Learning Without Borders

As the reality of COVID-19 changes our world, I’ve received so many emails, texts, and calls about how to cope. My mantra has been: Stay safe, stay healthy and stay sane.

Stay safe

  • Unless you are in an essential job, stay in your bubble! Adhere to your area’s guidelines for social distance and quarantine.  
  • Wash your hands. And then wash them again, as often as needed.
  • It is important to use our critical thinking. There is a lot of information out there—some good and some not so reliable.  Don’t allow others to downplay how serious this is.
  • Look to the helpers. There are people who have been dealing with pandemics for a long time, like Dr. Larry Brilliant: https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-interview-larry-brilliant-smallpox-epidemiologist/
  • Don’t forget about emotional safety. We all need to feel safe in our homes. 

Stay healthy

  • This is challenging time and worry can take a toll on our immune system. It bears repeating that part of staying healthy is honoring the guidelines for social distancing and hand washing. 
  • Often during stressful times, we crave our comfort foods. Collaborate with your family to create a healthy comfort food menu that takes into account everyone’s needs.
  • Get adequate sleep.  With teens and kids, it can be a time to honor some of the natural biorhythms and give them a chance to sleep in more than is usual.
  • Get everyone moving a bit — any kind of exercise is good. Depending upon where you live, hopefully, take some time in nature and sunshine.
  • If you notice the COVID-19 symptoms, contact your local health care provider and get tested. The earlier you do, the more likely is your recovery and that of those who are in your bubble.
  • Remember to factor self-care into your day. Get outside for a walk, pray, meditate, listen to music or even get a cup of tea and sit on a bench for 15 minutes. If you can’t get 15 minutes, grab 3-4 minutes when you can. 

Stay sane

  • This is much more personal. It really requires us to look inside ourselves and be honest about what we need to stay sane.
  • Connect with those people in your bubble and find out what each of them needs. Collaborate to find ways to help each other.
  • If you or a family member is missing social interaction, look into some of the online videoconferencing platforms such as Skype, Zoom, Marco Polo. These are great ways to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. 
  • If your children have been in a conventional school and are now unexpectedly home learning, it is important to not do “school at home.” The rigid scheduling that schools use is to move large numbers of children around in a confined space. Work together to make sense of what and when that learning happens.
  • Stay connected to your child or children. Be willing to listen and hear their feelings. Read with them, play with them, ask them what they would like to do with this unexpected downtime.
  • Even if you’ve been home learning for many years, being quarantined makes it all feel different. Consciously look for the strengths in each other and have grace for some of the idiosyncrasies we all have.
  • If you can, create a practice of gratitude. It can be as simple as “I’m grateful that the sun is shining” or that “I’m able to put one foot in front of the other and keep going…”
  • Have compassion for ourselves and others because if we all pull together we can come through this challenging time. 

So, what does safe, healthy and sane look like for you and your family?

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