So, how’s everyone doing?
Yeah, me too…
I am grateful that I am safe and my family is healthy. YES, I acknowledge that even though my part-time jobs are gone, my husband has a job and I have the capacity to take care of the kids while he works. YES, I’m grateful that we have had lots of good moments together as a family that we wouldn’t normally have. YES, this isn’t going to last forever.
Okay, now that I have acknowledged that it’s not all terrible, let’s get down to my point:
Right now, there are a lot of things that ARE hard and I want to acknowledge them, sit with them and hopefully, learn from them. As my yoga teacher always says, “Feel the feels.” Because we Americans had a bit of a problem before this pandemic began.
We liked to stay BUSY!
And maybe, not in an entirely healthy way. We valued projects on the weekends and a full social calendar. We valued giving our kids opportunities to play all of the sports, dance classes, piano lessons and play dates. We valued very, very little downtime with our identity being wrapped up in what we DO for a living.
And now, well, now, we’ve been forced to slow down whether we like it or not. All of a sudden, all of what we THOUGHT was most important for ourselves, our families…GONE. If you take away what you DO along with the daily distractions, what is left of your life?
Do you know what the most difficult pose is in yoga? Nope, it’s NOT headstand. It’s Savasana (or corpse pose). Lying completely still while the minutes tick by is excruciating for many people. No distractions, no movement, just lying there. Some people will leave yoga class early just to avoid it.
From a larger perspective, people are losing their jobs and their security. They are fearing for their health and for those that they love. And now, we are all stuck inside our houses faced with uncertainty, fear, anxiety and no idea how to structure our days. At first, some people thought this was the answer:And maybe, for some, this can be inspiring. But for others, this can be soul-crushing and overwhelming. And, maybe some will choose a new hustle to continue to avoid whatever feelings bubble up. But, is this the healthiest way to, “take advantage” of what is now our new reality?
Maybe we stayed busy because we were not sure how we felt about our spouse anymore. Maybe we had conflicts with our kids. Maybe we had an unhealthy relationship with food or alcohol. Maybe staying busy helped us avoid lots of feelings and now, being forced to stay home has been the best and the WORST thing that could happen to us. If, up until this point, we’ve been coping through avoidance, well, life is very hard right now, isn’t it?
Maybe all of the feelings of what is going on in our world, combined with being forced to slow down is coming with some really hard days. Maybe when those days come you wonder if you’re doing it wrong. But what if you’re doing it right?
Sometimes we just have to sit in the sadness, the anxiety, and the pain. Maybe we have some hard conversations, maybe we allow ourselves to, “feel the feels,” rather than distract ourselves out of those uncomfortable feelings. And once we have, we can come out the other side of it with a new understanding of it, stronger than before. Maybe, with that understanding we can bring about some new, more sustainable, healthier paths for our lives.
While I say we should confront our uncomfortable feelings I’m not suggesting we purposely make ourselves miserable. Rather, maybe we can be curious about what bubbles up and sit with it rather than stuff it down or distract. Meditation and/or yoga is good, so is getting out of the house and taking a walk listening to the birds sing. Keeping a journal of highs and lows of the day can also be really useful.
This is also the time to seek out professional help if you’ve been putting it off (because we have the time now). Maybe this is our chance to reconnect with extended family. Maybe this is a chance to sit and re-evaluate the direction life is going for you and level out a new course.
Maybe we just have to learn to give ourselves lots and lots of grace and instant forgiveness. Because these are unprecedented times and we are all just doing the very best we can.