How Minnesota Snow Days prepared me for COVID-19
Growing up in Minnesota and raising my children there, we had our share of snow days! We were all huddled up in the house and it felt, different - special in a way. With people quarantined, either by mandate or by choice, it may be time to share the mental adjustments necessary for survival! (Yes, these are all photos of my backyard!)
1. Relax and enjoy the slower pace of life!
Being at home means getting dressed is optional, and the whole day is stretched out before you. You don't have to slam down breakfast in 10 minutes and get dressed quickly as you rush out the door. You can take your time to enjoy things at a more leisurely pace.
We are all on a bit of a "pause" from the daily grind. I remember in college when I was up to my eyeballs in homework and part-time jobs, just wishing that I could freeze the whole world for a bit so I could rest and catch up. This is a great time to do just that! I know that for some the days seem incredibly looonnnggg and endless, but all too soon time will be flying by faster than we know, so let's take a breath!
2. Bake Something
I realize that you probably don't have all of the ingredients for a chocolate soufflé, but use what you have to make something delicious! Improvising is half the fun! I love to bake but it can be time-consuming. You most likely have someone in the house that would love to help, and the wonderful aromas that come from the oven are almost as good as tasting the end product!
Another activity we don't make enough time for in our otherwise busy lives is playing. Board games gather dust, there is that ping pong table that now holds laundry to fold, and the 2000-piece puzzle has been relegated to the back of the junk cupboard. It's time to give yourself permission to PLAY! If your kids are home, they will always treasure this special time with you. If you don't have kids or pets, you probably don't play enough, so see how it lifts your spirits to do a puzzle, or play a video game on your phone.
4. Enjoy your Sanctuary
Your home is your sanctuary, filled with things you love. (I hope! ). Often we don't have enough time to sit an enjoy our surroundings - reading a book by the fire, sitting on the deck chair overlooking the backyard, or even just snuggling up in your favorite chair with a photo album. My house is filled with things that hold special memories for me.
And if your "sanctuary" is stressing you out because it needs some attention, now is the time to tackle that little project that has been on the back-burner. Organize those basement shelves, empty out that junk drawer or bag up extra clothes for Goodwill. Giving your home a bit of TLC will make you feel refreshed and ready to move forward when the world opens up.
5. Dream and Plan
Speaking of the world opening back up, it will! You may have had to postpone (or cancel) a vacation, but now is the time to dream about your next adventure! Research places, watch videos, chat with others - now that you have more time to peruse all of the information out there, your new plan might be even more exciting than what you had to cancel. It takes time to find those hidden gems (although our videos and itineraries sure help 😏)
6. Enjoy each other's company
Chances are good that you are quarantined with someone else. While all of this togetherness can be a bit overwhelming at times (especially if you are now homeschooling!) keep in mind that this too is a fleeting moment in time! There may be disputes, even hourly! - but this quality family time will also bring some great memories. During our snow days we built snowmen, read books, watched movies and made forts in the living room. Special times that I look back on fondly. Now I have the luxury of being quarantined with my husband and two adult children. They are usually busy with their own lives, but we have had great conversations and they share their knowledge and talents, like facials and Instagram help! Bonus! If you are quarantined alone, it is a great time to reach out to others via Facetime, phone calls or email. We have more time to connect, and it's so important.
7. Be Creative
It's not always easy to connect with others, or fill our days, but the possibilities are endless! Use your imagination! My mom, who is quarantined alone, decided on a "Facetime lunch" with one of her friends. They ate and conversed, all from the safety of their own homes! If you are faced with bored children who are stuck indoors, put your creative heads together and invent a new game - the messier the better! The idea is to remain limitless and do something that you don't normally do. You have to let go of "control" on this one, but the memories created will be worth the mess to clean up!
8. Appreciate the Kindness
People seem to have a special reserve of kindness that comes out in a time of crisis. There is always that neighbor who unexpectedly plows your driveway when you are snowed in, or helps you push your car through snow up to your hips. We are seeing those same random acts of kindness now. The person in line at the grocery store offers you a roll of toilet paper, as the shelves are empty - you make a meal for someone in need. I believe that there is always more good than evil in the world, and that we raise to the occasion in difficult times. Soon we will be back to our self-absorbed lives, so take time to appreciate the generosity that you find in yourself and others.