Sunshine Parenting, Audrey Monke

Show Notes

My family’s favorite word to use is ‘unprecedented,’ because everything is unprecedented this year. We try to use the word as much as possible.

Hi Friends,

How are you doing? I mean, how are you really doing?

Many of us – kids and adults alike – are really struggling right now – physically, emotionally, and financially. So much is uncertain, and much has been lost. This pandemic has been devastating. This week (July 2 to be exact) is the mid-point of 2020. What a year this has been. It’s nothing like I thought it would look and, for many of us (including me), my life has been turned upside down.

I invite you to step back for a few minutes this week and check in with how you’re doing in these areas:

• Health
• Relationships
• Work

If you decide to join me (and my family, who I’m also having complete the check-in), I’d love to hear any insights you come up with about changes you’re going to make for the second half of 2020.

Audrey Monke, Sunshine Parenting

July 1, 2020

In this episode, I talk about my own check-in and the activities I’m finding helpful for my own and my family’s well-being.

It’s normal (and human nature) for us to dwell on all the things that have been lost or cancelled this year, but focusing only on all the negatives of this year is not good for our well-being.

The lack of ability to plan is hard for many of us. I love my planner and my lists which, this year, have become useless. For my own (and my family’s) well-being, I’m choosing to focus on being present and creating habits that improve my well-being and the well-being of my family in the areas of health, relationships, and work.

I invite you to join me in looking at what to continue doing, stop (or reduce) doing, or start doing to make the second half of 2020, regardless of what the rest of this year brings, as good as possible.

Thank you for being here! I’m rooting for you and your family to come out of this trial of COVID feeling stronger and more focused on what’s really important.


How are you doing?
A Mid-Year Check-In


How are you feeling physically and is there anything you want to change/adjust for the remainder of 2020 that would make you feel better physically?

Areas to look at:

• Sleep – Are you getting enough? Are your kids?

• Exercise – Do you get at least a walk in every day?

• Eating – Are you drinking enough water? Eating whole foods like fruit vegetables?

I’ve always enjoyed exercising, including running, hiking, and my brand-new favorite exercise, indoor cycling on my Peloton. This summer, I’ve been going on one or two hikes a week and getting on the indoor cycle 3-4 times a week. I’ve decided that I don’t have any excuse this year (since I don’t have my camp job this summer) not to exercise, so I do at least a little exercise every day. A few evenings a week, we take a family walk after it’s started to cool down, around sunset. Those walks and talks have been a highlight of my COVID days.


I’ve never been able to be consistent about yoga or stretching (It’s hard for me to take the time, have the patience), but I’ve managed to consistently do a quick 6-minute post exercise routine that’s been working for me that includes:
Cat/Cow (1 minute)
Downward Dog (1 minute)
Plank (1 minute)
Then I repeat the whole cycle one more time. I’m done in 5-6 minutes and I’ve had fewer back and shoulder pains since I started.

How is your mental/spiritual health during this trial?

Many of us are carrying a lot of extra stress and anxiety this year due to the loss and uncertainty COVID has caused. While there is much we can’t control, there are a few things that I’m finding helpful to manage my stress.

What’s working for me:

• Practice Presence

Spending less time worrying about the past and what’s going to happen in the future, and practicing more presence, being in the moment, seems to be just about our only option right now, so we may as well embrace it.

Corrie Ten Boom Worrying Quote

• Keep a Consistent Morning Routine

Until this year, I’ve been inconsistent about following a morning routine, but I’m finding that it’s been helpful to have some part of my day – and my life – that is staying consistent despite the chaos. Here are my morning tasks (in order, most done while drinking coffee) which usually take me between 30 minutes and one hour:

Bible Reading: I’m using the Bible Recap plan to read through the Bible this year.

Gratitude Journal

Text or note to a friend or family member


I filmed a short video about my morning routine earlier this week:


View this post on Instagram


One Simple Thing: A morning routine can help your – and your kids’ – well being.

A post shared by Audrey Monke (@sunshine.parenting) on Jun 27, 2020 at 7:04pm PDT

• Create a day of rest or “Sabbath”

Ask family members, “What’s restful for you?” and make sure you set aside some time to do those restful activities, at least once per week but preferably more often.

Create a ritual or tradition to “kick off” your day of rest.

Benefits of a day of rest (from A Day of Rest, 12 Scientific Reasons Why it Works,

• Reduces stress

• Gives you a chance to move

• Reduces inflammation and the risk of heart disease

• Boosts your immune system

• Improves sleep

• Adds years to your life

• Restores mental energy

• Increases creativity

• Increases productivity

• Improves focus

• Improves short-term memory

• Can help you love your job again


How are you doing with relationships?

We know that positive relationships are the best predictor of our health and happiness, so it’s important – especially now – that we focus on our relationships with our family and friends.

Family Dinner

Audrey Monke, Sunshine ParentingSharing

Family Dinner

Arthur Aron’s 36 questions to get closer to someone you love

Questions for Connection

Practice active listening/giving people our full attention 

Practice empathy

“It’s so important in all of our relationships we are careful not to step on other people’s feelings.”

“When someone is sharing something we us, we validate that we hear what they’re saying.”

“When you feel heard, it’s a really good feeling.”


How are you learning and growing in the area of your “work”?

Your “work” is whatever you spend your time doing – whether that be in a job, care giving, or volunteering. Your work is how you fulfill your purpose, how you get meaning in your life.

Whether or not you have your dream job, you can always think about learning and growing to give your life more meaning.

Consider crafting your own “syllabus” for the remainder of 2020 to cover a topic you’d like to learn more about or a skill you’d like to improve on. You could sign up for an actual online course, or you can create your own syllabus with books, podcasts, documentaries, etc. and have your own customized plan to grow and learn over the next six months – and beyond!


USA Today article: No camp for kids this summer? How to entertain your children while you work from home

Follow me on Instagram


Calm App

Differently Wired, by Debbie Reber

The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod

The Bible Recap – Daily Bible reading plan (I access the reading plan through the Bible App).

The Bible Project – Animated videos explaining each book of the Bible.

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark Comer

Before Breakfast Podcast Episode – Craft a Syllabus

Anti-Racism Resources:

There have been many resources shared recently with anti-racism resources. I listed several of my favorite resources (so far) here: Special Message: Listening and Learning How to be Anti-Racist

Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources

Parenting Resources:

Parenting in Place Masterclass Series (Summer, 2020)

Happy Campers 9-Week Read Along

Do your own Mid-Year Check-In!