Navigating Feelings During This Strange Season

How are you doing during this strange COVID-19 chapter in our world’s history?

(No, really — how are you doing?)

I know for me, it’s hard to think about much else.

Over the weekend, I felt pretty paralyzed by it all, which was especially uncomfortable because I tend to be someone who can put a positive spin on things and start to take steps to fix a problem. This problem, though? It doesn’t come with a guide book — or a timeline. How can we fix this one?

After talking through those feelings with Kevin and a few friends, I was able to come out of that state of emotional incapacitation a bit and think about things we CAN do right now:

We can participate in social distancing and isolate ourselves. Our family absolutely views this as patriotic, and believe it’s the right thing to do for anyone who is able to right now. We’re feeling extra lucky to both have flexible work right now.

We can embrace this as a special time for our family. There are SO MANY UNKNOWNS about this whole situation. (How bad will it get? How long will it last? Will people we know and love get sick? How sick will they get? What will the economic implications of this be?) But instead of spending too much time going down that rabbit hole, Kevin and I are choosing to make this as positive as possible. After all, if I’m going to have to be stuck somewhere for, well, who knows how long, there’s no place I’d rather be than in my home (which I adore) with my two favorite humans. We want to take this time to be extra present with one another and do some special things as a family.

We can establish a “new normal” routine. Again, we aren’t sure how long this will be our reality, but what I DO know is I don’t do well when my life is completely devoid of a routine for a days-long (or weeks-long) stretch. I don’t have to make things completely regimented, but I’m going to be sure I do things like make my bed, get myself ready, move in some form, drink enough water, and eat well daily. Those are all things that make me feel my best! And now that Maggie’s home, too, we’re also working to develop a routine for her that involves some TV but not too much along with other activities to keep her learning and engaged — and having fun! (Movement, time outside each day, lots of books, and giving her more household responsibilities to help her know she’s an important family member are all on the list.)

We can focus on virtual connection. I’m always thankful to have tools like Instagram, Facebook, email, FaceTime, texting, etc. as ways to stay connected to my community, but now I’m more thankful than EVER for these resources. We’ve been FaceTiming with my sister and her kids. Today we used Facebook Messenger to have a virtual story time with friends. Pure Barre is going to be using Zoom to live stream classes. Let’s use these tools WELL — to support each other, keep a dialogue going, and to share ideas of how to thrive during this strange time.

We can be kind to ourselves and each other. Even with the most positive of attitudes, there are going to be challenges in the near future. Being at home incessantly with our families will prove tricky at times. Balancing work and childcare (or homeschooling!) will be incredibly hard. There will be anxiety and worry, at least periodically. Let’s remember to check in on each other often, and to be open about how we’re feeling so we can truly let each other in.

We can support our communities and our favorite businesses. This can come through outlets like sending monetary donations to local food banks, purchasing gift cards from local restaurants or other organizations (like independent movie theaters, coffee shops, fitness boutiques, etc.) that have had to close temporarily, and making intentional online purchases from businesses we love.

Please share with me how you’ve been feeling over the past few days, too, and let me know what you’ve been doing to shift into this new lifestyle. What have you found to be helpful tools to help with the transition? (Oh, I also set up a COVID-19 highlights in my Instagram account to keep the conversation and ideas going there as well, so be sure to check that out if you’d find it helpful!)

I’m so grateful for you. We can do this — TOGETHER!

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