May 1, 2020
While we record this, we, like many of you, are in the middle of the safer at home order for Wisconsin. Covid 19 has completely flipped everyone’s lives upside down. Cody and I really want to reach out and thank all of the essential workers who are putting their health on the lines to make sure others have what they need in order to stay safe and healthy. And to our Andrea Marie brides and all couples who have had to make the decision to postpone or cancel their wedding day, we see you. And to everyone who is simply trying their hardest to get through this uncharted territory- we see you too.
Cody and I have tried our best to handle a range of emotions during this time. Our emotions have been quite the roller coaster! One important thing I’ve learned is that there is a balance between listening to your body and mind and staying stuck in one place.
I think it can be really easy for us in this culture of self- care and a me focused mentality to really sugar coat our emotions and glaze over actually experiencing pain or challenge. We tend to rationalize a week of watching Netflix because we were feeling bummed. You might throw on a face mask and pretend you feel relaxed. Now, let me be honest and say about three weeks ago I was doing just that myself. That’s why I said we need a balance.
Because this pandemic is something none of us have experienced, we are going to respond to it in different ways. But I heard Dave Hollis say that the way we respond to this challenge will set a precedent for how we respond to future challenges. The point is, yes, this is a time none of us have ever experienced before. We will go through more hardships. We will experience more things that we’ve never experienced before.
Cody and I value learning how to overcome challenges and make ourselves a better team. It would be somewhat easy to glide through this time without putting any extra effort into who we are as a couple. But that’s not what we want for ourselves and that’s not what we want for you.
Our goal today is to share our exact steps for staying connected and supported during this challenging time.
When all of this began, we both sat down and drafted out our expectations to help guide us through what our lives will look like, in order that we have a plan in advance. This helped to give us direction. The topics we covered were:
- Limiting Exposure
- Work X
- Time together/ alone X
- Contact w/ others X
- Our business
- Screen time
Listen in and check out the freebie for more information about exactly how we set expectations for each of these areas of our lives!
Create a Schedule
Before I spoke about a balance and listening to your body. At the start of this pandemic, I was feeling very weighed down by all of the stress, unknown, and anxiety around me. So I listened to my body. I rested. I sat and read a silly book. I didn’t work out. Between the two of us we ate a whole pan of brownies in two days.
The thing is though, that isn’t my personality. That isn’t what I want for the next two months of my life. I had to take conscious and difficult steps in order to get myself out of that funk and begin to focus on the good! This is so hard. And I don’t want anyone to walk away from listening to this feeling more discouraged. Hear me when I say you are doing your best and your best is good enough. But also hear me when I say I want more for you!
The best thing that has helped me to have motivation, joy, and hope in this season is sticking to some sort of a schedule. Some of you might be living life exactly how you were before this started, and others are doing the exact opposite. Wherever you are at, sit down and think about what a successful routine looks like for you.
For instance, I know that if I sleep in I end up being groggy and slow all day long. One of my coworkers loves to sleep in and wakes up later in the morning feeling energized and ready to go! You get to decide what your schedule looks like and what it consists of.
Here’s what we consider when thinking about a successful schedule. First, decide what time you want to wake up and what your morning routine will look like. Andrea and I are creatures of habit and we either have eggs and toast or waffles for breakfast every morning, along with coffee, obviously. The routine is something we can control, which helps to ease some anxiety.
Set expectations for your working hours. What I want to stress here is please do whatever you can to make it clear to your employer and your coworkers or clients that you will be available between the times of _____ and ______. Cody and I have both found that unless we set an expectation and hold each other accountable, we could both continue working for most of the night. Especially in this time of stress and confusion for so many people, it can be hard to “turn off” and be ok with responding to people at a later time. What we have found is that when we do this we are much more emotionally and mentally present during our work times.
Next, think about a variety of activities that either bring you joy, fill you up, or help you feel rested that you can integrate into your schedule after you’re done with work. I would highly suggest even making a list of these activities so when you feel “bored” or you can’t think of anything to do, you can refer back to your list! For some, learning a new skill is exciting and keeps them feeling happy. For others, the thought of learning something new right now might be overwhelming. Stick to what works for you!
Lastly, think about a nightly routine for week nights that will help your body and your mind begin to slow down and relax so that you can fall asleep and stick to a normal working week schedule. Cody and I differ here- I’m a grandma who wants to go to bed early while he is a nigth owl! We usually decide early in the evening whether we will wrap up the day together by watching a show or whether we will do our own thing until bedtime.
Just like setting expectations, the goal is that as a couple you are on the same page and you know what you need. Having a routine helps you both to feel like there is a sense of normalcy.
Make Date Night a Priority
Cody and I started having a consistent date night about a year ago when we were in the throes of wedding season. We found that our weeks were consumed by work, our Saturdays were full with weddings, and Sunday was our day to review and edit photos and get ready to do it all over again. What we found was we were feeling drained and feeling like we weren’t spending quality time together.
So, we decided that Friday was date night! Before all of this happened, we might go out occasionally for date night. However, the majority of our date nights have been spent in our home, in order to save money!
Date nights don’t have to be productive! It’s a time to relax and rejuvinate and connect as a couple. You might play a board game, ask each other questions, watch a movie, or listen to music. Our goals are that we both feel relaxed and we have fun!
Routine Check Ins
It is so important during this time that we are checking in with one another. Cody and I frequently ask each other how we are doing. We share our frustrations and our joys and we talk about our terrible zoom work meetings. Then, we share silly memes or videos that have made us laugh.
Knowing how we are feeling emotionally can help us to better serve one another. If I understand that Cody has had a really busy and stressful day, I know not to bombard him with a to do list of house tasks to complete after work. These routine check ins between the two of us ensure that we can continue to support one another during this time.
Secondly, it’s important for us to be checking in on our family and friends during this time. Scheduling a happy hour over video chat with your friends can help you both to feel more connected. It is something that you can schedule and look forward to during the week.