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April 22, 2020 2 min read

maika planter

Now that we’re into week 5 (or is it 6?) of sheltering in place, our family has slowly developed some kind of daily rhythm. Not perfect, in fact, far from it, but surprisingly, we are rather appreciating some of these newfound habits that I hope we'll continue for the long run.

1. Meal planning

Because we don’t have the luxury of just running to the store for 10 minutes to grab that one thing we need for dinner, we’ve gotten much better at planning our meals and grocery shopping. We do lots of rice and noodles, so for us, it’s all about the “what goes with rice” strategy.

When it comes to meal planning, our rules are simple: try to make meals that bless us with leftovers, and cook something we really want to eat.

2. Being outside together as a family

Before, I would spend hours in front of my laptop, not looking up until I’m interrupted by a call. These days, because the kids need a break from their online classes, we would make the effort to stop all work and take a mid-morning walk together. Same thing in the afternoon, sometimes replacing the walk with a bike or scoot. In my case, I’m learning to skateboard. This one might be short-lived. We’ll see. 

Phillip and I have also developed a new habit of walking together every Sunday afternoon. Just the two of us. During the week, our conversations are mostly about the kids, schedules, chores and can feel very “transactional." These Sunday walks are a nice way to end the week, and connect on a deeper level. 

waving illustration

illlustration courtesy of @violaesutanto

3. On "seeing" your community

Do you notice that the birds are chirping louder than usual? The air is clearer? It's also been nice to see folks acknowledging each other as we pass each other. 

Taking the time to wave to a neighbor, or letting a stranger walk first... all nice little gestures to keep doing forever. We've taken to creating little chalk art messages to surprise our neighbors in the mornings.

re-discovering old books

illlustration courtesy of @violaesutanto

4. Re-visiting old hobbies and learning new ones

Sure, we still have our to-do lists, but it's been refreshing to take stock of our time and re-visit old hobbies. Picking up an old book to re-read, or remembering how fun it was to play hop-scotch on the sidewalk, sketching, playing the piano... just for the fun of it.

On learning something new, Neil Pasricha (of 1000 Awesome Things) says "...your learning rate is the steepest when you know the least." In other words, give yourself permission to suck. It takes the pressure off, and at the very least, everyone gets a good laugh.

5. Doing more with Less

I'm constantly amazed by the creativity of kids. Playing with them reminds me of the power of imagination. Isn't that what grown-ups call "innovation"? They don't see cardboard boxes or used tin cans; instead they see a world of robots, and forts, and ninjas and castles... it's awesome!

For those who have kids in their care right now, bring out all your "recyclables" and let them lead. I promise you it won't be boring.

Take the time to look for little silver linings. Till next time...

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