When Governor Wolf announced that Bucks County needed to close, my initial feeling was relief. Crazy right? I had just spent the previous weekend traveling, so I was happy to be forced to stay home, enjoy time with my family and clear my overscheduled calendar. The gift of time was given to us and I was ready to embrace it.
Cut to the first day of distance learning with my kids and reality set in that this was not quite what I had imagined. As we began to navigate this new way of everyday life, feelings of stress and panic began to set in. How did I get so busy with no appointments on my calendar? How am I supposed to answer questions about 5th grade math? Why is my 2nd grader asking the most ridiculous questions? Does she do this at school? And if I get one more freakin’ email or group text, I am seriously going to lose my mind!
Suddenly my newfound time was being exchanged for demands that, quite honestly, I didn’t sign up for. This onslaught of overwhelmig and new expectations forced me to take a step back and reset. So, I write this post (more as a reminder to myself than anything else) of ways to reset as we get used to this “new normal”.
- Take a Moment – In times like these, it annoys the crap out of me when suddenly we’re supposed to be all Positive Polly. If that’s your thing then by all means, you keep doing you. But if you’re like me, then just take a moment to feel angry, annoyed, frustrated, sad, etc. There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way, but it is important that you release those feelings in a healthy way, so your family doesn’t vote you off the island. Annoyed that people decided to buy 20 jumbo packs of toilet paper and left you with none? Frustrated that your kids keep asking you for food…I mean didn’t I just feed them? Sad that an important event in your life was cancelled? Then scream into a pillow, slam it on the floor, have a good cry or dance around the room to Rage Against the Machine (or whatever music helps you get it out). Just get it out and move on.
- Choose How to Spend Your Time – All of us get 24 hours a day so what we choose to do with it, is up to us. It doesn’t always feel like a choice, but it really is when you get right down to it. This past week made me think of a quote from the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” This prompted me to get back into my routine to get up earlier than my kids so that I have some “me time” before everyone else’s priorities take over my day.
- Meditate – Meditation has been a game changer for me. I have always considered it “my time”, but since my kids were home and I desperately needed to meditate, I asked them if they wanted to do it with me. It turns out, they enjoy it too and now it’s something we are working on practicing together on a regular basis.
- Keep Moving – Whether it is going for a walk outside, doing a virtual class or dancing around your house, keep your body moving. Those endorphins can really help reset your mood. I get it. When you are in your comfy “day jammies”
- Practice Gratitude – You have probably heard it before but taking time to be grateful for what you have can do wonders to help you manage stress. So how do you feel grateful when things feel like they are hitting the fan? I recently learned from an amazing life coach, Christine Hassler, who suggested asking yourself “What is this person/moment teaching me?”. This has really helped me accept and find purpose in the shitty things people have done and the shitty moments I have had to live through because it helped me grow as a person.
- Connect but Disconnect – It’s so amazing to me how we can still stay connected to people through technology while being sequestered to our homes. I don’t know about you though, but I feel like suddenly I have been bombarded by messages and emails that can be both distracting and a total time suck. We all need connection. It is essential to us as humans no matter how introverted you think you are. However, scrolling through Facebook viewing other people’s lives from the outside is not connection in my opinion. Pick up the phone (remember that?) and actually talk to someone you haven’t been in touch with in a while. And start limiting your time spent checking email and texts. I recently decided to put rules in place for myself to only check my phone 3x/day. It is also set on Do Not Disturb from 8pm to 9am so if you don’t get a reply from me, you know why.
I am confident at the end of this that we will all be stronger. Not because we stayed home (I mean seriously, there are harder things in life than being asked to stay home), but because it forced us to take the time to really understand the importance of taking time to care for ourselves, our families and the true priorities in our lives. So, hang in there and live well!
~Kim Stone, Wellness Coach