I took a much-needed Instagram break for the past few weeks, which came at just the right time as I watched this pandemic slowly spread across the country and globe. As millions of people have been quick to share their opinions on the internet, I have read, listened and observed as the epidemic crisis keeps unfolding into what seems like an even darker hole, another war on the horizon perhaps. As someone who struggles with anxiety, depression, ADHD and medical anxiety, it has, at times, felt like the world is ending. I do not want to diminish the impact of the virus in any way shape or form, but simply share my honest thoughts as we are all trying to process and go through this "new normal" together.
I finally had a breakdown, crying and wondering when this will all end. When will life be normal? What if I get COVID? What if I spread it to someone? What if I have to go to the hospital…by myself? What if I lose my job? What if a family member gets it? I have been disappointed by exciting plans that have been made and cancelled, as every person probably has by now. The new normal feels isolating and lonely, yet part of me is thankful for the rest. My desire to control my situation creeps up on me daily, fearing the unknown, the future and what the Lord has in store for the rest of the year. My word for 2020 is SLOW. No coincidence there. The Lord has taken away all of what we find to be convenient, comfortable and luxurious. We have been forced to put aside our selfish desires for a time and think about the health and needs of others.
While many of us, including myself, are frustrated, scared and anxious at times, we can choose to shift our perspective and focus on others & simply do the best we can. In this unprecedented time, a time in our generation that nobody could have foreseen, we can spend hours arguing politics, but what is that going to do/help? And while it may be a dark time for many, this is a time you can take care of you. This is a global health crisis, but we do not want it to become a mental-health crisis - which is what seems to be happening. Here are some resources if you are struggling or you know someone that might need immediate help:
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT LINE: 833-986-1919
**Confidential and FREE OF CHARGE**
I have seen many people posting working from home tips, sharing new at-home workouts & other ways to live your “best quarantine life,” but we have to be cautious. That in and of itself can put pressure on us, and while we are adjusting to a new normal, it is going to take time and patience. I want to urge you to take these expectations off yourself. While structure and having a routine are wonderful things, you could potentially set yourself up for failure and shame and right now is the time to be extra kind to your body, mind and others. Now is not the time to get in the best shape of your life, learn tons of new skills, or believe the lies that many are saying that is what you "SHOULD" be doing.
YOUR PRODUCTIVITY DOES NOT DEFINE YOUR WORTH.
Take away the should's and have-to's from you vocabulary. It is OK to NOT do those things. In fact, it might be a good idea to re-evaluate those words in your vocabulary going forward. I have been fortunate enough to see my therapist virtually on occasion, and this is something we are currently working on.
Right now has been a time of grief for so many. The loss of a loved one, job loss, cancelled plans, wedding, graduation, or just seeing family and friends. I believe instead of ignoring those emotions, we need to truly feel them and be still. Grief looks different for everyone. If you are someone who is thriving on a very busy home life right now, I applaud you! But, if you are someone who is just trying to make it through the day, be proud.
Please know you are not alone.
At first, I wanted to do ALL the things in quarantine life, but I realized that it is not the time for that, and I needed to give myself permission to have a more relaxed schedule. I do NOT need to beat myself up. I am choosing to be kind to myself and others because everyone needs more kindness. Self-care isn’t always based on our outward appearance, although many of those things are great! A lot of it is the work we do inside. These are a few things that have lifted my spirits on days when I am feeling anxious and depressed. No, I don’t do these every day and no I am not perfect at it either! 😊
1. Getting outside. I take my dogs on a walk, but it doesn’t have to be for exercise. Fresh air has been so good for me.
2. Limiting your news coverage/social media – Pay attention to what you pay attention to! This only fuels your anxiety, thoughts & feelings. If it is not uplifting, this will drasticaly change your mood. Fill your mind with positive things as best you can while staying informed. Even social media! Try to set a timer for a maximum of 10 minutes.
3. Journaling – This is something new I am starting. Writing down all of my feelings and letting myself actually feel them. Then also sharing gratitude followed by prayer.
4. Podcasts/Speakers – Jennie Simmons podcasts, anything with Brene Brown (I also need to order her book!), and other Christian podcasts/sermons. This has helped me keep things in perspective while trusting the source of who I am listening to.
5. Working Out - **NOT a MUST!** I have been working out during the week at home with The Barre Code, but I know not everyone has that luxury, or even the motivation. I sign up for a class and just having that accountability helps me tremendously.
6. My Faith - I know the Lord holds the future and ultimately, He is in control, NOT me. He is my refuge and strength and before I look to the media, politicians or anyone else on this earth, I need to look to Him to guide my thoughts and actions. He is who I put my trust in and it is that assurance of my salvation of which brings me peace.
There is some positive that is coming out of this and many things I am looking forward to, simple things that I have taken for granted. I cannot wait to hug my family, GO to work, see my friends and co-workers. We are designed for human connection and interaction! So how are you doing? Honestly? I challenge you to take it one day at a time. Celebrate the wins, EVERY SINGLE ONE. The tiny ones! Having a hard day? Face time a family member or friend. Reach out. Be kind to yourself. This is all temporary! Check on your friends during this time and do what you can to love and support them, because at the end of the day, THAT is what truly matters.
Stay Healthy, Love to you ALL!