All my 2020 goals feel like a joke to me right now. Reality is settling in. You and me? We’re not getting out of this strange new coronaworld anytime soon. And while many are talking about the boredom of quarantine, every parent I talk to feels like their workload has doubled. Parents are not bored, they are overwhelmed.

Hey, I’m feeling it too. When I sat down at the beginning of 2020 and made plans, those plans certainly didn’t include a worldwide pandemic, my college children moving home, my teens struggling with online schooling, navigating job losses, depression, and anxiety with family members, not to mention doubling (it feels like quadrupling) our usual food, laundry and general housework.

It’s a good time to simplify. Here’s what I’m working on for the rest of the year:

Be the best version of myself, so I can take better care of the people around me and handle whatever comes next.

That’s it. Honestly, I think that’s the goal I should have every year. Everything else is just fluff.

In my household of eight, I hold the role of offering unconditional love, support and optimism for the future. I’m the anchor. These are skills I usually excel at—but right now, in month four of coronavirus, with so much uncertainty in the world, my well of cheerfulness is running dry.

As a parenting coach and a health and wellness coach, I recognize in myself all the signs of serious burnout. If I want to not just survive, but thrive, through all the unpredictability of the next few months I MUST take better care of myself.

So, I’m writing the article I need to read. Six simple ideas, when implemented, to create order out of chaos:

  1. Scriptures, prayer and meditation take precedence over everything else. If you’re not feeding your soul, you’ll have nothing to give. Our hope is in Christ. You must find quiet time for yourself. One of my clients couldn’t find time to think until she pulled over into a golf course parking lot on the way home from work and spent two minutes just meditating and enjoying the quiet. Those two minutes made a tremendous difference in her mood. Wake up early, hide in your closet, sneak outside for a minute… If you’re not feeding your soul, you have nothing to give.
  2. Taking care of your health is more important than ever. You don’t know the challenges ahead, but you will be better able to meet them when you sleep, exercise, get outside, eat less sugar and more vegetables.
  3. Be honest with yourself.  Create a massive to-do list of all the tasks nagging at the back of your brain. Take a serious look at everything on my list and admit to yourself that most of it is garbage. Cross it off and forget about it. I call this ‘purposeful neglect’ and it will change your life. Repeat this process every Monday and free yourself from needless tasks and worries.
  4. Create a list of things to look forward to: picking raspberries in the garden, a cookout in the canyon, finally going on that hike. The outside world is full of uncertainty, but within your family you can still create joy, love, wonder and magic.
  5. Be extraordinarily kind to yourself. Write nice things about yourself on your bathroom mirror, “I am patient.”  “I am kind.” “I am a problem solver.” Read these out loud to yourself every day; multiple times a day if needed.
  6. Finally, tell your family if you’re struggling. You want to model positive mental health for your family and that means asking for help. You can still be an anchor and request extra support lines.

Let’s get real—for many of us, this is NOT the year to write that book, secure 100 new clients, or renovate the basement (though if you have, good for you!). If I can create a little joy in my home and in my heart, I’ll call it a rousing triumph.

I’ll figure this out; so will you. I’m cheering you on.