Many families have watched their full calendar quickly go to empty. Schedules with notes like, “piano lessons at 4:00,” or “soccer practice pick up at 6:00,” have quickly been wiped clean. Even though we didn’t choose to have this fresh start, there are a series of lessons we can learn by watching the demands on our schedule slow down.
1. Time isn’t the culprit
Consider that “time” is not the real reason we haven’t been acting on to-do items at home. One mother of three shared, “I’ve been saying that when I get the time I am going to organize my pantry. I now have time at home. I am still not organizing my pantry.” Perhaps the real reason you haven’t tackled that once-thought-time-dependent project is because you are emotionally overwhelmed, you need more information, or don’t have the resources. This can be an opportunity to face your real concerns and heal root circumstances. This is a chance to find relief from the overwhelm and develop a more honest relationship with time.
2. Play comes before deadlines
With kids at home all the time, fighting boredom, and sharing the same space, play becomes more important than ever. It matters to pretend along with younger children, older children, and hey, even your husband. It matters to open up a book and read out loud in a pillow fort, to laugh as you set up your teddy bear in the window for the “Bear Hunt,” or to sit down and craft when you would normally be checking e-mail.
3. Savor the opportunity to “go deep.”
We have an opportunity to deep dive in family life. Meaning, we have an abundance opportunity with the people we are staying at home with.
As a keynote speaker, I’ve learned that there are times an audience learns better when you deep dive on one crucial learning point versus trying to teach, “eighty-eight skills.” (Eyes glaze over as information fatigue sets in). This is your research on one crucial learning point. Savor the abundance. (And, yes, step away and breathe when the abundance gets to be too much). Know that this focused time will give you a wealth of expertise.
4. You can manage the present moments
There are benefits from not trying to plan everything. It gets overwhelming trying to anticipate the future. When we are thinking about the past it can lead to depression. Thinking too much about the future can bring on anxiety. The only place you have control is this present moment. Take it a moment at a time.
5. Achievements do not equal worth
Hustle doesn’t mean you matter more. Use your talents to bring you purpose, not to become a weapon to rate yourself with. As you watch your to-do items disappear from your calendar, instead of thinking “Who am I, and where do I belong?” It is a good reminder that self-worth is constant. It is always there and does not change. This is an opportunity to build a healthy sense of worth.
6. Busy can be used to numb out
Have you ever considered that sometimes we fill our schedules, binge watch our favorite series, or run from one activity to the next in order to avoid feelings? Are you finding yourself trying to busy your way through a quarantine? This is an opportunity for healing and that might mean you feel your feelings. Instead of numbing out with a to-do list, use this time to recover. As you replenish what’s really going on inside, picture what your schedule will look like six months from now when you have a centered approach with yourself and your time.
7. Anchor yourself with rituals
Uncertainty is part of life. When we are in the lows of life we can take great comfort form our simple routines. Family dinner takes on a new light, putting on your wedding ring in the morning, exercising at the same time each night are all examples of the little routines that matter.
Karen Eddington is the author of Understanding Self-Worth, a speaker, and the director of The Under Pressure Project. You can find more information at KarenEddington.com.