We’ve reached the point in this stay home order where even introverts are starting to feel a little stressed out.
Because at first, it was actually kind of nice to have your schedule cleared for you.
I enjoyed having a chance to just be home with the family. Nightly suppers around the table have been easier to pull off.
But with so many things closed now, it’s become stressful for a lot of us.
Maybe you’ve lost your income and are having trouble getting through the maddening unemployment phone line.
Your teens are so stressed over trying to keep up with school work while missing their friends that they are making you crazy.
(Yes, of course you love them. And sympathize. And kinda want to lock them in their room for just a little while.)
The younger kids don’t really understand what’s happening, but they know that everyone seems worried. And they show that they are worried by whining every minute of the day and clinging to you constantly.
Poor kids…and poor Mama (who is pulling out her hair).
Extroverts are ready to see people again! And introverts are ready to have the house back to themselves, even for just a little bit, again.
When you feel the days slipping into a cesspool of stress, here are some things you can try.
Tricks To Use For Stress Relief In Your Home
What it really boils down to is a few things your family needs so they can keep going without feeling totally crazy.
Now, I can’t promise you a failproof plan. Everyone is going to have tough days, no matter what you do.
So remember that when you wake up to one of those tough days, it’s ok to just let it all go. Drop your expectations and sink into the couch for a movie day.
(Just don’t do that every day. Or you’ll be more stressed than ever. Ask me how I know.)
Here are the things you want to build into your time.
I’m a firm believer that so many of our kids these days are bored because they aren’t asked to be a full part of the family.
What does that mean?
Well, they live in the house. They can be part of all those projects you have going on.
Honestly, kids know when you’re giving them busy work.
Telling them to spray the windows with water and then going behind them to “really” clean them tells them that their contribution to the family isn’t valued.
(Don’t be surprised when they fight you tooth and nail at chore time.)
Instead, really put them to work.
You can probably modify just about any project you’re working on to include most of the family.
Yeah, it will make the project take a lot longer. But you have time now, remember?
Anyway, our job is to send them into the world with the knowledge they need to run their own home. What better way to get that then hands on experience?
So pick up a home project and put the whole family to work.
But here are some simple stuck at home suggestions:
- rearrange a room (everyone will love seeing a new arrangement)
- paint something (maybe you have some leftover paint on hand? paint furniture, make a fun sign to hang)
- build something (there are tons of diy ideas on Pinterest!)
- clear clutter (reclaim the corner of a room, the garage or basement, a closet and turn it into something fun for the whole family)
2. Something To Look Forward To
For my whole life, I’ve always had the “next big thing” tucked into the corner of my brain.
Something fun to look forward to. (Especially when it feels like laundry and dishes are the only things I have going on.)
I think a lot of us do that. Maybe there’s a party coming up, a birthday or wedding, events or activities.
Those are hard to come by right now. Heck, we can’t even look forward to the day things open back up, since everything is so uncertain.
Take matters into your own hands, and create something to look forward to.
Announce to everyone that Friday night is going to be a fun night (give the kids some anticipation!).
Then, try one of these ideas:
Car Ride Scavenger Hunt
Who woulda thought a car ride would be an anticipated event? Our kids have only been out of the house a couple of times since this all started, so even a car ride is fun now.
Make it more fun with this free printable scavenger hunt:
(Just click it to print your own!)
This one is fun!
We invited our extended family to a trivia night via Google Meet. You can also use Zoom or Google Hangouts.
You could invite friends or your kids friends. Teens will love this one.
It was good to just see people and get a chance to catch up. The trivia was a nice bonus.
You can create your own questions ahead of time. Use this Zoom Trivia Game.
New Board Games
Sometimes a new board game is just the ticket to a fun evening.
Ding Dong Ditch
No, not the old bag of flaming poo. 😉
It’s a happier version of ding dong ditch. Make batches of cookies and drop them at the doorstep of your favorite people.
Then hit the doorbell and run for the car.
You could also do this with board or card games or any pick me up you know your favorite people would enjoy (as long as it fits your budget).
Turn your next walk into an interesting nature walk. Here are some ideas (and free printables) you can try.
Ice Cream Sundaes/Movie Night
If you’ve been watching movies a lot, adding an ice cream sundae bar might make it more fun!
