I felt compelled to share a little bit about what I am feeling at the moment since that, in essence, is what I do for a living. In the last week, things have gone from zero to crazy, and that is putting it quite lightly. I will admit, at the beginning of all of this, I was a little naive as to how bad it could get, and I never in a million years expected it to take a turn like this.
I attribute that to us not having t.v and spending minimal time following what’s going on in the news. Not because we don’t care, but because we limit our social media time. I only just started diligently paying attention in the last few days.
Since I started following, events have been canceled, kids sports cancelled, stores have been emptied, and the kids are now officially out of school.
When we heard the news yesterday about schools closing, we took a bit of a breath, and I will admit feeling a bit worried at first. My job and everything I do depends on the time that I have to work from home. My job also depends on interaction with people, so none of this is ideal. However, with that said, I know that everyone will have their struggles unique to them, and we are not alone in this.
So what should we do now? Here are a few things that I think will drastically change your response to this crisis and ultimately preserve your sanity and manage your emotional health.
1. First, acknowledge that this is, in fact, a crisis and loss for many that will result in different levels of grief. All of our lives will be changed one way or another, and with change, especially unexpected change comes grief. Please don’t minimize what you are feeling and know that everyone is feeling it too. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling without shame and try not to suppress as it will all have to come out at some point.
2. Connect with others who you trust. Further to feeling what you are feeling, remember to connect with those you trust. Social media can be so toxic at times, but it can also have a lot of value for those who are looking to connect with like-minded people. If you don’t have support within your circle, seek out groups who will be a benefit to your emotional health. Notice, I said, who will be a “benefit.” Try to refrain from the groups who are adding fuel to the fire.
If you are struggling, you need to reach out to level headed people who are not going to add to your grief. Social distancing has become our new normal, but it is still more important than it’s ever been to continue to connect. Remember, there are people out there whose most dangerous place to be right now is their home, for a variety of reasons, so check in with those people as it’s not always easy for them to ask for help.
3. Please Please Please limit your media consumption. This includes social media, the news, etc. It is essential to stay up to date to new developments, but obsessive scrolling throughout all of this is going to be incredibly damaging to everyone’s mental health. This is always the case, but with the added volume of posts relating to crisis, health, and politics, it will only add to the negativity.
On that note, try not to be one of those people who is adding fuel to the fire. You may think it’s all fun and games but it can be a detriment to someone reading it. If you must post, please be helpful and compassionate.
4. Try to take care of your health as best you can. It’s been said over and over to wash your hands and use proper hygiene protocols, and although this is something that should be standard every day, it MUST be part of your daily routine if you want to limit your chances of becoming ill.
Trust me, we have three kids in our home, and they don’t always “remember” to wash their hands, so we have had to make it a priority to make sure its done and done correctly multiple times a day.
Eat as best you can, drink loads of water, take your vitamins, and stock up on medicine. I am 25 weeks pregnant, so I am not entirely sure what my protocol will be in the event I get sick so you can bet I am doing everything I can in my power to prevent it for my health, my family’s health, and all of those vulnerable people out there who NEED this virus to end so they can feel safe.
5. Try to only worry about what you can control. There is so much going on right now that we CAN’T control. It seems like everyday something new comes out that makes us all have to change something.
I need you all to hear me when I say this, If you can’t control it, don’t let it consume you.
A lot of what is happening is disapointing, frightening, and downright shitty, but we must keep our heads healthy and only focus on what we can do and what we can control. Like I said before, having the kids home from daycare and school is not ideal for my livelihood and ability to make a living, but there is not a damn thing I can do about that. Rather than dwelling, I am doing my best to adjust and come up with a list of things I CAN do for the time being.
We have no idea how long this is going to last, so we are all going to have to come up with a new way of doing things because honestly, what is the alternative?
6. Try to build a routine. Things are going to get crazy in our homes, and our kids are going to become restless. The best thing to do right now is to build some type of routine and create a structure just like they would have had if they were in school. Kids thrive on a structure, so please take this one seriously.
We are working on how that is going to look in our home as we speak, and there are loads of ideas going around to make it easier for families with kids. If you want to spend time on social media, spend it on looking for these kinds of resources that will help you get through this time rather than the ones that will deplete you mentally.
7. Last but not least, try to keep perspective on everything that is going on. It is essential to acknowledge that this, as I said, is a crisis and a loss that will result in grief, but it can also be so much more than that.
Challenging times are usually the catalyst to the most amazing stories of growth, and on top of that, your kids are going to be witnessing every move you make. Try your best to show your kids that although it seems the world is falling apart, things can still be okay, and we can get through it.
I have seen several memes going around about our elders being called to WAR, and we are being called to self-isolate, with our families and to not go anywhere. I can’t help but think this can be a real blessing in disguise.
So many people often complain that they don’t have time and that they wish they could spend more time with family. I understand that this isn’t ideal, and it is going to affect people financially and not everyone is safe at home, but if you are one of those families that is lucky enough to receive a paycheque, whether or not you are at work and if you feel safe in your home, embrace it.
If you are in a position where you can decrease your financial burden for the time being, embrace it.
If you are someone who has a significant savings or can go on employment insurance, embrace it.
I know there are so many people out there who are going to have it worse than our family right now, and although our stresses our valid, I do feel grateful for what we do have. This is not about comparing who has it worse than others and I would never encourage the toxic behaviour of comparison, this is about perspective and searching for ways to see your situation differently so that you can be healthy and effective in moving forward.
For me, I see our situation as having one stable job in our household and safety. This is something not everyone has, so we don’t take either of those things for granted. However, with that said, Scott being a police officer during this time adds a whole other level of stress but like I said, perspective is everything.
Search for the good in people, not the bad and look for ways you can help if you are in a position where you can be of assistance. Helping others is great for our health whether you choose to admit it or not 😉
Again, acknowledge your feelings, no matter what they are, because they are valid but then try to find a healthy perspective. It won’t be the same for everyone, but I encourage you to look for one that will keep your mind healthy. This doesn’t mean you are minimizing what is happening to you personally, it just means you are finding a way to move through it with the least amount of emotional damage.
I am thinking of everyone right now, and I hope that you can find some value in my words during this time of crisis. Please remember to reach out if you are struggling, take one day at a time, and don’t forget to take a moment to breathe.
As a person who struggles with anxiety, I know how difficult it can be to remain grounded, so my words are not just words, they are what I genuinely believe and what works for me and so many others.
Take care, everyone, and stay safe.