[caption id="attachment_171512" align="aligncenter" width="1180"] Image: Pixabay.com (2015), CC0/PD[/caption]
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, my family and I, like others worldwide, have been home together in a way, and for a length of time, that has not happened previously. I am an introvert who enjoys being home in my happy little den, but this situation comes with a built-in set of challenges that we are now all quite familiar with: balancing schoolwork with working from home, keeping the house clean with multiple messy snackers camped out in the living room all day, trying to stay calm during a time of considerable stress, and trying not to focus on how much I miss events and human contact with other people.
The lack of familiar routine is a huge struggle for me, but over the course of the past eight weeks, I have found a few things that have helped me to adjust better and force a new sense of normalcy in the midst of the somewhat free-for-all feeling pervading our home:
- Pray novenas. Novenas have a built-in nine day structure, and they provide me with a sense of purpose to move through these days. Each day, I focus on where I am in the nine day timeline, and on the nature of my intention for that novena. This helps me to feel not only grounded, but productive.
- Set reminders. I know that all of us are struggling right now with remembering what date and day of the week it is. For novenas, and for so many other things, I set reminders on my phone. You can use your calendaring system to do this, or use an app or website to aid you. The Pray app works with Google Calendar to schedule novenas you’d like to pray, and the app also sends a reminder notification each day at the time you set, along with the prayers for your current novena. PrayMoreNovenas.com is also an excellent resource, and you can sign up to receive novena prayers and reminders via email or Facebook Messenger.
[caption id="attachment_171513" align="aligncenter" width="1180"] Image: Pixabay.com (2019), CC0/PD[/caption]
- Plan things that are still within my control. So much is not within our control right now, and that is a challenge for those of us who feel comfort in planning things. Many of our plans are cancelled right now, but we can still plan things like meals, our goals for the day, and our evening family time. I have a magnetic whiteboard that I use on our refrigerator for weekly meal planning, and it helps me to feel a sense of structure and organization, and also to strategize for our grocery shopping. I still use my beloved Erin Condren weekly planner to keep track of to-do lists for my work tasks, and to schedule in online meetings and classes. That little connection back to my life before this all began is very soothing to me.
- Seek out opportunities for online fellowship or learning. We all need an hour to ourselves here and there, and there are currently a lot of opportunities for free or reasonably priced online fitness, dance, or other sorts of learning, as well as fellowship and conversation. A screen does not replace human contact, it is true, but for the time being, it does provide valuable interpersonal connections and opportunities to exercise or learn her things.
[caption id="attachment_171514" align="aligncenter" width="1180"] Image: Pixabay.com (2016), CC0/PD[/caption]
How have you found ways to instill a new sense of routine while being at home in new ways? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
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Copyright 2020 Tiffany Walsh
About the Author
Tiffany Walsh is a wife and mother, a native western New Yorker, and a college librarian. She is a cradle Catholic who rekindled her childhood faith as a graduate student via her love of books, and is the author of Exploring the Catholic Classics, part of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women series. She enjoys writing about faith, crafting, dance, fitness and wellness. Visit her blog at Life of a Catholic Librarian.