Fun toppings might include:
- Fruits like bananas and berries
- chocolate or caramel sauce
- peanut butter
- whipped cream
3. Quiet Time
Yeah, we want something fun to look forward to. But what we need every day is a little quiet time.
When the bickering between kids goes down to a dull roar and Mom can maaaaybe get a few minutes of quiet so her brain isn’t beaten into mush.
Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, quiet time when everyone is stuck in the house is a rare commodity.
Here are some things you can try:
Here’s the key: you have to make screen time rare in order for it to be appreciated.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but in our house, when kids have access to tons of screen time, it makes them all an angry mess.
The moment they have to put the screens away, there’s a meltdown. Things are thrown, words are shouted. It’s not pleasant.
When screen time comes with conditions, they seem to appreciate it more.
The rules in our home are:
- schoolwork must be done
- chores must be done
- respect must be shown (especially towards parents)
- you get an hour (maybe 2 when mom is tired) and then time is up
- if you keep playing, tomorrow’s time is gone
They’re quieter when they are using the screens. And there’s less meanness when they’re put away.
Hide In The Car
Assuming any little toddlers or babies are cared for (or napping), take a break.
Even if that means slipping out to just sit in a quiet car for a little while.
I know I’m the lucky mom who has a lot of kids who love to read. So look for ways to get new books.
Our libraries are closed, but we can still borrow ebooks.
I’ve also considered asking friends if they have any books to exchange. They could leave them on the porch and I could leave mine when I pick them up.
Another key to quiet time is….
No need to color code anything or plot out every minute of the day.
But it is a good thing to try to keep something that looks like your normal schedule.
It’s so easy to let bedtime slip away since time means basically nothing right now.
Try to keep the kids on a more consistent bedtime schedule. That will make them less crazy…and you should get a little quiet time before you go to bed yourself.
The key is to wake them up rather than letting them sleep all morning. It doesn’t have to be the crazy early time you usually get up.
(I’m not a morning person.)
But decide that everyone will get up by 9:00 am. Or whatever works for you.
That should help them sleep better at night.
What’s A Bedtime?
I hear you. Lots of us have kids that do NOT stay in bed.
Us, too. Some of our kids always have to come back out to say goodnight “one more time”.
But by and large, we quickly redirect them to bed over and over and they get the message that coming out to see us isn’t going to amount to anything.
5. Three Meals…Every Day??
Cooking all your meals at home can save you a bundle. But for people who are used to dining out fairly regularly, it can get old fast.
Here are some things we’ve been doing.
Chef of the Day
Let the kids choose what you’ll eat for supper. And then let them cook it.
Obviously younger kids will require some supervision. But you’ll be amazed at how quickly they’ll pick it up.
Some kids take to this quickly and love doing it. That should help you have a night or two less in the kitchen.
Have a “good enough” night.
No one likes to eat leftovers? What a shame, because we’re having leftovers tonight anyway. 😉
Put a new topping on it to make it a little different. Fry it up in a pan with something else to create a new recipe. You can get as creative as you want, but there’s no reason to let that food go to waste.
Another option is to let everyone fend for themselves. Some people are happy with cereal for dinner. Or whatever snacks they can find.
It’s a night off from cooking.
Lower Your Expectations
Yeah, you might be home. But that doesn’t mean you have to create a Pinterest worthy meal every night.
If you have a grill, throw some chicken breasts, burgers, or hot dogs on there. Cut up some potatoes and toss them in the oven for home fries. Or serve potato chips.
It’s a picnic!
Don’t feel bad about the occasional frozen pizza, chicken nuggets, or whatever else your family wants to eat.
Or serve it every night for a week if you need to.
6. Outside Time
If you’re feeling down, it’s amazing what a little time outside will do.
I know that’s hard in a lot of places right now. But if you can find a way to get in a walk, do it.
I realize that this isn’t a Christian blog specifically, but I’d be crazy not to mention this one to you.
I’ve been praying the rosary daily, and I’m convinced it’s the best thing I have done for my sanity during this crazy time.
So if you don’t have any sort of prayer life, now is the perfect time to explore it.
That’s how you can help your stressed out family.
Truth be told, we use many of these ideas during “normal” life, too. It’s funny how we find stress in too much activity, but also in too little activity.
Maybe now is a good time to rethink our normal, too.
How are you dealing with stress?