We have all heard it a hundred times by now — “embrace this time at home.” We have been told the old “life is short” and “now is the time” to be making special memories with our kids, playing games, learning new languages, getting reacquainted with an old hobby. We have been encouraged to get all the things done that we haven’t had time to do—paint the house, fix that broken porch light, reorganize closets and clean out drawers.
But, we are also overwhelmed, anxious, trying to ward off depressive feelings, stressed, scared, financially-strapped, you name it. These times are completely new to all of us and we don’t need to be pressured to do more than just get through. The way we choose to spend this time is up to us. There should be no shame in that.
It is ok if you are just trying to get through the days and onto the next until this blows over. It is ok to not feel like doing anything extra. It is ok to be frustrated that you are stuck in your home (with your family) for an extended period. It is ok to be annoyed and mad. However, you are feeling and coping with all of this—it is all ok.
Why do you need to put added pressure on yourself when you are already overwhelmed?
A New Normal
We are all going through a traumatic experience right now. Too many changes are happening at once, too much is still unknown and we are forced to adjust. Now is not the time to be stressing over coming up with a new skill set, making this experience ultra amazing for your children, giving your home a makeover, or starting a rigorous diet and exercise program. This time is about survival and what that might look like for you. That being said if some of these things are part of your survival, then more power to you. You need to do what is best for you.
Many of us are trying to figure out how to work from home while juggling the needs of our children at the same time (Fun fact: I was interrupted no less than 60 times trying to write this). Some of us are facing job loss making it difficult to put food on the table. A lot of us are now forced to homeschool when we never signed up/wanted to be a teacher. We are missing loved ones that we are not allowed to visit. We are mourning loss in a variety of ways — loved ones who may have passed recently, plans that are no longer, the lives we once had that we now fear may not fully return. We are struggling with anxiety over catching the virus or watching those around us fight it and worry for their survival.
We are worried about our mental health, worried about falling into old destructive behaviors out of boredom and stress. For some of us, it is taking everything we have to hold it together.
Time for Support
Now is the time to give ourselves grace, to ease up on expectations, to lighten up on schedules and requirements for the day. It is the time to support each other, lift each other up, check-in with family and friends and make sure they are ok. It is the time for online chats, funny memes, and binge-watching TV shows that take our minds off things if just for a minute.
It is time to let unnecessary things go. Our problems are bigger than that.
The enormity of this global shutdown weighs heavily on each of us. You don’t have to enjoy this time, you don’t have to embrace it, you just have to get through it.
Begin Counseling in Pennsylvania
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Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.