What to Do During the Polar Vortex: A Domestic Choose Your Own Adventure

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This week much of the US has dipped to subzero temps, and the attendant office and school closings find many of us at home, wrenched from our weekday routines, and stuck inside. Depending on your living situation and your job, this could mean a fun day at home or an exceptionally challenging work situation. Here are some different scenarios and how to make the most of them.

If you are home alone and your office is closed for the day...

Lucky you! Borrow a page from The January Cure and dive right in. Tackle the coat closet, box up donations, or clear out your medicine cabinet. If you need a reboot, get the benefits of a two week vacation in one day, or hunker down with a book, a movie, or your pillow with some tried and true ways to enjoy your home.

If your office is closed but you need to work from home...

Spend some time optimizing your setup, especially if you never work from home. Get onto your VPN, and set up shop at home. If you don't routinely work from home take a few minutes to figure out the best way to stay checked in with colleagues, whether it's by instant message, text, group chat, or phone, and download any necessary apps. Check out these sanity-saving tips for working from home.

If you are soloing at home with kids and need a fun activity...

Make something out of cardboard, build a fort, or make some kind of DIY play goop. The very best activities for this kind of day get kids involved in the preparation process as well as the actual play. Balance crafty activities with some gross motor play to work out squirrelly energy. Have a dance party or pile up pillows for some crashing.

If you and your partner are at home with kids and you both have work obligations...

This can be hard. Communicate well, set expectations, and remember that this is a short-term situation. If one of you has a hard deadline then get that squared away, then define a turn-taking schedule for the day, with the understanding that one or both of you may need to wrap things up after the kids are down for the night. Anticipate challenges like dealing with noise, and do your best to get things done with the kids at home. You might need to lighten up on screen time restrictions and stream some shows or movies.

(Image credits: Leah Moss)

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