Written by Heidi Borst
Most of us are reeling in the midst of a pandemic we were grossly unprepared for. In the last couple of weeks, our whole world has changed. Daycares, schools, and businesses have closed. The always-bustling cities and towns we live in have come to a screeching halt as we follow our leaders’ instructions to stay home. We are desperate to ‘flatten the curve’ and keep our loved ones, and ourselves, healthy. With an economy in crisis, the fortunate amongst us are able to continue working remotely. Our days are drastically different than they were a mere two weeks ago; we’re grappling with how to maintain some semblance of normalcy to our days, if not for ourselves, for our kids.
First, the gyms and restaurants were shut down, a week later came the playgrounds and parks; athletic courts were padlocked and signs reading “Closed Until Further Notice” were demonstrably hung. Playdates, once the foundation of our children’s social lives, have become taboo. As parents, we’ve been left with no choice but to become our children’s teachers as well as playmates, whether or not the demands of our jobs allow it. It all feels like TOO MUCH.
And yet, with all of the restrictions placed upon us, we have so much to be grateful for. How can we shift our focus to the positive when our entire world has been turned upside down? It’s time to call upon our inner strength and will ourselves not to give in, but instead to get through this. It’s time to buckle down and push forward.
Stop and breathe. Instead of becoming paralyzed by what you can’t do, change your perspective. Focus on what you can do, and on what you have. If you’re holed up with your family, find ways to truly connect with each other. Play games, dance, sing songs, hug one another, talk about how you’re feeling. If you’re alone and the isolation is wearing on you, reach out to a loved one for support. There are so many members of our community who are lending their support to those in need, so just ask. If you’re able, offer your services to someone who may need them, of course always being mindful of your safety and theirs.
Reflect on the small things for which you feel gratitude. Maybe it’s a hot shower, or cupboards stocked with food. Maybe it’s the fact that your family unit is together, healthy and safe. Do everything you can during this crazy time to cultivate moments that nurture your soul- read a book, watch a movie (or binge a whole series), bake some cookies, go for a walk outside, cuddle with your fur baby, play with your kids, Facetime a friend.
More than anything now is the time to ease up on the stress of the expectations we make of ourselves. Instead, make room for self-acceptance and self-love. With so many uncertainties about the upcoming days, weeks, (months?), we have to let go. If we can re-direct the stress we’re feeling, instead of concentrating on a mindset of gratitude, our positivity and resilience will see us through. We’ve got this.