Pivoting in the Pandemic as a Family

It’s the last month of 2020 and it’s happened again. A few setbacks and we are pivoting in the pandemic once again. We have been hearing about pivoting since March. Businesses have always shifted to new strategies to improve but probably not at the current rate.

Looking back on the past 9 months

pivoting in the pandemicOnce the announcement hit the news, businesses began working on plans for employees to work from home. Not everyone was that lucky. For those that work a lot with the public and are in an at-risk category, there aren’t a lot of options.

The kids came home to join classes online. I couldn’t imagine how things would be different if I was an essential worker or we had real little ones. Childcare and education challenges are even greater especially for those families.

The government and community organizations have done their best to step in with stimulus payments, food boxes, and support. Yes there were still issues and setbacks. It’s hard to be perfect in the pandemic. Though it can be sad and painful to watch, we keep our eye on the news so we are aware of laws and policy changes… We reflect and are grateful for all we do have. We are resilient and need to find ways to make it work because we have to.

Yes, there are those we have lost, but the rest of us are still here and need to thrive. We need to make the best out of the situation we are in.

We are always pivoting

Whether you realize it or not, you have pivoted in your life… it may have been called something else, but this is the word for the year. Your entire life is a journey of setbacks, pivots, side steps, obstacles and hurdles.

How will you push through?

When you found you couldn’t do something, you had to see what you have to work with then think of a work-around or solution. Sometimes it’s not that easy. Life can be messy especially when everything’s happening all at once and time is of the essence. I chose not to wait until the crisis blows over but to take action now.

Embrace your emotions

Don’t repress or hide your feelings. I’ve done that way too much in my life. I’ve eaten junk food to cheer myself up and have tried to deny the failure (“I didn’t really want that anyway…”) neither makes me feel better afterwards. Self-sabotage serves no one. It just zaps your energy.

There’s one thing that I’ve been working on diligently through the pandemic. I protect my mindset with daily affirmations or mantras and find something to be grateful for each and every day. A positive outlook can undo the damages from stress. When you need a little extra boost, try some of these…

Healthy coping skills:
  • call a friend
  • meditative moments with deep breathing
  • take a relaxing bath
  • go for a walk
  • get in a good workout to release frustrations (I love my Turbo Jam!)
  • find a support group
    • get advice
    • find someone you can to vent to
    • surround yourself with upbeat people
    • your support system should be honest yet positive and never toxic

Figure out what’s most important

With gratitude, we know what’s most valuable to us. For me it’s a safe place for us covering our non-negotiable physiological needs. It starts with the Four Walls in this order:

  1. Food
  2. Utilities
  3. Shelter
  4. Transportation

We also include insurance and medical expenses. For many this will also include daycare. These should only be the needs and not the wants. We don’t need to cut all the way down to the bone, but this list should be realistic. This will help to refocus on what matters and give you a clearer picture of the situation making pivoting easier.

Reduce your spending

I know this sounds easier said than done. You might not be ready to let go of that fancy coffee or your Netflix binges if they’re what helps you unwind, but there’s always a way if you’re willing to try something new. Start with a few small swaps. Get creative and  start thinking more frugally.

Chelsea from Smart Money Mamas uses a great frugal thought process where you ask yourself…

  • Do I need it?
    • Can I make it?
      • Can I borrow it?
        • Can I get it used?
          • If no to all of these… then buy it!

We ended up cooking from home and cutting out movies and eating out, not too hard during the pandemic. We also pick up food boxes from the school. Who knew what savory dishes could be made from cafeteria food? We stopped the gym memberships, buy generic or store brands, and have actually cut out a lot of disposables. No more paper towels, plastic wrap, tin foil, and baggies. I found some great reusable substitutes, frugal and helps the earth! Clothing is patched, mended and upcycled when possible or it gets reused into rags for cleaning.

I’ve been making and repairing things we need as they come up… trying to find free materials like some old pallets or an old cabinet tossed out. Some things we had to buy like when a power surge in the building fried some of our technology. Computers are extra important for work and school these days! I also decided to go for the extended warranties this time since they cover power surges… just for my peace of mind.

Have a plan moving forward

We need to acknowledge the change for this unprecedented time. We have no idea how long this will last, but it might just be the “new normal.” We need to plan ahead so we can move forward, the sooner the better.

Over the past few months, we had to face the reality that Hubby will probably not go back to his old job. Keeping everyone safe is our priority and it’s just not feasible. He’s been taking a class online to try and get a different online job. I’ve been trying to get back to my creative roots with our Etsy store. When we do make purchases, I try and get rebates or cashback from our credit cards or websites like TopCashback, Swagbucks, and iBotta. Anything we don’t need anymore is getting sold. Every dollar counts!

We set our goals, even if it’s only for 90 days or even just a month. We make our goals small, tiny, and attainable. We focus on the one thing that will make all other things possible to create a domino effect. I check in with the Motivated Mama Society to help me stay accountable. We report in weekly, share our aspirations, challenges and wins.

I have checklists to keep me focused and on task so I can stay busy and keep my mind off of all the things happening around us. I love that feeling of accomplishment when I check things off. It motivates me to keep going and create more challenging goals.

Accept failure when necessary

Sometimes we just need to come to terms with what’s happened and look for explanations, not excuses. No shame, no blame. Identify the reason for the failure or setback. learn from it and discover what you would do differently next time. You know how they always say to learn from other’s mistakes? There are numerous stories of famous failures that you can look up and read about! Understand that success and failure are like the two sides of a coin. You have to be able to accept failure when it happens. What’s the worst case scenario? Can I handle the failure? If it’s a looming bill, call the creditor and talk to them. Find out what they can do. Kindness comes when you admit defeat. You may not win, but you just have to dust yourself off and keep trying.

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