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Right now, we are all struggling to remember what a “normal” day looks like or what a schedule or routine even means. Do I work out in the morning or afternoon? Do I make my bed or just leave it? Do I cook now or later? So many questions, and while it feels like so much time, the days go by faster and faster. How have we been sheltering in place for nearly two months? Adding to the stress is how every family member is living under one roof. Zoom calls, lunch breaks, PE classes, questions about what is for dinner, I mean the list could go on and on. 

We are working, resting, playing, eating, connecting, practicing – EVERYTHING – all in the same place. I recently had the opportunity to host a webinar for our friends at The Southern C, where I shared with other female, small business owners, like me, how to successfully navigate this season where all areas of life are under the same roof. I want you to consider three specific categories. 

Daily Routine: 

  1. Make your bed: I love this quote from Admiral William H. McRaven, “Want to change the world? Start by making your bed every day. If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made – that you made – and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.” If your bed is made, 90 percent of your bedroom is clean. Do it immediately after you wake up. 
  2. Get dressed: Mentally this helps prepare you for some normalcy in your day. I also just personally feel better when I get up and shower, put on some makeup and get dressed and ready for my day regardless of what I’m doing. 
  3. Develop a schedule: I think this is the most critical component to our success right now. In our family, we are discussing the night prior to what our next day looks like – when do we have Zoom calls, when do the kids need to be outside for wellness, when am I taping an interview or writing something and it needs to be super quiet in the whole house. Manage expectations. Give everyone’s schedule importance. Prioritize well here. 
  4. Determine a set place for each activity: Again, in our home, we each have an area for our normal “workday” whether it’s school for the boys, or work for Matt and me. I’ve set up shop in our dining room. Matt is in our office. The boys are set up at their desks in their rooms. We’ve kept the kitchen, breakfast area and hearth room only for family time. So no one is working from our kitchen table or bar counter. Our bedroom is for rest. Our bonus room is for play and relaxation. Keep each area for specific activities. Mentally draw boundaries. 
  5. Maintain a tidy home: This may feel intimidating, but physical clutter equals mental clutter. I’m not suggesting you get on your hands and knees and clean your baseboards. But, what I am saying is that there is a direct psychological impact when your surroundings are tidy. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes every day and see what you can get done. Then stop. 
  6. Exercise: Do what works for you here. Get outside and go for a walk. Take a bike ride with your child. I personally do barre workouts at least three times a week and right now I’m doing those online from my home. Regardless, make this a priority. 

Connection:

  1. Reach out to peers within your industry or situation: I’ve heard from so many other business leaders and owners that they feel isolated and alone. One of the greatest gifts to me during this season has been community with other female small business owners through groups like The Southern C. I’ve stayed connected with friends within the industry like Jennifer Jenkins who owns JJPR in Alabama. We’re walking through so many similar situations and it’s helpful to share concerns, stresses, and ideas with a fellow entrepreneur. 
  2. Create opportunities for visuals with friends and family: We’ve had more virtual happy hours than I care to admit, but it’s keeping us connected to our dear friends. My boys are FaceTiming with my parents every single day so they can “see” each other. We need to lock eyes with our people and there are many way we can do this safely. 
  3. Develop your 5 non-negotiables: I talk about this all the time. What are the 5 most essentials things that you can protect in your every day to make you the best version of you. Here are mine, as an example:
    1. Wake up 30 minutes before everyone else for quiet time alone – prayer, devotions, listening to music – starting my day in quiet solitude before the noise begins. 
    2. Drink half my body weight in ounces of water.
    3. Rest at least 8 hours a night.
    4. Exercise at least 3 times a week.
    5. Watch what goes into my mouth. I start my days off with a #Fab4Smoothie every single day, for example. 

Restoration:

  1. Make time for you: You won’t be able to care for anyone else well if you are empty. Be selfish. Take the time you need in every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes alone in the shower, to recharge. 
  2. Plan something to look forward to: Your days will be so much brighter if you have something down the road that you are anticipating. For us, it’s things like movie and pizza night on Friday or family game night or taking a long drive in the sunshine. Communicate to your home team what the activity is and when it’s happening so that everyone can be looking ahead to that with excitement. 
  3. Get outside: The fresh air will do a world of good, I promise. We were inspired by some friends of our to host family photo competitions where we take a long walk as a family and each take pictures of things that inspire us along the way. I can tell a noticeable difference when I haven’t gotten outside in a day or two. My general mood, my patience level – it’s all affected. 
  4. Take breaks: Do NOT sit at your computer for 10 hours straight. Don’t expect your kids to do school for a solid 6 hours a day. Get up. Walk around. Have lunch. 
  5. Discover a new activity that fills you up: I’ve been cooking like it’s my paying job. It’s bringing me so much joy. I’m discovering recipes and foods that are delicious and my family has confirmed that family dinners are their favorite part of quarantine. Whatever it is for you, discover something that brings you life and inject it into your weeks. 
  6. Extend tons and tons of grace: In our home, we are constantly asking for a clean slate. When my temper has flared and I’ve yelled for the third time. When the boys need to escape outside because something just broke upstairs. We sat our boys down and said that this season was going to be different and we needed to give each other so many extra chances. Be quick to forgive and ask for a clean slate whenever you need one. 

 

While this time looks different than what we expected this spring, there are so many sweet memories being made, so many lessons being learned, so many takeaways to be applied down the road. Don’t feel pressured to implement every single one of these items immediately. Take baby steps. Give yourself the grace that you’re granting more quickly to others. 

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AUTHOR: Heather Adams
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