Hey Friends. Some pandemic we're having, huh? Now I don't mean to minimize the lasting effects this is having on people's lives and the economy, but I have to selfishly focus on how I am surviving being quarantined with 3 kids, my husband and a 90lb dog since March 6th.
My darling baby boy had his 1st birthday party in quarantine. I haven't seen my elderly parents in months. Zoom happy hours are weird. I am now making face masks in my studio instead of bags. Strange times, am I right? (Silver lining on the baby bday was I made a chocolate layer cake from scratch, then got to eat said chocolate layer cake so I am calling that a win).
I kicked off this new decade with the theme of balance and expressing it through the symbol yin yang. Although saying 2020 now feels like a dirty word, I am focused now more than ever on the theme of striking a balance in my life and my home.
Here are the top 5 ways I have kept my sense of self intact:
1) Keep your routine. Set a daily or weekly schedule (ahead of time*) and follow it. Wake up on time. Go to bed on time. You get the gist.
2) Stay flexible. Sometimes you can't follow your routine, for example when your kid loses a popcorn kernel up their nose and you lose a few hours that day just making sure they're ok. Things happen, roll with it. Don't stay busy just to be busy, find purposeful things and do them.
3) Get dressed. Sweats kind of count, but not really. Wear things that make you feel good about yourself when you catch a glimpse in the mirror, they will make you feel good. I promise.
4) Prepare. No I don't mean hoard flour and TP. I mean prepare for the day by setting intent. Somedays I give my day intention like "I want my children to feel loved" or "move". Your mental preparation for each day doesn't have to be something on a to do list, it can be how you want to feel or make others feel. This helps give me a sense of calm and control of my day. You may start to notice that if you choose to make today happy, it will be.
5) Turn off social media. I know this seems ironic considering this is how I keep my business alive but seriously, take a break. The last thing anyone needs now is more anxiety, not to mention you are setting an example for your kids. They should feel like the most important thing in your home, not your phone. Put it down, walk away. You will thank me later.
I feel like at this point in quarantine I could start a parenting blog, or open a bread shop, or both. So things are going pretty great over here. Truth be told, I went on a bit of a self help kick in January, and boy am I glad I did. I found a few books at our local library that really helped me ease my anxiety and re-focus my perspective. It is kind of crazy how easily we can build our own mental cages of errant thoughts and beliefs. The books are listed below, and here are the three big lessons I gleaned and now use daily:
1) You control your perspective.
It is really easy to get stuck in our own feedback loop in our minds. The narrative you tell yourself becomes your reality. If you're thinking negatively about something, change the narrative and you'll change your perspective on it. That power is kind of game changing. For example: I realized I was talking negatively in my head about something that was bothering me. It was causing me stress. I came up with a positive phrase about the thing and told myself that instead when the feedback loop started. Then I told my inner monologue to STFU and that worked even better. Don't give things power over you. Take the power back by letting it go or changing the narrative.
2) Stop being busy for busy's sake. Cut the clutter. Say no to things. Boy, that was a big one for me. I have always measured my success by my productivity and I am very good at staying very busy.
With each child I have, my personal time gets further reduced. I am a list maker, I have many hobbies and a small business I run by myself. It is easy to find myself in a situation where I am doing a painting project with my toddler, dying fabric for my business and making dinner at the same time. Why am I doing this to myself in the name of doing what I want/trying to do it all? That's just a one way ticket to burnout. This is exactly how you become the stereotypical parent yelling with a laundry basket on their hip. Don't become the stereotype. You can have it all just not at all at the same time.
3) There is no time limit to purpose. Whoa.
As a small business owner and parent, this is a really big concept for me. I feel steamrolled by brands with big marketing budgets that can promote what they are doing way better than I can. By designers who have the money to churn out new styles (sometimes almost the exact design I was planning) when I can't. But you know what? So what. I believe in what I am doing and panicking about it isn't going to change the former issues of support or $ so I am giving myself the grace to just go at my own pace and follow my purpose. I hope you can do the same.
Books I Recommend: Getting back to Happy, Leading the Starbucks Way & The Wonder of Boys.
I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and well. I am grateful for each and every one of you and look forward to when we can all get back to some sort of normal life. I miss the beaches, the playgrounds, and seeing my friends. Stay well. FERAL loves you.