Well this is something, isn’t it? Just 5 months ago, we could not have imagined this new reality. Yet here we are, and regardless of where you live in the WORLD, we are all dealing with life during a Covid-19 pandemic. I don’t plan on focusing too much on the pandemic in this post, but instead the feelings connected to it. But I do want to say this. My social media feed is full of health care workers, like myself, PLEADING for everyone else (ie: non-essential workers) to stay home. We see where this is going, and now is not the time to play invincible. I live in NYC which has now been named the epicenter of the pandemic and nothing is more disheartening than reading about folks, disregarding the advice of medical professionals. That’s all I’ll say about that.
The act of social distancing alone is saving lives. So now is not the time for beating yourselves up. When the self-quarantines started to hit the states, I saw many folks all over social media putting up schedules of how they planned to organize themselves and their kids while social distancing. I remembering thinking, “Uh-oh that’s a lot to live up to…” This was immediately followed by posts (one day later) from parents stating that teachers needed to make 1 million dollars a year! I totally agree but also, expectations were set WAYYY too high. Whatever they were feeling (anxiety, sadness, fear) their kids no doubt picked up on it too. So if you are finding home-schooling hard, remember this is super bizarro for them too. They aren’t with their teachers or classmates, and also remember kids don’t have life perspective like us. We understand that eventually the pandemic will be over. But perspective is a gift of adulthood. We’ve experienced bad things coming and then eventually going. We’ve also learned bad things can happen right along side good things. These are invaluable lessons for kids. Geometry has its place (but really, does it???) but so does flexibility and resiliency.
This is our new normal, and if you weren’t a work at home-r already, this adjustment can be tough. For the first week or two (or 3 or 4), I suggest we throw expectations out the door. This is an adjustment period. An anxiety-ridden adjustment period. If you are frustrated because your creativity/productivity is not flowing, don’t be! I had to quarantine for a cough (I have asthma but had to be tested anyway, I tested negative). But during those days off I pictured myself blogging daily, finishing a couple of podcast episodes, organizing our apartment etc. None of that happened. I was worried about the results, I was worried about my co-workers still in the trenches, I was worried about everyone I know around the world. I was WORRIED. And for me, creative juices don’t exactly flow during those times. I did manage to cook, which for me is an accomplishment. I also managed to get in touch with friends and check in, which is something I often don’t (sadly) have loads of time or energy for. So instead of focusing on what I wasn’t able to do, I began curious and fascinated by what I did have the energy for.
Also remember that social media is a double edged sword. When all the videos of Italians singing together from their balconies went viral, I saw one which made me snort laugh. One lady took out her recorder to play some music for her neighbors and her husband came out and starting yelling at her to stop playing and they got in a huge fight in front of everyone. It ended with her hitting him with the recorder. If you have moments where you feel like that, or feel stir crazy, or not so loving, this is NORMAL. Don’t practice violence especially with musical instruments, you may need those later. But instead, try channeling that pent up energy and anxiety in other ways.
Exercise! I do not enjoy doing yoga, but I do it anyway. Because at the end of each session, I never regret it. I usually contemplate stopping the YouTube video (yoga with Adriene is my recommendation) a minimum of 15 times and just calling it. I’ll admit to even calling the sweet yoga teacher names mid-video, and yet at the end of it all I feel GOOD. For those of you who suffer with anxiety or depression, I cannot stress this enough. Exercising a minimum of 20 minutes a day, does soooo much good for you. It gets the blood flowing again, gives you an uptake in serotonin, and makes you feel more grounded. Don’t overthink it, just do it. It also doesn’t have to be yoga, put on some tunes that you can’t help but dance to and MOVE.
And lastly to my fellow essential workers, now is not the time to put yourself last. When I got sent home due to a cough last week, I felt like I was letting my team down. But my amazing team reminded me of the vital importance of self-care in times like these. They needed me healthy. They needed me to set an example that if you are sick, you need to go home. I could have infected others with my self-importance. And so I was humbled and stayed home. This Monday I go back to work, ready to work for the next round of this pandemic. Many formerly retired medical professionals are volunteering to go back to work and so I encourage all of us to be smart through this process. Listen to you bodies, be examples to others, and whenever you can REST.
Much love everyone.
Take care of YOU.