Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Coronavirus’

In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d be blogging about a pandemic. Yet here we are…smack in the middle of Covid-19 and it is testing humankind in a way we haven’t been tested for 100 years. To fight the novel coronavirus in our counties, cities, states, countries, we have to act as one and shelter-in-place. In other words, in order to stem the number of deaths we may face, we have to social distance.

We have to hole up with our family, with roommates, or as singletons for the greater good of our species. And, as easy as that is to say/write, it’s not something we humans are particularly good at. We are, most of us anyway, social beings.

So, what can we do to protect the collective and stay well? That is the question that I, as a mom, have been pondering for the past few weeks. As connection is so important not just to my family, but yours too, here are 35 tips I have found on how to come together while staying apart.

  1. At home, get creative about staying positive: call, email, write a letter or send a card. Leave a note in someone’s door or mail box or on their doorstep.
  2. Use Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp, Houseparty, Hangouts, and FaceTime to see one another
  3. If it’s safe to do so, set up a “gate” chat or “driveway” chat with neighbours.
  4. Set up a gratitude message board either in the kitchen or by mobile phone {texting, WhatsApp, iPhone, Facebook, Instagram} where every one can post a message or send a message to share something they are grateful for.
  5. Set a group daily challenge. It could be a healthy habit, a mindful practice, a creative pursuit, a new recipe. Check in daily to stay motivated.
  6. Set dates and times to watch the same TV shows/movies with others and message one other your thoughts along the way… I’m enjoying Derry Girls and Ozark, both on Netflix, right now. Netflix Party is a new way to watch Netflix with friends online. You need Chrome to access this service but it sounds like a great way to host and watch movies with friends everywhere.
  7. Join a local social media group. This will keep you up to date with what’s going on directly around you. It may also include ways you can perhaps reach out and connect with someone less fortunate than you and ways to assist them.
  8. Younger children might enjoy learning how to draw with Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems. Mo is a best-selling author and illustrator and he is teaching drawing every weekday on YouTube.
  9. Help younger children, teens and college-age young adults cope by giving them extra attention and reassurance.  Watch news together and talk about what you’re viewing. If someone feels overwhelmed by what’s they’re seeing, allow them to step away and then circle back and talk about what’s not sitting well with them.
  10. Check-in and share feelings so everyone knows it’s ok to be anxious, nervous, scared.
  11. Involve everyone in home management chores. It’s easier to stay positive when you have a job that’s important to everyone.
  12. Seek professional help if you are concerned.
  13. Watch a live concert, take a virtual tour of a museum or join or start an online dance party. Yo-Yo Ma, via Instagram, the Seattle Symphony and others are finding news ways to share their services during these challenging times. Enjoy free live broadcasts of the symphony from the comfort of your own home. You can learn more about upcoming concerts and how to watch these live broadcasts here.
  14. Many museums around the world are now offering digital access to their collections. The Louvre, Guggenheim, the National Gallery of Ireland, the British Museum of London, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea, and the MASP in São Paulo are all available to tour online thanks to their own efforts or through Google Arts & Culture.
  15. The Metropolitan Opera in New York City is offering free nightly live opera performances.
  16. The DJ of Boogie Down productions fame, DJ D-Nice is hosting house parties on Instagram. He calls it Club Quarantine! Tag your friends. Tell me about your experience at the party.
  17. Coldplay front man, Chris Martin, is the curator of the annual Global Citizen festival. He launched the “At Home Together” series with an Instagram live video, during which he played several of the band’s hits and spoke to viewers who are in isolation during the coronavirus outbreak.
  18. Billboard Magazine has compiled an enormous list of quarantine music events online to watch on their website.
  19. The Kennedy-Center offers a wide variety of free videos of live and on demand performances and educational activities online.
  20. Join an online game, bookclub or discussion group. Discussions groups, found on sites like SeniorChatters, offer a way for older adults to engage in different topics online. Use these tools to meet other seniors from all over the world and discuss your favorite hobbies.
  21. If you’re a reader, Celadon Books shares their five favorite book clubs that you can join online.
  22. Play games online. Whether you prefer cards or board games, it’s easy to now play a favourite games online. Websites like Arkadium.com offer a variety of card and board games that you can play with others or on your own. You can also download apps on your phone to play games with others, like Words with Friends.
  23. Little ones might enjoy watching Storyline Online, on Youtube, a children’s literacy website created by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, which provides free storytelling videos and resources for parents and teachers to foster a love of reading in children. The website features an expansive library of videos of new and classic picture books read by well-known actors and actresses like Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Betty White, and James Earl Jones. In a style akin to Reading Rainbow, stories come to life with dynamic voice performances and animated versions of original illustrations, encouraging children to see reading as a transformative imaginative experience. Arnie the Doughnut is read by Ireland’s one and only Chris O’Dowd.
  24. Save with Stories, started by Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams in partnership with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, is offering stories on Instagram and Facebook to provide fun and education to kids and parents stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
  25. Audible has launched a free collection of audiobooks for children. Amazon’s Kindle is offering two free months to its unlimited ebook service for new users.
  26. Broaden the mind and take a class. Ivy League schools have made nearly 500 online courses free to keep individuals occupied while stuck indoors. The online courses can be found on Class Central and include subjects in mathematics, programming, personal development, education and more.
  27. Coursera, an American online learning platform, started by two Stanford professors, offers classes for free that are taught by top instructors from world-class universities and companies.
  28. Move your body and quiet your mind. Joining the Fitness Blender community, and others like it, will give you the chance to take free classes and stay healthy. Fitness Blender, in particular, offers 600+ workout videos and an online network of fitness-friendly instructors.
  29. Meditate with Headspace, is a guided meditation service, being offered for free through the Headspace app. The programs include meditations, sleep and movement exercises which you can listen to any time.
  30.  Core Power Yoga, a popular yoga studio chain in America, is currently offering free online classes through its Core Power Yoga On Demand platform. The classes are pre-recorded and range from 30 minutes to up to an hour long. The studio is also offering online guided breathing practices and meditations.
  31. 305 Fitness, one of NYC’s most popular dance-cardio workout classes is now offering free cardio dance live streams twice a day on YouTube at noon and 6PM EST.
  32. No Peloton bike? No problem. In response to Covid-19, the Peloton App is opening up to new users for a full 90 days. The app, which includes at-home bootcamp, outdoor, and running workouts. After 90 days, there is a fee, so be sure to mark your calendars.
  33. Food feeds the soul…and the empty stomach. Learn the basics, and not so basics, of cooking in all forms from online experts. Massimo Bottura, for example, is teaching from his new Kitchen Quarantine classes on Instagram. Also, Chef Thomas Keller takes us inside his own kitchen while teaching technique and recipes on Instagram. Chef Jose Andres does the same with his #recipesforthepeople. Irish chef, Donal Skehan has his own YouTube channel, if you want to get caught up on cooking Irish style. And while Rachel Allen doesn’t have her own channel, you can find many of her Irish cooking recipes Rachel Allen.
  34. Learn a new language…Spanish, French, Mandarin or even Irish perhaps?! There are online learning platforms offering free language skills including Babbel, Duolingo, Busuu, Learn a Language.
  35. Teach a class. I love to cook and have started using social media as a way of connecting to others who like to cook too. I’m teaching my first bread making class this Thursday to a group of ladies via Zoom. Think about a skill you have and reach out to your family, friends, and social media followers to see if anyone would like to meet up weekly to share or teach a class.

