Well, we’re in it now. A place that many of us are realizing is way heavier than we could ever possibly imagine.
Maybe where your’e reading this it hasn’t hit that hard quite yet. Maybe you’re reading this in a place where it’s hit too hard.
I’m sitting writing this in a place that you’ve heard about on the news. New Rochelle. One of the first places that this all hit the hardest. The place that they sent the National Guard. The first “containment zone.”
My kids are out of school – for now – until April 1st – but I know in my heart they won’t be going back to school this year.
That’s a tough pill to swallow.
For me, yes, but more, the worry I have for them – about to live through something you never ever think or want your own kids to live through. The stuff you see in movies or read about in textbooks, but get to turn the TV off or close the book and go back to your regular life – feeling lucky that isn’t your reality – and moving on through with your own schedule, your own normal.
We’re about to learn a new normal. A heavy one. Some people haven’t realized it yet – and I’m not sure if I’m mad at them or jealous of them.
I was the girl talking about how this was blown out of proportion – the flu is worse – it will blow over. I didn’t really get it – until I had to. Until I was living next to the people who were some of the first quarantined in the country.
And now I live every day worrying about the people close to me, wondering what will happen, if they’ll be ok – wondering how this happened. In the blink of an eye.
When your favorite actors, athletes, social media influencers, co-workers, neighbors, and family members start getting it – that’s when it hits you like a ton of bricks.
I miss the things I took for granted.
My Starbucks run, planning a last minute date night, inviting friends over for dinner, planning a playdate, going to the playground, working from Barnes and Noble, seeing my niece, packing for a trip, getting my nails done, picking my kids up from school, running to a store to grab some more toilet paper.
It’s funny how you don’t even realize that you are lucky to do the things that before this I might have complained about. MAN what I would do to complain about those things again.
So – it’s been a roller coaster. Literally every single day I go through so many emotions. I show up on social media trying to be as honest as possible – without wanting to depress people – but also addressing how we are all actually feeling.
And I try to come on when I’m at the top of the track, too, in those moments when I’m feeling “normal” because being with my kids all day forces me to act that way – and you can act yourself into a way of feeling. And I’m grateful for that.
But I’ve cried every morning before my family wakes up. And I cry before I go to bed. And sometimes I have to turn away when my kids aren’t watching – because when Steven asks to go to school to see his friends and show his teachers his letters – I just can’t help it. The heaviness in my chest just comes and I’m grateful for when it goes.
But you know, we are on this roller coaster now together. A big, scary one. The highs and lows, the peaks and valleys, and everything in-between.
So I sit here and write this, selfishly, because it’s therapeutic for me, and NOT to add to the low feelings you might be having, but to offer comfort in knowing that the way you’re feeling is ok.
It’s normal. The new normal. For now, at least.
And talking about how you’re feeling and remembering that you’re not alone in that might be one of the most important things we can do right now.
But I’m not going to leave this with a bunch of sadness.
Because as I sit here typing this watching my kids play in the backyard, I am realizing how much there is to be grateful for and I want to share with you, in these few quiet moments I’m finding today, how I plan on taking care of myself through this.
Because right now, it’s one of the only things I have control over. And my kids need me to take care of myself – because more than ever before, I need to take care of them in way I’ve never imagine I’d have to.
Here’s what I’m doing. And I’m not doing all of them every single day, but being hyper aware of making time for some of these, whenever I can:
Exercising. In some way. Getting the endorphins going. There are tons of free apps right now, especially, to make it easy to work out from home.
Doing my best to eat well, within reason, given the circumstances.
Upping my water intake. Constantly drinking water throughout the day.
Waking up earlier than my family because I know that’s what I personally need. I need time to myself – to work, to exercise, to drink my coffee alone – I know myself and I do better when I have a little time to myself in the morning.
Listening to podcasts. There is so much to learn, and with so much time at home, I’m leaning into self-development.
Baths. They’re calming for me. A warm bath, face mask, some tea or wine and some music. It’s soothing.
Getting dressed and ready for the day, including putting on makeup. I know you might feel like it’s not a priority. And I’m not saying it should be, but it does HELP your mood. Yesterday I didn’t get ready until 2pm. True story. But I made it a point to do it. When I’m in pajamas all day, I just feel bleh. I’m even putting on JEANS so I’m reminded when I’m stress eating LOL. If you wear jammies all day that are elastic it’s way easier to eat more mindlessly. Also – I love jeans so there’s that.
Taking care of my skin. Doing my full skin routine morning and night every single day. I’m not “letting myself go” just because I’m “not seeing people” right now. It’s actually a part of my day I really look forward to.
Journaling. I haven’t done it in so long, but I’m going to start again. Seems like the perfect time.
Reading. It’s also been too long since I’ve picked up a book. Going to start again.
Connecting with friends. Zoom is amazing. Making zoom dates with our friends for “Happy Hours”. It’s AMAZING what “seeing” people – even through the phone or computer can do when you feel isolated.
Working on a project. I’ve been working on something that I am SO excited about. When I devote time to working on it, I’m taken away from what’s going on, I’m laser focused, I’m creative, I’m excited, and it’s an escape for me. What’s something you can work on to get you excited? A DIY project around the house? Watching makeup tutorials to learn how to do your own? Building your kids a reading corner? Whatever it is – find a project you can focus on a little each day.
Cleaning out your house. This is one so good. It feels good to declutter and it’s therapeutic. I have an instagram post on my process for how I go through my clothing. Use that same system in every room in your house and little by little you’ll feel lighter.
Visualizing. I’ve never been a spiritual person, but more than ever right now, I love me some visualizing. Honestly – doing a lot of visualizing about life when this is over and we’re back to doing the things we so much take for granted.
Be a student. There’s so much to learn. What can you do to better yourself right now. Think about what you want to learn more about – and do it!
Get outside whenever you can. The fresh air, the sun, the Vitamin D – it’s so good.
Recognize the things you’re grateful for. Write them down.
Stay connected to your friends and family. Texts, FaceTime, social media. Technology is a blessing right now.
Make your bed. This might seem silly, BUT when my bed is made, it just makes me feel better.
Dream. What a time to dream, friends. Where do you want to be five years from now? This is sort of replicating #14, but it’s more important than ever right now to take us away and keep us focused, taking care of ourselves, and a reminder that we are going to get through this.
Are we going to be able to do all of these every day? Or even two or three a day? Hopefully! But even one – just start with one. Even if it’s all you can do. It’s better than nothing.
And in terms of our kids – the pressure right now is pretty crazy – but it’s mostly the pressure we’re putting on ourselves to be their teachers. It’s the schedules we’re seeing on social media making us feel like we’re not doing enough.
I promise you – you’re doing enough.
We use a schedule here because that’s what I need – and I know my kids do better with a schedule – starting the day with some structure – but we usually don’t get to half of it because they start playing or we go outside and that is FINE. That is AMAZING.
Keeping them happy is my number one priority – not stressing them or myself out about the curriculum. Don’t get me wrong – we are still learning throughout the day, but I’m not replicating an 8 hour school day for a 5 and 6 year old. We are taking it day by day, hour by hour, and the more creative play they can do – the happier all of us will be. We are being flexible. We have to be.
Figure out what works for you and your family and it will take some time to figure that out – and it might vary day to day, but one foot in front of the other right now. We don’t need the mom guilt we put on ourselves on top of the stress we’re already feeling.
Stay healthy, stay safe, and find a reason to laugh (some of those memes really getcha!) – it’s the very best medicine. We’re going to come out on the other side of this more resilient than ever. XO