For the past couple months, I’ve been fantasizing about March 16th. I’d turn on my out-of-office, grab my carry-on packed with sundresses, and our family would hop our flight for a relaxing week at Miami Beach. Our restaurant reservations have been booked since 2019 (not joking), the kids are ready with their new shorts and swimsuits, and I’ve been obsessively checking the weather (clear skies and 81 degrees, by the way.)

And yesterday, like so many other families around the country, I cancelled our trip. In fact, I cancelled everything we had planned for the next 2 weeks.

To be honest, I was a holdout for a few days prior, rationalizing that our chances of getting the virus in Austin were just as great as in Miami, telling myself that the airports and planes were super clean right now, and after all, we can’t let our fear get in the way of living, right? YOLO! But then. As schools were cancelled, new cases popped up in Austin, and I read more about the necessity of all of us doing our part to flatten the curve… I realized that it was time for us to step up and contribute to stopping the spread. I realized that for all of us, making the choice to stay home is a choice that saves lives.

So here we are at home, 10 days (or more) stretching before us without our usual standby activities of restaurant brunches, movie theaters, children’s museum, or days at the park (the forecast is calling for incessant rain.) Events are cancelled, our church service has gone online, and many of our good friends aren’t leaving their houses. I told Adam last night that I wanted to be intentional with these next couple weeks. I don’t want them to be throwaway days that we “just try to get through,” but rather, how can we make them soul-nourishing days where we embrace the extra space in our lives to cook healthy food, exercise, play, laugh, connect as a family, read, and make this very unusual spring break one to remember?

I took the opportunity to pull out my journal and write out a few intentions for the coming weeks, and thought I’d share them here in case they sparked ideas for your own quarantined days. I also wanted to mention that I’m working closely with our editorial team to bring y’all stories and inspiration that feels relevant to this very crazy time that we’re living in right now. In the coming days, expect tips for immunity boosting, working from home, taking care of your mental health, and more. Let’s emerge from this stronger, together (even if that ironically includes social distancing for awhile.)

1. Be Mindful of the Media I’m Consuming

Not one to usually be caught up in the 24 hour news cycle, I’ve surprised myself with my near-compulsive checking of the latest reports over the last few days. Yes, there are constant updates happening with this virus, and no, we don’t need to know about them the second they happen. I’m drawing boundaries for myself by turning off notifications, limiting my sources to one national news outlet and one local news outlet, and leaving my phone on the charger while I’m at home. That way, I’m consciously choosing when I check my text messages and social media updates, too.

2. Embrace time at home as a retreat.

Yes, many of y’all still have to work next week, but for those of us who were already planning to take time off for spring break, let’s actually take the time off and be present with family, practice self-care, read, bake, do whatever it is you love to do! Just because things are serious out there doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun at home. We created a list of fun things to do with kids that don’t involve screen time (sharing a post Monday with tons of ideas), stocked up on enough pantry staples and fresh produce to cook really good meals, and am embracing this unexpected time at home to play games, try out a new online workout, give myself a pedicure. If you have a partner, set the table and have a romantic date night in. If you’re single, pour yourself a glass of wine and soak in the tub (or whatever fills your cup.) Make a list of every fun thing you can think of to do within the confines of your house so you have some ideas beyond Netflix.

3. Boost my immunity.

This virus is spreading, and that makes me nervous. The fact is, many of us are going to be potentially exposed to someone else who was exposed, and the best way to deal with that reality is making sure our health and immunity are as strong as possible. Here are a few resources for making sure your immunity is in tip-top shape to combat any viruses that come your way:

Get plenty of sleep. When we’re anxious, good sleep can be hard to come by. I’ve been there and have to be really intentional with my sleep habits. Here are my 12 tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

Get outside – yes, you must. Don’t let the advise to stay at home keep you indoors. One of the most important ways to boost your mental and physical health is to get natural sunlight and move your body – the two strongest ways for your body to release serotonin, the happiness hormone. Here’s all the proof you need.

Eat for immunity. Food can be powerful – For example, in a recent study published by the national institute for health, women who were on chemotherapy and had very weak immune systems were given shiitake and maitake mushroom therapy and had increased rates of survival due to their stronger immune systems. Aside from mushrooms, go for turmeric, bone broth, ginger, leafy greens, and citrus in your diet to strengthen your body’s ability to fight illness.Here are my favorite recipes that incorporate these ingredients.

4. Think beyond myself.

The most powerful way to quell anxiety is to get outside myself and do whatever I can to help and uplift others. There is so much suffering around the world right now, and inequalities in our system are highlighted as those with few resources are suffering most. First and foremost, we can all do our part to stop the spread by staying home as much as possible. We can also consider those whose livelihoods are at risk because of the closures: service workers, hourly workers, people in the hospitality industry, etc. Children who rely on school lunches as their main meal of the day may find themselves suddenly at home. Medical workers may be put in danger from higher exposure to the virus. I’m looking for ways to support these people, whether that means donating to charities, dropping off food to someone who needs it, or calling an elderly neighbor who’s self-quarantined.

6 comments
  1. 1
    Lynn | March 14, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    I’m in Florida for two months enjoying early retirement
    Be glad you didn’t come ….This state is so unprepared !
    No clear answers on testing or protocol. For the number of people here over 60, it’s a disgrace. The elderly are petrified!

    Reply
  2. 2
    Sarah | March 14, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you for this post and for encouraging us to shift perspective. I find that I feel anxious when the future is so uncertain. Right now I have concerns for the small business I run, the dozen women I employ at my law firm and their families, for the health of my family- mostly my aging parents, and for the other small businesses in the community who I know will suffer. Yet there is something so wonderful about shifting perspective to remember all that we have at the moment, the acts of kindness throughout our community, and time spent snuggled close with the ones we love. In some ways, it puts it all in perspective. My firm will certainly loose business, we may have financial instability, we may loose a loved one, but we have clarity in what is important and that in itself is a gift.

    Reply
  3. 3
    Leandria | March 15, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! Love the idea of being intentional with this time.

    Reply
  4. 4
    Gordon Rives Carmichael | March 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    I am an 80-year-old native Texan, currently living in Sandy Utah, and I am voluntarily “self-isolating” here with my delightful feline-companion, Casper, for simple peace of mind. I know it may be for several weeks and it may possibly become brutally boring, but we endure what we cannot change. I have an adequately stocked larder and wine rack, a phone with which I may stay in touch with others, a huge backlog of books I want to read, numerous CD recording of glorious music, a comfortable flat with an enjoyable Wasatch Mountain view, and the charming company of my sweet Casper – I am admittedly better situated than many, many, many people, and for this, I am most grateful. My thoughts go to those who suddenly find their employment suspended and with little-to-no savings – those are they that need extra assistance but are most often overlooked (while greedy airlines are already receiving taxpayer largess – grrrh). Quite likely, if you are reading this, you are also more fortunate than others. Remember that.

    Reply
  5. 5
    Melanie | March 17, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. #1 is me every day right now. I already struggle with anxiety and things like this make it skyrocket. I know I need to be better about limiting myself on social media and the news – I appreciate your tips, truly. And thank you for not turning a blind eye to this crisis.

    Reply
    • Camille Styles | March 18, 2020 at 2:48 pm

      Thank you for this Melanie, means so much to hear that this is resonating with you. Take care!!

      Reply
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