I felt that tickle in your throat you start to feel right before a sore throat comes on. I fervently hoped it was just my imagination. No such luck! I don’t know what I have (since I haven’t been tested), but in following with social distancing guidelines, I’ve been keeping to myself. I have been incredibly anxious about spreading whatever I have to my older parents or in-laws. We went on a camping trip with relatives (which I was very thankful for in terms of experiencing some calm before this storm came on), but I came back from the trip and burst into tears.
As my husband said, you’re just learning to surf your regular emotional waves, and suddenly you’re being hit by an emotional tsunami – as are we all. My daughter’s daycare is abruptly closed, school districts around us are shuttered, I have to make calls about whether to lay employees off, whether to stay open in a service business, all while navigating a job hunt and financial anxiety.
So I’ve learned to accept that this is a stressful situation. Some of us are going to worry. We are going to experience anxiety. We are going to experience stress. Once we accept that, we can take steps so that those emotions don’t consume our very existence.
I’m deeply grateful that I have backup childcare that I’ve learned to enjoy. We have both sets of grandparents in-town, willing and ready to help. My husband and I have also gotten much better and trading off time with each other and making joint schedules. We have already been in the practice of scheduling all our joint time together, which includes time for “me-time.” All of our relationships are built much more on quality over quantity.
I’ve learned that if I stay calm (most of the time) and take care of myself, then I can be there that much more for all the people in my life who need me.
The specific tactics that have helped me navigate this storm include:
- Taking things one moment and one day at a time.
- Only allowing myself one time a day to check the news. So, I allow myself to feel the panic attacks, but I schedule one time a day to check the news. I realized right before bed is not a good time.
- Practicing being generous with myself. That means acknowledging all you are doing well.
- Continuing to take good care of my physical health. This includes regular workouts and eating nutritious food.
- No devices in bed rule. I power down my screens an hour before bed.
- Wind-down ritual – say good night and kiss my husband and daughter. Gratitude journal read paper books, and write. Choose those activities that bring you joy.
I hope you and yours stay safe and happy as we navigate these uncharted waters. Remember, there is always light after the storm, even when it feels dark and gray.