It’s been nearly two months since COVID-19 turned life upside down and sent our mom stress off the charts.

I don’t know about you, but it’s been stressful as heck!  Working from home with a houseful of kids is hard.  Worrying about a worldwide pandemic is scary.  Thinking about people losing their jobs, falling behind on bills, getting sick and dying is terrifying.

I’m not usually one to stress out.  But, I’ve definitely had some sleepless nights and moments of panic during all this.  To keep myself healthy and calm, I do these stress-busting activities:

Get outside and walk!

Middle age couple walking hand in hand on a sidewalk in town.

In the month of April, I walked over 70 miles outside.  And I’m super proud of that!  About half of my walks took place in the evening or over lunch with my husband.  It’s been so good for us to get out of the house and away from the kids to talk about whatever is stressing us out.  We both read way too many headlines and news articles, so we take turns calming the other one down.

I’ve also gotten into the habit of solo morning walks.  I love greeting the day with a two-mile walk.  Sometimes I listen to a podcast, sometimes I call my mom or sister, and sometimes I just enjoy the bird songs.  Walk your stress away!

Need some extra motivation to get you moving?  My sister and I joined an amazing community of women walkers, 99 walks.  Each month we reach our walking goal, they send us a super cool, silver bracelet inscribed with a motivational saying.  It’s awesome!

Plan your weekly menu

Cooking three meals a day for five people — three of whom eat like grizzly bears waking up from hibernation — is hard work.  If I don’t have a plan for most of our meals, I’m constantly stressed out about what to cook.  So, I pick a day each week (Sunday for me) to write a seven-day meal plan.

Once I have my plan, it’s easy to order my groceries for curbside pickup.  I always try a couple new recipes for variety.  Our go-to cooking app is Mealime.  They have really flavorful, healthy recipes that my kids love.  It’s also important to have several easy, reliable and fast meals in your plan.  Some nights you just don’t feel like cooking…

Do the minimum for homeschooling

Listen, even if you are teacher of the year, no one should be stressing out about teaching kids right now.  Sure, they could be learning new languages, exploring ancient civilizations, and enriching their young minds for 8 hours a day.  But give me a break, that’s not happening.

My kids are doing the weekly lesson plan from the school in about an hour or less every morning.  I get them started after breakfast and then go to my home office to work.  Do they screw around?  Absolutely.  Do they rush through the assignments?  Yes.  Are they learning something?  Probably a little.  Am I worried about their future academic standings?  Heck no!  They’ll be fine.

Put your affairs in order

The worst mom stress is when we start thinking about the “what if” scenarios.  And with COVID-19, it is really easy to start down that dark and scary path.  Early on in the pandemic, every article about a healthy 40-year-old dying from COVID-19 really freaked me out.  If it could happen to them, it could happen to me.  And what would my family do without me?

Would my husband know our passwords to register the kids for school?  Does he know who our pediatrician is?  Could he pay all the bills and find the insurance information?  Does my daughter know my favorite Christmas traditions?  Would she keep doing them?  Do my sons know the stories behind my family heirlooms?  Do any of them know how I got my unusual name?  How would they get along without me?

It’s overwhelming to think about.  But, there’s an easy solution.  Put your affairs in order!  Don’t wait.  If this pandemic has taught us anything, tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Write down all the important information they’ll need.

Things You Need to Know Kit by Circa Legacy with photographs, writing pen, coffee mug, laptop computer, and journal.Commit to doing it.  Write it all down in a notebook and put it somewhere safe.  Or, you could fill out the Things You Need to Know Kit.  It walks you through all the information your family will need in the hours and days after you pass away.

Even though I created the kit, it took a worldwide pandemic and a few sleepless nights to convince me to fill one out.  And now if the worst happens, my kids will have handwritten letters from me to help them deal with it.  My husband will have an encouraging note and a bunch of information he’ll need, including accounts, passwords and contacts.  It’s one less thing for me to worry about. Give yourself this peace of mind.

Take it one day at a time

You can’t erase all the stress in your life, especially right now.  But you can make each day a little easier with some fresh air and planning.  We can do it!


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three happy teenagers on a road trip