The pandemic has affected everyone in some way and it’s nothing that current generations have ever experienced in their lifetime. Although I try to limit my news intake, when I do tune in, I see countless stories of those that have lost loved ones, those that are suffering with their health, those that are on the front line and those that have lost their jobs. Sheltering in place, social distancing, teaching students at home and working remotely have become the new normal.

As a photographer, I felt it was important to document this historic time through family pictures in the front of their homes and share hope in my blog. In a time where people are dealing with fear, anxiety and hopelessness, I hope this blog releases love, hope, and faith to help us endure and get through these times together.

Four Tips to Help Us Get Through These Times Together:

1.     Be Productive With Your Time

For the first time in a long time, my calendar is not jam packed. I have more time to spend with God and family, work on my photography business, take more online classes, and cook more healthy meals. This is allowing me to grow spiritually, professional and personally.

Tracy is a dear friend of mine and although we normally greet each other with a hug, we smiled ear to ear as we practiced social distancing. Tracy, mother of two amazing teenagers, told me the change in schedule has allowed her to be more productive as she has had the time to tackle household tasks and cook more meals.

“More time with one another, more time to make dinners together, more time to care for our home and more time to be playful with one another,” said Tracy. Through this crisis, Tracy mentioned her family has received the gift of time. 

Tracy's Family

Mandy, wife and mom to two sons, is grateful for the time as well. She said,

“I really am appreciating all the time we’re getting together.” During a normal week, her families’ schedule was pretty packed with the boy’s activities, but she emphasized this down time has brought them all closer.

The Fields

2.     Embrace Your “New Normal”

There are numerous stories of people working remotely, homeschooling children, and being home way more than anyone could imagine, but try to embrace this new normal with a schedule. Blocking out periods of time to manage certain tasks will help you see progress and feel productive as well as it will produce a routine, which children often need.

I’m still fortunate to work remotely and I was on a zoom call and my toddler decided that the moment I spoke she would try to talk over me. I apologized to all those on my video chat and my colleague and dear friend said do not apologize for your new normal but instead thank everyone for their patience as we all navigate these times. I appreciated that encouragement and stop apologizing for something I could not control.

Denise, mom of one, has learned to embrace the new normal. 

She said, “It (our new normal) has enabled us to be present in the moment with the most important people in your lives.”

Denise's Family

3.     Reach Out Consistently to Friends and Family

Lauren, wife and mom of two young kids, expresses how hard it has been on her and her husband to not see their parents. “Our parents live close and are very involved in our day to day lives, so to not be able to see them or hug them or have them around the kids has been really sad for everyone,” said Lauren.

Technology has allowed us to be with people while not physically being with them. Be intentional about connecting with loved ones over Facetime, Skype or Zoom. I video chat with my mom every morning during breakfast time. My daughter is getting accustomed to having breakfast with grandma (aka Big Momma) although we live on the West Coast and my mom lives on the East Coast.

Also, reach out with gratitude to our essential workers – our medical workers, grocery store workers, truck drivers, food delivery people, restaurant workers, janitorial staff, public transportation workers, bank workers and many more that are at the front lines trying to help us get through these times. Thank them for all they do.

Lauren who is serving on the front line as a registered nurse in the Bay Area, I thank you for helping our community.

Lauren's Family

4.     Exercise Your Body and Your Mind

During this time of sheltering in place, you can still exercise both your mind and body. I own a Fitbit (one of my favorite things!) and I make sure that I’m in at least one challenge (competition with other friends to see who gets the most steps every week). The challenges encourage me to move whether I’m walking/running in my neighborhood or participating in a HIIT workout on YouTube.

Exercising your mind means trying a new hobby, writing or journaling, starting (and finishing) a puzzle, or learning a new language.

Lauren said how important it was to go for walks with the kids and how they discovered really pretty trails. “The kids love exploring new areas and it really forces us to get out and breathe in the fresh air”, said Lauren.

Rose, wife and mom to 4, shared with me that before the pandemic they were used to going to the gym every day, which was their lifestyle and a place to socialize.

She said presently “(We have) incorporated a workout schedule while the baby naps and we have also taken many bike rides that we have been wanting to do but never made the time to do as a family.”

The Gonzales

I know things are hard but hopefully these tips will give you some hope and some ways to navigate these turbulent times.

 Please also consider doing the following to help us all get through these times:

1.     Donate money to your local food bank

2.     Give blood

3.     Pray for others

4.     Write an email or text of encouragement

5.     Bring groceries to your neighbors and leave it at their front door

Remain hopeful and I hope you enjoyed these family photos that I took of people sheltering in place! Thank you to all the families that participated!