pandemic winter - Boston Moms

Unless you’re our family dog, you’re probably not embracing the winter of 2020/2021. As COVID cases continue to rise in various cities across the U.S. and now Massachusetts, we wonder how much longer our state will remain “open.” News of various cities’ phase reversals creeps up on the Google search more and more these days.

To be honest, I’m in the camp of people who haven’t done much since March. I had a young baby at the start of COVID, and the demographic I work with is high-risk. When things started looking up last summer, however, it was nice to take our boys to parks or a quick trip to the store without being shunned. But now that we’re in the thick of winter and it’s 7 p.m. for about three hours straight each evening, we’re going to have to think differently about our coping tools. (Well, I’ve been thinking differently about my personal coping tools, and I hope it will spark some ideas for your winter pandemic routine!)

We walk and walk and walk. (And then we dance.)

Taking walks with my boys has been a significant highlight in the last eight months. My 2-year-old son Lucas loves running around the city, pretending to be various superheroes, and examining every crack in the sidewalk for bugs. I won’t be trying to tame his curiosity this winter, so we still go on weekly (if there’s not a blizzard) walks.

And on the days we can’t walk, we dance! We dance before naps instead of taking a walk after lunch. Then after lunch, instead of examining bugs in the cracks, we draw the fantastic made-up animals from shows or pretend to be the Hulk and Spider-Man.

We try new workouts and bake bread.

In February, my husband bought his first kettlebell. Little did we know, that impulse buy would carry us through almost a solid year of home workouts. We’ve added a few kettlebells and club bells since, and it’s been great to lift some weights to help pull us through the tougher moments of this year. It felt good to have somewhere to get out the energy that I’d normally expend out and about throughout the week. As great as that has been, I could use a good stretch, so that’s what I’m building in this winter.

We’ve also been baking. My yeast allergy doesn’t allow me to eat the bread, but I’ve had my fair share of cornbread and biscuits this quarantine. So this winter I’ll be intentionally putting more vegetables in our diet.

We Zoom chat and spend a lot of time on social media.

We’ll keep Zooming and FaceTiming and doing what is necessary to stay close to those we love! I hold no judgment for those who travel to see loved ones or have pod meetups or just want to be with their people. I miss all of mine and can’t wait to see old friends and maybe even meet some new ones.

My love for internet games has been reignited — Words with Friends? Uno? Checkers? These can all be played online and in real-time! I’ve also taken up regular phone calls because it’s easier than trying to make sure the front-facing camera is on me while I chase the kids.

Much of what we’ve done since March has worked, so I’m content to stick with the good stuff while also leaning into other positive choices (you know, like the vegetables). Some of the hardness of this season is the monotony — feeling like we’re not doing enough in a season that requires restraint. If you’re sticking to what’s worked because you’ve thrived or survived — perfect! But if you needed some encouragement that your new but not super exciting activities are great, this is it — and I’m right there with you.

Dashanna Hanlon
Dashanna was born in Michigan and raised between there and Virginia. She moved to Massachusetts in 2011 after getting a bachelor’s degree in English and gender studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She married her favorite Massachusetts native (Tom) seven years ago. Together they have two sons, Lucas and Isaiah, born in 2018 and 2019. Becoming a parent ignited a passion for supporting others, and Dashanna became a doula before the birth of her second son. She is now the owner of Caring for Mamas, working with families all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She loves fresh-squeezed lemonade, good music, and helping and supporting families.