There is no way around it- times are hard right now. Actually, that’s an understatement- times are confusing, uncertain, frustrating, suffocating, and isolating right now while in quarantine.
Is easy as it is to continue repeating to ourselves “we are not stuck at home, we are safe at home.” As true as that sentiment is, and as much as we must honor it daily to flatten the curve- it is a whole new challenge to navigate life as we know it as parents, workers, students, and now teachers- all while confined to our homes.
I read this beautiful ‘public service announcement’ written by Emily W. King, Ph.D a few days ago and it inspired me to write this letter:
We have never had to take phone meetings, if we’re in school- study and do homework, and help our kids with their homework all under the same roof.
The other day I was taking my online classes and un-muted myself to share my thoughts about the discussion, and my daughter raises the volume louder on the movie I was letting her watch (to keep her quiet) and she goes, “Stop, MOM, I can’t HEAR!!” in front of the entire class and professor, who all turn to stare at me via Zoom.
She’s normally very patient and understanding when she knows Mommy has work to do, but she’s 5, and well, it happens. Nevertheless, it was embarrassing to say the least and hard to continue with my train of thought afterwards.
My daughter Alaska is in Kindergarten and has been assigned to remote learning programs and homework- timeblocked- from 8am to 2pm, which is the time I take my client calls and have my courses. It’s not possible to do it all, so really hone in on that connection with your kids. I focus on what can get done, even if it isn’t during the time selected, and give her grace when she’s feeling frustrated (and when I am too!)
I am not a Kindergarten teacher, and my daughter doesn’t see me as one. While at home, she views this as her sanctuary of play, rest, and safety. And I want it to continue to be all those things for her. She isn’t in her normal school environment with her friends, and doesn’t feel the need to adhere to assignments because her regular consequences aren’t the same either.
Her attention span is bouncing off the walls. The other day, she wasn’t sitting still and focusing on repeating the online storybooks, so I grabbed all of our stuff, took a towel, cut up some fruit, snatched some books, and we had our own little storytime picnic right in the backyard. It wasn’t perfect and her teacher may not have understood, but it’s what we did and it works.
Remind yourself that we are all in this together, and we’re all collectively losing our shit.
Nobody’s out here juggling it all doing this well. We’re all just trying our best.
So mama, hold space for yourself today. Allow yourself to breathe. Block out time for just you- and do something special for yourself whatever that may look like.
Here are a few ideas:
- Go outside to take a walk! Vitamin D is important during this time while we are inside and it feels great to get some fresh air
- Pick up a new hobby! There are tons of online courses available at this time for you to learn something fun and new
- Find a new podcast! I am a huge true crime fan so even when doing chores around the house, I’m listening to something binge-worthy while I’m at it, and look forward to new uploads
- Wake up early! There are many benefits to sleeping early and rising early, one of them allowing you time to be up before anybody else and give you a chance to meditate
- Try new recipes! I’ve never been huge on cooking, but even I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen playing with new meals
- Meditation & Mindfulness! I have been loving guided meditations via podcasts/apps to help me start my day on the right note
- Virtual Happy Hours + Streaming Parties! I’ve been checking in with my friends on Zoom and Facetime, even using extensions like Netflix Party to stream shows, it’s been a fun way to watch and connect
Whatever you decide to do, bask it it- make that time yours! Schedule time for it, let it be a saving grace, no matter how little or how long you’re able to spend alone each day.
At the end of the day, as Dr. King instructs, choose connection. Choose quality time, choose love. Give yourself a break- you are doing great. Your mental health is a priority now more than ever, so reach out when and as often as you need.
I also want to encourage you to seek out online talk/text therapy during this time. I’ve moved my regular in-person therapy sessions onto Zoom, and although it isn’t quite the same, it is a great way to feel validated, connected, and heard during this uncertain, anxious time. Reach out- it’s what they are there for! We are all going to be okay.
How are some ways you currently practice self-care?