Right now, we all need to take a break.
In a year that has been brutal for parents, this has been a particularly tough week. With the onset of full-time remote school in Seattle Public Schools, there’s a demanding new routine for families to adapt to, all while unhealthy levels of wildfire smoke keeps us cooped up inside.
There really is no easy way to do this.
But there are ways to treat yourself and get some escape from the pressures of the day. Here are some suggestions.
Set your priorities and drop the rest
Keeping your family healthy and navigating through work and school is more than enough to cope with right now. Don’t worry about the other stuff. If you’re tired, skip cooking, and get takeout instead. Put off mopping the floor. Stream something deliciously trashy instead of reading an improving book.
Make a special little treat
Most of us have indulgences that are part of our routines. For example, I consider dark chocolate to be a staple. But sometimes you need a little extra boost, like say, trying a new cocktail recipe at the end of a rough day, or adding fancy toppings to an after-dinner bowl of ice cream. Even a pot of tea, served with ceremony, can be a source of joy sometimes.
Even if you don’t like shopping that much, chances are, there’s some kind of purchase that will give you a little charge of satisfaction. Often, it’s something that will make your home nicer. For example, a couple of weeks ago, my husband and I got way too much enjoyment out of outfitting our kids’ home classroom set-ups. The kids had to tell us to stop. (Actual thing I said: “Are you sure you don’t want a caddy for your pencils?”) A lot of people like to buy tools. Here’s a fall purchase I always enjoy: flower bulbs. (It helps that I also enjoy planting said bulbs.) Also: campground reservations.
Now is the time to watch too much television.
The world may be in terrible shape, but your family’s fingernails are going to be fabulous. Facial masks are fun and refreshing. And aromatherapy will leave your house smelling nice.
Control your doomscrolling
In case you needed another sign of how insane our world has become this year, not only is “doomscrolling” now part of common vocabulary, but there are actual health warnings about it, like this Sept. 9 tweet from UW Medicine.
Obviously, you want to keep up on current events, like the latest report on how nobody knows how long the smoke is going to stay, but stick to a scheduled time for checking the news (and don’t make it right before bed.)