Remember – we are all in this terrible time of Covid-19 together. If we can find creative ways to stay together but stay apart…we have a fighting chance to see a better tomorrow. And, as An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said yesterday, “We cannot lose focus. What we’re doing is difficult but it is making a difference.”

Stay healthy. Stay safe. And, message me if you have any more ideas.

~ XK

 

Read Full Post »

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 1.59.25 PMI’m not sure how it started this morning, but as I came into the kitchen, our two teenage daughters were screaming at one another at the top of their lungs. “You took more than your fair share!”, shouted one with clenched jaw and angered face. “Yea?! Well…why can’t you just MIND YOUR OWN business for once?!”, responded the other who then stomped out of the room in a huff. What were they arguing about??? How much scrambled eggs one had put on her plate and whether or not there was enough left for the rest of the family.

So, tell me…how is your family doing?

A week ago, when our eldest daughter suddenly returned home from college, our house went more topsy turvy than normal. We still have a teen daughter living at home…so we’re still used to drifting from one drama to another…but I digress. Our eldest, in her defense, has been on her own for nearly two years, living in college dorms on the west coast of America, and has, more-or-less, been running her life like the emerging adult that she is. Then, last week, her life was completely upended thanks to Coronavira.

Like so many other college students, not only is she having to get used to classes being cancelled or taught online, she’s been quarantined from friends and, almost more importantly, she cannot see her boyfriend. To add insult to injury she, like most others, is being told she can’t go outside unless she’s social distancing, she should keep her bedroom clean and can’t leave stuff all over the house, she should create a schedules for herself and, oh yes, she needs to workout.

Settled into Dorm

Here’s our eldest the day we settled her into her college dorm in America.

If you have a college student who never left home, maybe he or she is used to living with “courtesy” rules, as I like to call them, but I wager a bet that things aren’t going smoothly in your home either. You’re probably finding your young adult is spending way more time then you think is healthy on Netflix or Playstation, staying up late into the evening or sleeping half the day away. Maybe they’ve got pizza boxes up in their bedroom?! My friend, we’re going to have to face the facts, none of us with teens/young adults in our home are going to get through Coronavirus unscathed.

