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  • How to Make the Best of a Quarantine as a Family

    During this time of drastic changes in our schedules and lifestyles, I’ve found myself appreciating things I normally took for granted. The simple act of going into the office every day and seeing my clients is an example of something I wasn’t aware had such a big impact on me. I realize now how much I enjoy the interaction with all of my clients, being able to laugh, explore, and move forward together through challenges and wins.

    Having more time in my hands, I’ve also realized that I am suddenly more mindful of my minute-by-minute choices of how to use my time. Do I do some work? Do I spend some quality time with my child? Do I exercise? Whatever I choose, it’s not being limited by time constraints or a schedule anymore, allowing me to fully enjoy and be present in whatever I do. This in turn, has served me the opportunity to realize what I value the most, what brings me the most fulfillment, the most pleasure, the most peace.

    With schools closing and people being forced to work from home, we are finding ourselves spending a lot of unplanned time with our family members. In some cases this can be a welcomed, positive thing. In others, not so much. Lets face it.

    Sometimes work is the place where we find ourselves “free” from conflict and responsibilities we find at home. So, how can we make the best of this quarantine?

    How can we remain or regain connection with those we value most?

    Here are some ideas:

    • Family game night: Time to take out the board games! Or any games you have available or are creative enough to make up! Family game night is a way to keep everyone entertained, occupied, and connected. We rarely ever have the time to do this, so why not now?
    • Storytelling: This would be a perfect time to gather around and share stories about our family tree! You think you know EVERYTHING about your family?
      Guess again. There’s always something to discover about your roots and how you’re still being influenced by them now. Lots of funny and inspirational stories too! This can be extra interesting for families with a live-in grandparent or two.
    • Family movie time: With all the streaming services available now, there’s a million choices of movies and shows you can enjoy together as a family. From documentaries about interesting subjects, to classic cartoons, to game shows,
      we are sure to find something to please everyone. Sharing your opinions and critiques about your choices afterwards can make for great conversations too!
    • Family crafts/art: Do you have an artistic family? Time to take out the coloring books, paint brushes, canvas, and any other supplies you can use to make something together! Making something memorable that you can look back and remember this time with a smile on your face, not fear. As a matter of fact, science shows that any repetitive movements (such as those made when coloring and painting) can be very soothing, just like the soothing we experienced when being rocked as babies.
    • Family cooking: We may not be able to go out to restaurants, but you can make your own house your favorite restaurant! Pick some favorite dishes and put them on your “family restaurant” menu. Now, let’s cook together! Put some inspiring music to make it even more fun!
    • Family picnics: You feel like eating out? Take the delicious food you just prepared (or ordered/picked up from a local restaurant ;)) and go out for a family picnic! We may not be able to socialize, but we can, and need to, get some fresh air and sunlight. So, it’s picnic time!
    • Family exercise: While you’re out there, why not go for a bike ride, nature walk,
      roller blade, skateboard, walk the dog, run, etc.? Spring weather in Florida is the best, so let’s take advantage of our sunny days and beautiful surroundings and go out for some activity and mindfulness! Pay attention to all the beautiful sights and sounds around you. How blessed are we to live in such a beautiful state!
    • Some structure : This one doesn’t sound much fun, but I felt I should include it, since some of us seem to thrive on some structure, otherwise we feel scattered and anxious. Create a little schedule for yourselves with all these fun ideas included. However, try to remember to be flexible and remain mindful of the present moment, so that it doesn’t take away from the appreciation and connection we’re being given the chance to experience during this time.

    I read someplace that this experience can be viewed as an opportunity for Mother Nature to cleanse itself from all the pollution we have created. As we are quarantined, the waters get clearer, the air gets cleaner, the trees aren’t being cut down, and the animals get to live in peace. While we are being forced to stop, we can take this God-given opportunity, globally, to get out of “autopilot” mode and be mindful of each one of our actions. Some of us are not used to this. However, this will force us to appreciate certain things and make necessary changes in our lives. I know it’s doing it for me!

    Isn’t that a wonderful gift?!

    Natalie Jimenez, LMFT Bilingual Clinician offering Telehealth in FL & NJ