I never imagined a global crisis response could mean hanging at home with all the time in the world for my babies, my guy and my lazy, lazy dogs (who are living some new version of doggie heaven right now).
It is surreal to have plenty of TIME. Enough for all the projects, chores, books, working out, writing, work, quality time, games, conversations, rest, meal prep, experiments that I’ve ever dreamed of. I’ve desperately, from the core of my being wanted more time for all of these things…
Instead of feeling clear, focused, motivated and accomplished and having the energy to tackle and or all of those things, most days I’m swirling.
Some days the grief, anxiety or depression take hold and I’m either overflowing with emotion and trying to hold it together or I’m numb. Those days I want to be busy so I don’t have to feel. Even when I’m forcing myself to accomplish I’m definitely not bringing my best energy or creating the best work.
Other days, I’m full of gratitude, joy, contentment and feel like I’m making the best of the situation. I’m checking things off my endless to do list. Work tasks? Check. Family time? Check. Working out, getting outside, creating awesome homemade meals? Check. Check. Check. I’m riding high for a few hours or a couple of days and then I crash and spiral, taken over by exhaustion, emotion and effort.
It’s easy to get fixated on something, anything else to keep yourself occupied. It’s easy to constantly worry about the next grocery trip (shit we just ran out of eggs, again), obsessing about kids learning and enrichment (apparently my kids must all learn to bike ride without training wheels asap) and when the F I’m going to be able to get any work done.
Not to mention the self flagellation about lack of schedules, fitness, food choices, productivity, home management, and all the other things.
All of this keeps us busy so we don’t have to feel the fear, confusion, grief, frustration, anxiety, joy, worry, hope, anger, depression and most of all the uncertainty about what is going on. Underneath it all, is the question, will we be ok? Will our society be ok? Will my family be ok? Will the world be ok? What is going to change for me and for all of us?
Instead of focusing on what to do, what if you start paying attention to how you are? What if you can allow yourself to be, just for a few moments in the feelings and experience that you’re having? You don’t get rid of anger or fear or anxiety by ignoring it or suppressing it.
Emotions are waves of energy, that you feel in your body and they are designed to move. Allowing yourself to recognize and feel your emotions, will help you move through them. I believe emotions are messengers that give us feedback on the world.
If you pay attention to your grief, it might lead you to cry. It also might push you to have that hard conversation with a loved one that you’ve been avoiding. Your anger might mean you have been wronged in someway and you need to take action. It might also tell you to go for a run or turn on some loud music and dance it out. Your anxiety about your kids wellbeing might mean you need to spend some more time snuggling and read with them
If you found yourself in some life threatening situation, reacting out of fear can take your situation from bad to worse. You can find solutions if you take a moment to slow down, assess the situation, let go of what you can’t control and focus on doing the next right thing.
Right now, we are experiencing crisis, though our lives in some ways feel much the same. Instead of reacting to the crisis in fear and anxiety, can you slow down a little and just be? Ask yourself what you’re feeling right now. What will serve you best in this time? What can you control right now? What is the next right thing you want to do?
Day by day, one step at a time, we’ll get through this.