It sux, I know, it’s never nice to be ‘trapped’ in your own home with your kids. Stop the carousel, I wanna get off!!!! But wait. Before you drown in a vat of despair, let’s pause a moment. As the great sage (someone, somewhere) said, “It is what it is.” We can’t change the law, so we may as well settle in and make the most of lockdown, if we possibly can. Could there be, is it possible, an upside?
I truly believe there is because each time we’ve had a lockdown, I’ve quietly loved it. Sure, I don’t love the fact that we are cut off from seeing family and friends face to face. I don’t love that shopping for groceries has suddenly become the highlight of my week. I most certainly do not love online remote learning with three high schoolers.
And I absolutely hate that many people are struggling to make ends meet both financially and emotionally. Hate that people are sick in the ICU without their loved ones there to support them. Hate that troubled families are stuck together when they really need space. Hate that essential workers have no choice but to keep on showing up, day after day. Hate it, hate it, hate it.
I don’t love any of that, not one little bit.
But… it is what it is.
And since it is, let’s try our best to make the most of lockdown while we’re stuck in it. A little bit of optimism and a whole lot of stoicism will get us through most of it, and a little cry here and there will help soothe the rest. Here’s how I reckon it ought to go down.
1. Embrace the simplicity
Call it boring, or call it living the simple life. Lockdown means there is a whole lotta nothing going on and I like it.
I’ve had roughly six hours put back into my week simply because I don’t have to drive my kids around. How much time a week have you been given back?
There’s time every day for a long walk with the dog. More time to plan meals and certainly more time to enjoy cooking them. So we’re eating better and rather than being an inconvenience that the busy teens endure because I make them, dinner time is a highlight of the day for everyone.
We’re lingering together because there’s literally nothing else to do of an evening. So… love the simplicity. Slow things down and just allow the simple life to be a good one.
For kids who can’t handle simple: 17 projects for older kids that will help them find their passion
2. Reshuffle daily family habits
Since there’s no one else they can talk to, my kids are talking to me a lot more than they were. Is that the same for you?
I reckon they’re thinking “any port in a storm” and here we are, having chats.
It might be about something in the news (or more likely that they saw on Tik Tok). Or the rush to let the household know how many cases there were overnight (if you’re interested, Twitter is always the first place to find out). Then we chat about the dickhead who visited 27 BBQ places whilst infectious – or whatever today’s news brings.
Lockdown allows for a bit of a reset of how we spend our days. Now is the time to introduce things you’d like to have in your family. Whether that’s setting a specific time together, heading out for a walk after dinner, or simply eating breakfast together and starting the day right.
We got into the habit of giving a rundown of our days early in lockdown. Then it morphed into a fun way to make our dull days seem way more thrilling than they actually are. So we might commentate it like a really cool movie trailer. Or add suspense when there is none. Whatever gets us through, right?
Fresh ideas here too: 10 ways to make today a good day
3. Get a bit healthier
With so much less going on, I’ve been making the most of lockdown time by getting more exercise. I’m starting each day with a Pilates session before I sit down to work (I do roughly 30 hours of freelance writing and editing work a week as well as run Mumlyfe).
In the afternoon I take the dog out for a bushwalk in the trails around our home. Nine times out of 10, I can entice at least one of the kids to join me and most days my fella comes along for a chat too. Plus it’s currently the only way to see a friend F2F, so there is plenty of walking being done.
None of these things are new to me (they are all part of my general wellbeing habits), but right now I can do them at my leisure. I’m not “fitting them in” around other stuff and it feels so good! Incidentally, here’s my foolproof, super-easy meal planning routine.
Along with taking more time to plan and shop for better meals, spending time outside each day is a game change for the health of anyone in lockdown. If you do nothing else, do this:
- Spend at least half an hour outside every day, preferably in the morning
- Eat loads of vegetables and some fruit every day
- Drink plenty of water early in the day
- Stretch your body and practise balancing every single day
4. Read more about everything
I’ve read five books since lockdown started three-and-a-half weeks ago. I hardly ever find time to read any more so this is a such a blessing. I’ve tried to shake up my reading with a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Each of my five books so far have been very, very good. I can highly recommend each of them:
- Still Life by Sarah Winman (truly beautiful with characters you won’t want to let go of – I recommend any of her earlier books too!)
- How Not To Diet by Dr Michael Gregor (if like me you’ve been trying to lose weight since forever, this book will blow your mind)
- Every. Night. Of. The. Week by Lucy Tweed (this is a FANTASTIC family cookbook that I received early, but you can preorder it – it’s out in a couple of weeks)
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (I bloody loved it, but then, I love everything about libraries, always)
- The Secret Place by Tana French (Irish, murder mystery, cop procedural, part of a linked series, what’s not to love!)
If you want to get the kids into a book or two during lockdown, here are some brilliant lists:
- 16+ very helpful books about raising girls
- 8 new(ish) funny books for kids age 8+
- 21 awesome books for reluctant readers (they won’t be able to resist)
- 16 brilliant books that spark creativity in kids (and you will love them too!)
- 5 books ‘for girls’ that boys might like
5. Do all the little things
So far I’ve cleaned the sand out of the downstairs storage room, painted the back wall in the garden (or the girls did, but I finally bought the paint), decluttered the dreaded third drawer down, restocked our street library and dusted and cleaned the skirting boards. Guess how many of those jobs have been on my list for AGES? All of them!
It’s not that these awful, fiddly little jobs are suddenly more bearable. It’s just that there’s nothing much else to do some days so I may as well have clean skirting boards.
Lockdown is the perfect time to make a list of all the silly little tasks you never get around to and then get around to them. My list is long, and hopefully lockdown will be short, but even just making the list is a win in my book. Have you made yourself a list?
Hope you and yours are all doing okay! Stay safe, stay positive, stay sane, stay home!
More thoughts on lockdown life:
- How your family can survive lockdown without killing each other
- The three stages of lockdown – a family #journey
- I’m going to miss lockdown in lots of unexpected ways