So. Here we are. We are 3 months into 2020 and I have resigned that this year is trying to take us all out. LOL! Please don't take my laughter as a lack of concern...I'm laughing to keep from crying....again. At this time, we are ALL, every single one of us, living in a world that none of us have ever lived in before and our lives are turned upside down. There is literally no normal and all we can do from day to day is keep going. It can be scary for most of us (yes, us....me included) to be totally out of control of our day to day routine and to truly not know what happens next. I think for many of us, we are just trying to find a way to keep things normal and stay in control. I have seen folks setting up home schedules for themselves and the kids, doing the things that they can still do that were a part of their normal routine, and even presenting like their thoughts and emotions are functioning in a normal state. Reality is there is nothing normal about what we are all going through right now. And guess what....IT'S OKAY TO NOT FEEL OR ACT NORMAL! Now, I'm not saying to go off the deep end or start acting completely out of character. But, I am saying that it is ok if you don't feel like yourself. It is ok if you don't function day to day like you are on your daily routine. It is even ok if you have a bit of a meltdown. As long as you are acknowledging the truth that maybe you are at the point of being overwhelmed and feeling not normal.
I am by nature a helper. I want to be able to support people and give them light and love. But, what happens when the helper starts to lose control and spiral?? I will tell you what happens....a total meltdown. The past few weeks, I have been trying to keep my normalcy. I am still working (I'm essential or whatever), I have encouraged my oldest to try to stay engaged in mind stimulating activity while school is out, I have attempted to keep my little one entertained and also engaged in learning activities, and I have tried to check on my friends, family, and coworkers regularly. But, in the midst of trying to continue my normal helping behaviors, I forgot to do one very important thing....check in with Angela. Wednesday morning, while checking in with my peers at work, I realized something. I was on the verge of tears all morning and did not understand why. I realized at that moment that I was not doing ok. I turned on my meditation app and took my 15 minute break to calm myself. It worked for a bit. Then I got a call from my sister who lives in NOLA that one of her coworkers was on a vent and later that he died, I found out one of the ladies I used to be in civic club with died, I was informed that there are no options for me to work from home, and then, to top it all off, I was informed that one of my coworkers, who I had been around a few days prior, tested positive for the virus. I BROKE! I mean yelling over the phone, snotting all over the place, hyperventilating, about to pass out, accepting that I'm next type of lost it. It was ugly, to say the least. But, once I talked to 3-4 different people who helped me rationalize away the fear that I was allowing the enemy to put into me, I felt better. I wiped my face, decided on my course of action, and accepted that all I can do in this time is be ok in this moment that I have.
It is our natural human instinct to try to find a way to maintain homeostasis (sameness, stability) in our lives. When things get slightly knocked out of whack, we get super uncomfortable and work tirelessly to get it back to what it was. But, how do you do that when the entire world as you knew it is unstable? You don't. You learn to accept what is and function the best way you know how. Yes, I had a meltdown. It was an eye opener for me. But there are some things that I have been doing and when I do them effectively, I feel so much better. Still not in control, but better:
1. Let go and let God...He is showing us in this moment that no matter how in control we think we are, He has the final say. Stop trying to take the reigns...it ain't happening!
2. Check in with yourself...Do this daily, hourly, minute to minute if you have to. You need to be aware of what you are feeling and be honest. If you aren't ok, say so. That's the only way you can do something about it.
3. Screw the schedule...I know, I know. "But, we have to maintain some type of normalcy".....please revisit the info above. LOL! Look, reality is nothing is normal right now, so stop trying to force it. You are going to drive yourself and your kids insane! Let them sleep, let them have more screen time, let them do the things that bring them comfort even if they fight against doing the school work stuff. I know it makes us feel better if we can say "I am a supermom because my kid did 20 pages of worksheets yesterday". But, if you can't even concentrate on your own work or reading that book or finishing that project, how do you think they feel. Which brings me to the next point....
4. Figure out what keeps you and them calm and feed that thing....My oldest refuses to read a book right now. And I get it because I haven't been able to make it past the chapter I am on in mine in 2 weeks. But, you know what she does willingly? She paints and she bakes. She has never been big on either of those, but in this time, they bring her comfort and calm her down. So, I bought paint, canvases, baking goods....whatever she needs to stay grounded for today.
5. Use those silly apps to stay connected...We obviously all need to take a break from social media from time to time right now. But, I cannot tell you how much it has helped me to use Facebook and Instagram to stay connected. I went to a virtual concert and virtual party or two. I went to virtual church Sunday and a virtual Broadway play, too. I face time, text, or call my family and friends as often as possible. And every time I did one of those things, I felt better, even if just for the moment.
6. Give lots of grace...We are all feeling a lot of things and having a lot of thoughts that we may not normally have. We are isolated to our homes or offices with tons of time for our minds to play tricks on us. Due to these abnormal feelings, we may be more irritable or super sensitive. GRACE! Give it to others and take some for yourself too!
I will be praying for myself, you, and for the world. Meltdown if you must, but don't forget to get back up after. Love you all!
Light and Love....