I know I’m not alone in feeling the weight of, well, everything right now. I’ve had conversations with several friends as well as read news articles and statistics about how so many of us are struggling these days. (I found this article to be particularly helpful at putting into words some of what I’m experiencing right now.)
For me, everything feels constant, and I never feel like I’m quite getting my footing or doing anything particularly well. I feel unmotivated and low energy in many ways, and my self-confidence waxes and wanes. The things that once brought me joy during this quarantine season — things like cooking and organizing and connecting virtually — have lost their luster.
I’ve already gone through the exercise of coming to terms with lowering my expectations during this unprecedented time, but now I’m struggling with existing within this new world where it’s hard to judge whether I’ve been particularly successful on any given day.
Though I know I need human connection more than ever, I often find myself pulling away from others. I know this is fueling my low-energy state, but sometimes it’s hard to fight it.
It hits me hard when I think about how open ended all of this is, and how we have no idea when life will be similar to the way it was in February. I miss crowded restaurants. I miss hugging people I don’t live with. I miss not being able to smile at people in the grocery store thanks to most of our faces being blocked by masks. I miss full Pure Barre classes and the energy they bring and community they fuel. The list goes on and on, and I know you have a long list, too.
I’m also tired of feeling angry much of the time. Whether it’s anger surrounding this pandemic and the way it’s been handled (or lack thereof) in our country or anger around the current state of leadership or racial equality in the U.S., that emotion is far more present in me than it typically is. It’s not the way I want to feel most of the time.
I’m crying a lot lately, too, which is NOT normal for me. Sure, I’m pregnant, but I didn’t cry a lot while I was pregnant with Maggie, and I’m certainly not used to bursting into tears at the drop of a hat. And yet, that’s where I’ve found myself recently many days.
So…what can help improve this state?
I definitely don’t have all the answers, but what I DO know is that yesterday Maggie spent the afternoon with my in-laws and Kevin and I went to a local brewery together and sat outside. Kevin had a couple of beers and I had kombucha, and we enjoyed each other’s company in the lovely weather. We even ran into business school friends we hadn’t seen in a while, and it was awesome to catch up and experience one of those random social interactions that used to be so common and are now so very rare.
I’d started the day yesterday feeling weepy and unmotivated and down on myself and hopeless, but that simple act of going somewhere and feeling somewhat normal worked wonders. I wore a dress and felt summery and carefree. It turned my mood around and boosted my energy in a big way. I went to bed last night feeling like I’d been majorly refueled.
I also know that pretending everything is fine is NOT the way to exist within this strange time we find ourselves in. There will inevitably be lots of ebb and flow to the coming months (there already has been, of course, over the past six), and some days you WILL feel good. Amazing! Lean into those days and enjoy them, and share them with others. But there will be days where you’ll probably feel pretty unlike yourself. As uncomfortable as it can be, share those days with others, too.
I spent about an hour on the phone yesterday with a close friend, and she and I have been experiencing very similar feelings recently. It was so powerful to just connect with her and to hear her say, “I feel that way, too” to so much of what I was describing. We also committed to staying in touch and sending each other our “joy of the day” each day. As cheesy as that sounds, we both know it will do us a world of good to be consciously looking for bright spots each day.
A fellow mama-to-be is starting a virtual group of other pregnant women so we can connect every couple of weeks and support one another as we navigate pregnancy during this difficult time. I’m so grateful to her for setting it up, and can’t wait to join the group and share our journeys.
I also spent time yesterday morning reaching out to a few therapists who specialize in perinatal support. I do know that some of these feelings are connected to my pregnancy, and so I feel like having someone in my corner who has experience helping other women function at their best during this stage of life could be hugely helpful. I found a few that looked like they could be a good fit, and I look forward to having some introductory sessions to get a feel for who’s the best one for me.
Yesterday started out a pretty low day, but ended on a very high note. Today’s feeling good so far, but it could swing as well. Or maybe that swing will come tomorrow, or maybe next week. I’m trying to give myself lots of grace in this season (SO MUCH EASIER SAID THAN DONE), and to ride those moods and trust that the bad ones won’t stick around forever.
So all that to say, I suppose this post is mainly meant to serve as a reminder that if you, too, are feeling unlike yourself a lot lately, you are NOT ALONE. And it doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you, or that you’re flawed or lacking for not being able to keep up with everything. Like I said, I don’t have all the answers, but I AM here if you ever want to chat. After all, I’m reminded that’s such a critical piece to staying as healthy as possible through all this — that true connection.
Hang in there.
You can do this. I can do this. WE can do this.
You are not alone.