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Mr. Brightside

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

Happy beautiful Sunday everyone! I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful weekend, and staying calm. There’s a lot of news, a lot of change, and the opportunity to feel overwhelmed. There is also always a way to view both sides of a coin. And today I thought I’d write a little about the Brightside. It’s not just a lyric by The Killers!

Social media can be an amazing tool. It can also push us towards feeling consumed with a barrage of news and updates if we allow it. This can easily lead to overwhelm. Which can be a natural flow, but one we need to work to prevent. In another time, our news flow would be controlled just by less accessibility. A morning paper, and several daily newscasts. Can we control this now so we don’t end up feeling we’re drinking from a firehose? Yes, yes we can. Set the times of day you will access news sources or updates.

First for me, is to acknowledge this pandemic is real. And trust Leaders are doing what they feel is best to approach this as a public heath issue. Choose your sources of information wisely. Refer to trusted sources and try to avoid and prevent rumors. ‘Uncle Larry’ posting random stats may not be the place to refer.  Try the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, or accredited medical institutions like Harvard. Digest information for the knowledge, but don’t dwell or obsess on this information. And again, try not to obsessively scroll.

Knowledge then allows for awareness. Plan, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and decide what’s best for you, for your family, friends, loved ones, neighbors and community. We all have someone in our families, or know someone in a high-risk group. Do what you can to enhance your ability to stay healthy, and support the health of others.

Our local schools are closed, and learning will continue online for all of our kids. We cover college, high school and elementary school ages. So we’ll experience this at almost every level. Be patient and provide support for the teachers and your students as they transition online. This won’t be easy for the teachers or the kids. With our 4th grader, we first will need to understand the tools and how the curriculum will be applied. Then we’re going to work with her to develop a daily schedule. She’ll play an active role in her day, and times she works through lessons. Don’t forget to allow opportunities for outdoor play- recess if it’s accessible!

You may be working from home. If this is new to you, plan out your days as well. If it’s not new, update your plans to include changes in your children’s schedules. Try not to sit in front of your screen all day. Set times to get up and stretch. Take lunches away from your screen. Just because your pantry is there, don’t over snack. Get outside and walk, and make exercise challenges to break up your day. And if taking more conference calls with online tools, test your video connection. You may not want it to default to video on (every day is pajama day? 😀), or try to add video to your calls if you haven’t used it before. Seeing, not just speaking with your friends and co-workers makes a huge difference.

And we are blessed to live in a time with access to amazing technology. So even with your kids, support their ability to virtually communicate with their teachers, classmates and friends. One of the biggest things concerning our daughter is saying goodbye to her teacher if they continue online for the rest of the year. FaceTime or tools like Zoom will be incredible assets to leverage. And plan for extra video chats with family, friends, and people in high risk groups. Help them and yourselves feel less isolated.

Once settled with your plan, move onto things we might do to help friends and neighbors. Do you know someone who cannot get out and shop for their own groceries? Maybe coordinate helping get their shopping done. Do you know someone who you would normally visit but can’t for the meantime? Seniors who cannot get out?. Do you know someone who is in a high risk group? Do you know someone who is typically anxious or depressed? Recovering from an illness or addiction? Try to set aside extra time to check in and support them too. This is where the beauty of FaceTime can be a major assist.

Always findyour fun. Don’t get caught with too much screen time, but definitely set up movie time. Make it an event with popcorn and candy at home. Start a family book club. Read a book and watch the movie based on the book. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is a new one that’s awesome for tweens. Create art projects as a friendly competition within your family, and even add in friends. Create giving projects, donate to your local food bank. And remember to try to let the kids own reasonable choices and schedules. It’s an easy way to give them a sense of ownership and control right now.

And if all that happens is, we've bought less stuff, connected with our families and friends on a new level, and deepened or renewed our sense of community and humanity; well that’s a pretty bright side, and I’ll take it. Sending love, light and laughter ❤️🙏

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