The other day, the hubby asked me if there was anything I wanted to do. At first I thought he was asking if there was something I wanted to watch on tv. Then he says, “I just realized you haven’t been out of the house in months.” Which is true. While he kept a normal work schedule, apart from a family dinner for Mother’s Day, I haven’t been away from the house since March. And yet I am strangely okay. Really the only thing I could think of doing was going and getting a pedicure but I’m not willing to risk my health for that yet. I guess as long as he keeps me supplied with books then I’m good.
While I haven’t been away from the house, I have been outside more this year than I have in the last four or five. Then again, maybe that would’ve happened naturally. With two kids, our house is definitely not big enough to hold their energy. On days when even the outdoors couldn’t absorb their energy or I’m overwhelmed by their need for me, I grab a book and escape to the bathtub after he gets home. But what about those who are not able to decompress because they’re an only parent or someone who lives in an apartment? I can’t say I have all the answers but if I’ve learned anything this past weekend it’s that even a small change can make a big difference.
This last weekend three things happened that has changed our environment and daily life. The first two are changes we made and the third was a surprise. (Stick with me and I’ll explain how this all pertains to the two paragraphs above.)
First off, we changed our bed. Before, we had a king size sleigh bed. I have always loved sleigh beds, so buying the bedroom set from a friend was a no brainer. However, we’ve had the set for awhile now and it broke last year. We temporarily fixed but even the fix has been on its last leg. Coincidentally, we were given a new headboard last week. We spent Sunday morning taking apart the old bed and putting together the new one. I actually really like it and now our bed isn’t as high, which was always an issue for me when the kids were playing on it. Even though we’re always watching them and have them within reach, any time they got close to the edge I was afraid they’d fall and we wouldn’t catch them in time.
The second change we made was to our living room. We were also given a new area rug. It’s larger and softer than the one we previously had. It was quite the ordeal switching the rugs out. I had to crawl under the couch while hubby lifted it up. It’s a good thing I trust him not to drop it! It took me a full day to get used to. Every time I looked at it I was surprised because I was expecting the old one. The kids apparently approve of it because they keep lying down on it. I caught Isbe sitting on it last night while watching a movie. It was so adorable.
The third thing that happened was completely unexpected. I woke up Saturday morning to find the kids’ tablet had died. I didn’t think anything of it when I found it on the couch dead as that happens. I just put it on the charger. However, after enough time on the charger it still refused to turn on. Throughout the day we tried multiple chargers, adaptors, and plugs. Nothing. The tablet had officially given up the ghost. The death of the tablet brings about a small but somewhat significant change. Now the kids are really having to learn to share the tv. Before, if one was watching something on the tv then the other had the option of watching/playing on the tablet. With that option no longer available, the fight for tv time is on. The lesson on taking turns has taken on a new intensity, especially as Isbe has become interested in playing Ade’s video games, too.
So how are these relevant to relieving feelings of being cooped up? First of all: Change your environment. Something as small as rearranging your furniture can have an impact on your space. Move your couch to create a walkway between it and the wall. Or the reverse, move your couch up against your wall to create a bigger space in the middle. If you have multiple rugs in different rooms, try switching them around. You might find out that rug brings a new je ne sais quoi to another room.
Second: every change can be an opportunity. With the loss of the tablet, the kids are spending more time playing together, and not just on video games. I’m not saying it’s a magic answer because by mid-day yesterday I was already debating buying them a new tablet. However, they are learning to work and play together in a new way. Us having to stay home and not attend our normal activities like dance classes has caused us to spend more time outside playing, something we’ve taken for granted and not taken full advantage of in years past.
Maybe for your family its not spending time together outside but more time playing games together, simply having more family time. Yeah it’s tough right now, but family time, no matter where it’s spent, is something we all could use more of. Or maybe it’s learning to decompress and self-care in a new way that forces you to pay attention to what you really need for mental and physical health balance. Maybe you’re learning new things about yourself or how to care for the things about yourself you’ve kept swept under the rug. Whatever it is, take this opportunity to grow. Grow in love for yourself and for your family. Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest impacts. Happy Living!