Only five days at home, my oldest daughter was asking if she could p-l-e-a-s-e move out. “I can’t live with you guys…you’re making me crazy!”, she’d say in her more frustrated moments. Said daughter and a group of equally frustrated friends were hoping we parents would all get together and rent them an apartment!!!

My husband, ever the peace keeper, considered, for a split second, that the idea might be a good one. I, on the other hand, just couldn’t see my way past the “entitlement” such a decision would profer. The truth is that many of today’s teens and young adults, have lived a life without much discomfort and this Covid-19 crisis is the first assault to the comfort and freedom.

It took me 24-hours to cool my jets after our eldest daughter lambasted me for trying to set up “house rules”. But, in that 24-hours, I had time to reflect. God didn’t create the universe in a day and we’re not going to teach our teens/young adults that 1) struggles are real and 2) you don’t give up or quit when times are tough. Instead, we find inner reserve, change the things we can change, accept the things we cannot change, and we pivot towards what will work for the greater good.

So, what can we do to help our young adults with the current new normal?

After a day or so, I sat down with our eldest daughter and calmly talked about what was happening for her, us, and the world right now. I asked her to outline what the ideal situation at home would look like. I took notes and we negotiated what feels like a workable solution for her and us. It was good to listen…really listen..to what she had to say. Mostly, she expressed anxiety and asked for compromise. And, in the days since our blowup and chat, things have been better for all of us.

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 3.12.24 PM

I’m no expert in parenting nor do I pretend to know how to navigate the return of college-age kids, but here’s some things that are working for us:

  1. Outline the current house rules. Young adults who’ve been away from home or who are more or less used to running their own lives need to know/be reminded how the house operates. In our home, for example, we talked about our need for public spaces to be kept tidy and our daughter talked about her need for us to let her bedroom be whatever it is {messy!!}. The compromise was that both could happen WITHIN REASON. We’d give in to our need for the kitchen, sitting room and dining room to look like something out of an interior magazine…so long as she picked up after herself within an hour or two of being in said spaces. And, we will stop expecting her to make her bed or hang up her clothes every day, BUT she is not allowed to leave food on the carpet {I know…I know!} or have dirty dishes/cups/water bottles in her bedroom for days on end.
  2. Listen to their fears, anxieties, concerns and validate their feelings. As I like to say, “Shrek always says better our than in”. Young adults, like little kids, need to talk…get their feelings out. We need to let our older teens know that it’s ok to talk and cry. We need to acknowledge that “yes” their lives are uncertain right now, but things will get better in time. All kids lack life experience to understand this just yet.
  3. Carve out places for them to study. If the kitchen, for example, is a communal space for eating and conversation, find someplace else in the home that can be used as a quiet study space. A conservatory, unused hallway or guest bedroom, for example, will work in a pinch. If possible, set up a desk (Ikea) and let them have the space they need to study.
  4. In addition to game time, shared workouts, and tv/movie watching together, involve our young adults in watching the news with us. Why? Because if our older kids sit and watch the news with us, it gives them a chance to be informed of the latest happenings in this global pandemic. Knowledge is power. If they hear the same messages we are hearing, they are more likely to understand why “we’re all acting so crazy” {our younger daughter’s comment!}.
  5. Encourage them to use this “gift of time” to do things they’ve talked about/wanted to do or help them find ways to safely help others in the community. I’ve talked with my daughters about doing more cooking and baking, knitting {we’re making prayer shawls}, picking up musical instruments we’ve allowed to gather dust, online scrapbooking, and learning new languages. Hey! You’ve got to find the silver lining in all this…am I right?!
  6. Not get involved in disagreements. My kids argue. They always have. Period. They’re what we call in Ireland “chalk and cheese”. What’s important to them is that we stay out of those arguments…and we don’t pick sides. The compromise for me was that if they start to get loud…I get to say “Girls…take it down a notch.” And that’s what i practiced this morning when the screaming match started about the scrambled eggs. It wasn’t easy but it was kind of nice not to “parent” them through the disagreement. In the end, I was pleased to hear they’d texted one another to apologise.

So, what are you doing in your home to make the transition easier for you and yours? I’d love to know. This is a scary and unknown time. None of us are holding it together all the time. But, you know what, we’re stronger when we work together. Hit me up…let me know what you’re doing that works. Or, if you need to let off some steam, please feel free to do so here. We mums and dads need safe places too.

I’m sending love and prayers for good health and strength to all of you. If you have some free time, drop me a note on this blog or on my Instagram: Inanirishhome.

~ XK

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: