a nice long bath every night, take some time to do a meditation – check out Headspace a great app with a huge range of meditations to choose from.

In this episode, I thought I’d share some of my ideas and plans for how we can all try to stay sane while we stay at home and wait out the Corona pandemic. Here are some of the strategies I’m using to keep myself on track:

1. Routine & Structure

For the first few days of this new chapter when everyone was at home 24/7, I had no routine. I stayed in my PJ’s for most of the day, grazed constantly, didn’t exercise and accomplished almost nothing! After some initial push-back (from myself), I’ve snapped out of that phase and am now doing the following:

7am – Getting up, having a cup of tea with my husband and then doing a yoga or stretching class on You Tube. We are really loving Yoga With Adriene and stretching classes with Sydney Cummings.

8am – We tune into the news and watch the daily press conference with the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian who shares an update on the latest Corona stats. I then do breakfast and ensure no 4 son is fed and in front of his computer for school by 8.20. The next 40 mins or so is spent doing housework – you know all the fun stuff: washing, dishwasher and tidying – not that you can ever tell.

9am – Work – the paid stuff!! I also try and squeeze in a call to a buddy.

12 – Lunch and usually a walk or a You Tube dance class – see below for further details! If I haven’t yet called a buddy, I’ll try and do this while I walk.

1 – More work

3 – Supermarket run or drive with one of my 2 L platers!!!

5 – Start dinner, usual domestic stuff: folding, garden watering, cleaning up – never ending! I’ll also try to squeeze in my 45 minutes dedicated to the Corona Cleanup – see below!

7 – Dinner & more cleanup

8 – Reading, TV, games etc

9 – Jump in the bath with 2 cups of peppermint tea, a book and a charged phone. I put on some music or a podcast and relax!!

10.30 – Bed

I think it’s essential that we don’t fall into the habit of working all the time. Please schedule in some fun and downtime.

Why not put together a timetable that works for your family and put it on the fridge? Here’s a checklist that I found very helpful when I was trying to get myself back on track.

2. The Great Corona Clean-Up

Staying at home is the perfect opportunity to sort out your house like never before. You can afford to get everything out of a room and ‘deep clean’ because there’s no chance of visitors arriving anytime soon!!

I’ve started working through my house room by room. I’m decluttering, deep cleaning and sorting and it’s so satisfying. I’ve already done the laundry and I’m about to start the kitchen today!

When I asked people online how they were spending their time while we #stayhome, many also said they were cleaning. Interestingly, this appears to be a real phenomena with many experts believing that cooking (and cleaning) allows us to exercise some control and effectively block out the stresses and anxiety that maybe going on around us.

So, why not make a list of everything you want to clean and sort and allocate yourself a certain time slot every day? I’m giving myself 45 minutes a day – it’s amazing what you can do in a short period of time.

3. Cook, Cook, Cook!

I have to make an admission – I can’t stop cooking at the moment. I’m possibly at the point where I might need to get some professional help! Maybe on some deep level its tapping into some primal response to uncertainty.

And it doesn’t seem to matter what – I’ve got involved in making deluxe breakfasts for my boys: pancakes, corn fritters, hash browns. I then just have to pump out some baked goods – so it’s usually muffins, banana bread, brownies or even a cake – doesn’t matter as long as I’m producing! Sometimes, I try to reduce the sugar I’m using and use stevia instead but not always! 😉

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

I’ve also rounded up all of those random ingredients that we accumulate in our pantries that just sit there until they expire. I’ve popped them into a basked near my stove and I’m determined to make something out of them. So far, I’ve made some cranberry sauce muffins – with a jar of cranberry sauce, some puddings with chia seeds and some fab biscuits with some quinoa flakes. I also found a few half drunk bottles of red wine lying around from a pre-#stayathome social gatherings (weren’t those the days) so cooked up some Coq Au Vin for dinner. It’s remarkable satisfying and also great for the budget – as long as you aren’t buying more random ingredients to cook with!!

4. Exercise

Let’s face it – we all need to move! The most important thing is to work out what you love and just do it, as they say in Nike land! But the gyms and parks are closed – what to do?

If you have a dog – then this is a great excuse to walk. I know many friends whose dogs are exhausted because they are being walked by every family member every day!

One of my favourite forms of exercise is dance and when life is normal, I go to a few dance classes every week. But now that’s on hold, I’ve found another solution – dance classes on YouTube! This week, I found Move with Colour and Dance Marshall which offer some fab classes. Nathan Short, the man behind Move with Colour, runs his videos just like a dance class where Dance Marshall is a little more like a Body Jam dance class. Both amazing!! Highly recommend!

I’ve rearranged our living room and created an exercise zone. This week my hubbie did a personal training session with his trainer via Zoom and I’m using it for my dance class routine! Who cares if the house isn’t looking its best at the moment – no one is coming to visit!

5. Learn Something New

This week, I’ve joined Duolingo – an online language platform and have been brushing up on my schoolgirl French. Im pleased to report it is tracking very nicely and am now thinking I might have to take a trip to Paris when this Corona chapter is over!!

I have another friend who is learning the keyboard while she #stayshome. Why not find yourself a challenge? If you used to love painting, drawing, knitting or sewing – use this time to reignite your passion.

6. Virtual Drinks

If you are craving human connection – who isn’t? – then you need to get involved in this ASAP. In short, it’s a group video call purely for the purpose of socialising NOT working!! How good!

If you are an Apple user, you may choose to do a group Facetime call but you could also use Google Hangouts, Skype, Houseparty or even Zoom (my fave!).

Simply, make yourself a cheese platter, pour yourself a glass or 2 or your favourite tipple and get connecting. I have had a few of these of the last few weeks and they were so good. Nothing like debriefing and venting with like minded pals!

7. Gardening

I think the memory of empty shelves – even fruit & veg – in the supermarkets has traumatised me – hence our new focus on gardening. We’ve just invested in a VegePod which is now full of lettuce and leek seedlings. And I’m also about to covert some rather low energy garden beds into a spot for some broccoli and cauliflower!

Highly recommend getting your hands (and fingernails) dirty! And with the highly inflated prices of fruit and veg – broccoli was $12 a kilo this week – why not also save some cash!

8. Get Reading

Having extra time is the perfect excuse read, isn’t it? But sometimes you just need a push – I know I do!

One of my resolutions for 2020 was to set up a book club. Well, it’s April and the year has turned out quite differently to what I thought. Pre-kids, I used to be such a prolific reader however the ‘busy-ness’ of life with 4 boys while juggling work and community responsibilities meant I couldn’t squeeze it in.

Well, all that’s about to change…because from this week, I’m going to start a Grown-Up Girls Report Book Club. Each week, I’ll be chatting with a buddy about a book they love. And this means I’ll need to read it as well! I’ll also put a schedule together and post it so you can follow along too! Should be fun!

I know this chapter is tough people BUT we’ll absolutely get through it! Sometimes it’s hard to see the silver linings when things feel so overwhelming but I am already to start seeing many emerge. One of the biggest ones will be teaching us to be in the moment, totally tuned in to the present. I know that is something I haven’t done very well over the years but the Corona chapter is certainly teaching us that.

So, please take the time to find activities that bring you joy and happiness – because these positive moments will actually undo the negative effects of stress! Don’t believe me? – here’s the research!

You can listen here:

Stay well everyone!

Alex xx