Now more than ever, the routines we have in place are essential for getting through this time of pandemic. Our calendars have emptied and we are uncertain what the next few weeks will truly look like. We each are affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 in different ways. I can only speak from my own experience. Since we do not yet have school-aged kids and I stay-at-home with our toddler, our routine does not feel drastically different.
With that said, last week I internally struggled not having our usual routine filled with toddler class, park playdates, and library outings. I was left wondering: how should I spend this extra time? Should I just sleep in? Should I just watch all the movies during H’s nap time? Should I just stop training since the marathon is postponed? Should I just mindlessly consume social media and let everyone’s thoughts and opinions and anxiety seep into my own heart? These personal questions plus more have been bouncing in my head the past two weeks.
And the answer? Keep on keeping on. Keep doing the same rhythms I do on a daily basis, minus of course the things I can’t do. If you are feeling stuck, in a rut, and confused about how your days should look in this new normal, here are a few things I am continuing to do during the coronavirus pandemic, we are currently living through.
1. Keep Waking Up At the Same Time
After everything was postponed and cancelled, my first thought when my 5:30 alarm went off was sleep in. I have a feeling that more people probably are sleeping in. It makes sense. There is less of a need to urgently get out of the door. I get the temptation and the reality of sleeping later, but for me personally, that small choice can really mess up the rest of the day and my own attitude. Keeping up with this rhythm of still rising early has been an important piece of keeping me grounded. Now more than ever, I need this quiet time to process with God, to read His Word, and journal out what is in my heart.
2. Keep Moving (Running is always a good option).
In the midst of all the hard news and fear surrounding us, I have been deeply encouraged to see SO many people using this time to get moving outdoors. The New York Times in an article last week, even called it “a back-to-basics exercise boom.” As I am typing this, running, walking, and biking outdoors is still within CDC guidelines. And for that, I am really thankful.
If it comes to the point, that we can’t run outdoors, I am not exactly sure what I will do, but for now, I am deeply appreciative of my hour runs outside. It feels like freedom, it feels accessible, and it feels essential. We need movement. Whether that is doing those push-up challenges cropping up all over social media or walking the dog around the block or lacing up those running shoes that have been gathering dust. This is the time to make movement a daily rhythm of yours. It is essential.
3. Keep Setting Goals
With the cancellation or postponement of so many events, races, conferences, and gatherings, it is easy to just scratch all the goals you made at the beginning of 2020. Along with being routine-oriented, I am very much goal-oriented. I need a clear goal to keep me focused and working hard. With the Boston Marathon’s postponement, I decided I desperately still needed a goal to look forward to and motivate me to continue to get out the door.
As I wrote about last week, my new goal is to run a sub-1:20 half-marathon in a virtual race. Obviously, not quite as thrilling as hitting the streets of Boston, but this goal is still keeping me engaged and excited to get the miles in. This is what it looks like personally for me, but I think it is possible for us all to re-write and adapt our original goals. This is no time to throw out goals altogether, instead, let’s pivot and adjust.
4. Keep Connecting
God made humans to be in community. We are literally wired for connection and community. This is one of the MANY reasons, this new time is so challenging. As much as my own introverted self is perfectly okay spending most of my time with family, this time has reminded me the great value and importance in connecting with others. It has been encouraging to see so many having virtual meet-ups with friends and Face Times that go beyond the casual “hi” and extend to really hanging out and enjoying time together. Keep doing this. Keep scheduling time to see your people virtually! Hudson is not quite at the age where I think a virtual playdate would work, but if you have older kids, I found this creative list of virtual playdate ideas.
5. Keep Praying
Well, of course. But in full transparency, I know when I begin to get fearful, anxious, and out of my normal routine, sometimes the first thing to go is my daily conversations with the Lord. Please don’t let this one go. God is listening. He is not surprised with any of this, and I truly believe he desires to teach each one of us something essential during this time of staying at home.
Are you listening? Are you willing to hear what he has to say? Are you telling him your own concerns, worries, and fears? Please keep praying. Pray for all the medical professionals working tirelessly. Pray for the elderly that may be especially fearful right now. Pray for those with compromised immune systems. Pray for those personally affected by COVID-19. Pray for those losing jobs. Pray for our grocery stores and the lovely people working in them. Pray for the students that deeply depend on the structure that school life brings to their days. Pray for the teachers. Pray for the parents. Pray for those that live alone and depend on social gatherings. Pray for our world and for deep healing on a physical and spiritual sense. Christianity Today, put together 20 prayers that can help lead you to pray during this time.
In all the uncertainty and change, let’s work together to keep some things the same. Keep rising, keep moving, keep looking forward, keep connecting, and most importantly, keep praying.
Also, keep attending church (virtually).
Keep reading books.
Keep having family movie nights.
Keep chasing trash trucks on Mondays.
Keep washing your hands.
Keep taking your vitamins.
Keep sending birthday cards.
Keep the sabbath.
Keep drinking coffee.
Keep walking the dog.
Keep grocery shopping.
Keep cooking and baking and ordering take-out.
Keep online shopping.
Keep reaching out to your mama.
Keep taking baths.
Keep watering the plants.
These little, unchanging things are becoming more beautiful to me with each passing day.
What are the things you are keeping in your life right now in the midst of pandemic?