One Family – Fighting COVID-19 Stress Impact

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It is a challenge for my husband and me right now more than ever since we have to stay at home, work from home, and we have five kids to handle simultaneously. We always wanted to have a big family, and we agreed that ours would be at least six kids. I am pregnant now, and our kids are all devilishly adorable. I mean that in a good way, sometimes. Hahaha! Kidding aside, the house is in constant disarray, but it is our home, our sanctuary. And as a family, we are learning to cope together during this most terrible time.

We update the current status of the pandemic. At this time, April 23, 2020, 9:04 am GMT, the death toll is 184,386 individuals all over the world. These are people of various races, colors, religions, and careers. Some are frontliners, while others are senior citizens and young ones. COVID-19 spares no one in its track – when you’re hit, you’re suffering the most painful disease you will ever experience in your entire life.

It is just too much. The confirmed cases of this pandemic have reached more than two million three hundred thousand. I see the same fate as Spanish flu here. Everything would be on lockdown and in quarantine. The economy would dwindle, and everyone would suffer financially. We are not a moneyed family, but we do get by since my husband and I work from home. We have worked from home for the past seven years, and we do it well. However, not being able to go out for stress-relief is such a struggle.

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We used to have an outdoor activity once a week. It could be a family outing with the kids and us together. Sometimes, we both had our own thing to do, and on some Saturdays, my husband and I do our thing together. But we go out. We go to the beach or set up camp. Sometimes, we go up the mountain or do a long-distance bike session and other things like that. Working from home can take a toll on your mental health. We needed a change of pace.

And so, at this time when no one can go out – what do we do for stress-relief?

We have set up a routine at home so that the kids will understand that when it is time for work, we have to work. The kids, on the other hand, have their activities too. We do it like this:

  • We wake at the same time each day like as if it was an ordinary day and that the kids would go to “school.” The big kids had online sessions, which was good for us – one activity that the kids can do while we are working. We all wake up and get to the kitchen at night. Breakfast is a must for all of us, and we eat together.
  • By 9, my husband goes to “work” in our workspace (yes, we have an office). I check on the online classes for the big kids. Thank God they all have their lappy and big-screen tablets. From 9 to 11, the big kids are in “school.” The small kids, I have to set them up each day with crafts and stuff to do. I prepare what they will be doing for the week every Sunday so that I don’t have to worry on a weekday.
  • We all eat lunch together. I cook around 12, and we eat at 1 pm. In the afternoon, the small kids take a short nap, from 2 to 3 pm. The big kids are tasked to complete three things in the afternoon, which their dad will check. Tasks include 30-minutes to one hour of book or e-book reading, 30 minutes exercise in our lawn or their rooms, and 30 minutes clean up in the house – each of the big kid has a territory to clean. The eldest also checks on the small ones for their playtime after the nap.
  • By night time, we finish our work at five, and all kids will be in the living room to watch TV. Sometimes, I stay with the kids and the hubby cooks, and vice versa. Then, we eat and talk. After dinner, when some of the kids want our time, we give it to them, but we cut everything by 9 pm. It is bedtime for the small ones, and the big kids are allowed up until 11. We have time for each other until midnight. And we rest.
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On Saturdays, it is a free day. We do yoga; anyone can join. Some kids play outside; we have a big lawn. And on Sundays, we stay in our rooms and do whatever we wanted. I think there is a balance.

This is how we cope with stress. We do not let the pandemic overwhelm us or destroy our moods. It is just so lucky of us that we still have work and that the kids are all healthy. We thank God every day for this.

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