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Happy African American boy having fun with his father at home.

Finding Balance in Uncertain Times

In the past several weeks, most of our lives have been turned upside down as our nation works on controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. We have all had to adapt our lives around school and business closures, social distancing, teleworking, hunting for toilet paper, and even sheltering-in-place. While circumstances vary from household to household, one thing is the same: We are all trying to figure out what our new normal is supposed to look like.

Ryan and I both work full time and are now teleworking, while having to "school" our 12-year-old. All three of us are trying to navigate working in the same space peacefully. Oh! I forgot to mention, we also have three furry “coworkers” who are excited we're home and want to play all day. I thought I'd share four ways we've been able to cope with the new stressors that have been added to our lives.

Normalcy reigns.

While nothing seems normal right now, it's important that we bring something from our old normal into our new normal routines. Consistency can provide a sense of security and stability, not only for children but adults too. Having something to look forward to is important when so many things have changed so quickly in our lives. For our family, keeping the same "school time" schedules, family dinner, and wind-down routines has helped us. On the weekdays, we even get up and get ready as if we are going to school and work.

Mindfulness helps.

Being present and finding reasons to be grateful can help ground us in the midst of uncertainty. We have started a list of positive things we have observed during this pandemic. For instance, Sophia observed that more families in the neighborhood are now walking together. She also told me she loves that I'm home with her all day.

Another thing to try is to start a journal. Writing down things you're grateful for helps keep your mind focused on positive things as the negative fights for our attention.

Create community.

Human beings were made to be in a community – that's why social distancing is so difficult. While we have to be physically apart, it's important to stay connected with family or friends. There are ways to do that, you just have to get creative. Set up a time for your kids to have a live chat with their friends, participate in an online church service, check on your neighbors and see if they need anything, or write a letter to a family member. Who doesn't love getting something other than a bill in the mail?!

Laughter eases stress.

The pandemic, by no means, is a laughing matter. This is serious and we all should do our part by staying home and practicing social distancing. With that said, I believe laughter is good medicine. Finding ways to play and laugh with your family is a great way to manage stress. Our family loves to watch funny songs on YouTube, tell jokes, play games, and have fun contests. It helps bring some relief to the weight of the stress we each feel.

These are only a few examples of ways to find stress relief during this unprecedented time. You and your family may have discovered other successful strategies to help create a new normal. If so, be sure to share them with friends or family!

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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

About Adrianna and Ryan  Walden Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 14 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs. Both have enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for the past eight years. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy school-age child. The Walden's also lead a weekly community group through their church for married couples and their children.