Well, Californians are mulling through our first six weeks of minimalizing our exposures as a united front! Our report card grades in California are looking good, though there’s always room for improvement, so let’s continue to keep with the oath of being an indivisible nation and combat this pandemic with all we’ve got!

Many thanks to all the members of our COIS family for diligently working to keep safe, while ensuring the health and safety of the people we support on a 24 hour a day basis. I am always in awe of people and their never-ending care, concern, and genuine commitment. I should expect nothing less because I know we work with the best.

So, since we are in this thing together, I want to pass along some things that I have found useful in keeping my family together in peace, while minimizing the anxiety that may come with isolation and fear of ourselves or loved ones becoming ill. This is especially important as we learn of losses each day.

I would like to discuss this within the realm of UPS.  No, not as in the delivery service, but as in maintaining a positive mood and emotional wellbeing, the UPS versus the downs. During this pandemic, it is essential for us to keep our balance and be supportive of one another. Here are some ways you can show support:

Let’s all be sure to pull ourselves UP, while realizing that many of us will feel grief and mourn the life that we have been accustomed to. We must remember that this is temporary, and it is an opportunity to slow down and turn into ourselves for personal development.

Let’s wake UP every morning with some goal in mind. It is essential to have a routine to help us start, glide through, and end the day, while reflecting on our appreciation for life and the opportunities we are graced with. I like to ask myself this question that I stole from a Janet Jackson song, “What Have You Done for Me Lately?” Except I change the words to ask, “What have I done for myself lately?” At the end of my day, I reflect on what I did for myself that day. If I cannot think of anything, then I know I need to develop a goal to do something for myself the following day. I encourage you to treat yourself to the little sweet things in life every day. We are deserving of this and a pandemic shouldn’t get in the way of our self-development, self-appreciation, and positive self-esteem.

Let’s start each day with accomplishments by cleaning UP.  Making our beds, indulging in a refreshing shower or better yet, a pampering bubble bath, can be quick fix to feeling good and successful. Daily, we can build the positive habit of cleaning our personal space. For example, straightening that closet that you’ve been meaning to get to before you’re knocked out by overhead storage can be soothing. Spring cleaning a bit at a time or redecorating your space for comfort through this temporary new lifestyle can be satisfying. Adapt your home for around-the-clock usage. Share daily chores and tasks if you live with others. Instead of giving out assignments, ask your housemates to adopt a bathroom or adopt a kitchen clean up night. Taking ownership of an area can cement the achievement.

With my family, when there are home duties, I hate sounding like a broken record, so I write down household chores on tongue depressors or wooden fan handles and we randomly draw a routine of tasks for the week. It is so much less annoying for all of us, which cuts down on the potential for aggravation. This really works in that there is physical reminder of duties that reduces prompt dependency and keeps verbal nagging at a minimum. Each household member has a clear understanding of responsibilities at home. You can also use photos as visual cues and reminders of expectations.

Take UP a new hobby! Perhaps something you have been putting off for years. Now is the time!!! Explore, research, and just do it!

Shape UP! I don’t know about you, but I am going to blame COVID-19 for these extra pounds I have gained from all of the home cooking, working from the kitchen table, and a refrigerator that seems to know me by my first name. Exercise is essential and this is a great time to test our strength. We are so fortunate to live in beautiful southern California. So walks, biking, jogging, backyard yoga, streaming exercise classes, challenge applications on our phone, getting our steps in, dancing… Whatever it is you like, incorporate it into a daily fitness regiment for balance, health, and overall well-being.

Create a meditation spot just for you, whether it is inside or outside. Light a candle and some incense, soak your feet, read to others aloud, or dance like there is no one watching. Whatever keeps your boat afloat during these times.

Spark it UP!  Have ever wanted to try a new look? Maybe it’s a funky hair style, new hair coloring, a homemade can’t-wait-to-go-to-a-restaurant-outfit, or “the bomb” face mask. Make jewelry, bling out your tennis shoes, create your own glamour photoshoot, or plan a family variety show challenge night. Have a Mardi Gras masquerade or even think up a theme Zoom or Facetime challenge with friends and family.

Keep your head UP! Life has certainly changed and living within close proximity to others for so many hours a day can present challenges. But we can all do our best to start out each day with the idea that we can create a “win” situation for ourselves. We can each do our best to contribute to a winning day for each person we live with. By doing so, harmony and peace may just become the typical rhythm and heartbeat of the home.

Thank you all for what you do in creating win-win UP situations in each of your family homes, which leads to the peace and harmony of all who dwell there.

Sending love, peace, and light your way.

Ingrid Rushing



Photo by Mabel Amber from Pexels