March again? Already?
It doesn’t make much sense to me that so much can happen in a year where we were forced to do so little. It feels like it was just a few weeks ago when we were all freaking out about the prospect of digital learning with our kids for TWO WHOLE WEEKS. We thought if we could just stay home for that brief period of time, we would be all fixed up just in time to flaunt our new dresses before all the saints and sinners on Easter Sunday.
Yet here we are, a year into the pandemic, and life is still in this strange holding pattern.
Everyone I know has been changed somehow because of the time spent in this slowed-down version of life. Some people are more depressed because of lack of community or financial strain. Some are much happier because they can work from home and allow themselves to slow down, when they never were able to before. Some are discovering new hobbies and creating new businesses, either out of necessity because of financial uncertainty, or just because they have had the luxury of time to figure out their priorities. I see people who have gained the Covid nineteen pounds and I have seen inspirational fitness journeys begin.
It’s so interesting to see how different people handle adversity.
When we have experienced blow after blow like we have over the past year, it’s difficult to know how to process all the emotions that rise to the surface. There is frustration, fear, contempt, anger, loneliness, anxiety, grief, confusion, restlessness…often many of these uncomfortable feelings come all at once.
If you’re like me, the first instinct is to numb those feelings with your weapon of choice. Yours may be a bottle of wine or Netflix or running. (Mine happens to be cookies.) I have found that it’s getting more difficult to dodge these emotions even with my arsenal of coping skills, no matter how healthy or unhealthy they are. I have figured out that the best thing I can do when I am overwhelmed is just to sit in the discomfort. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin at first, but it gets easier. I also have been conscious of judging myself when I feel a negative emotion. I think we are so programmed to default to being “blessed” that we wash over our real thoughts with self-judgment because other people may have it worse. And someone, somewhere else probably does have it worse!
However, someone else’s suffering does not invalidate your own experience. We can remain grateful and be blessed while also admitting that our current mental health is struggling. Feel that feeling and get it behind you! If we don’t process these hard feelings, there will be consequences and unfortunately the people we love the most are often on the front lines when everything boils over. Thank God that children are so forgiving because I have taken my frustration unrelated to them out on them more times than I can count. So, if you can’t do it for yourself (even though you deserve it), do it for your family. Show them by example that it’s okay to go through hard things. Show them that you can overcome it so that later in life they can process their hard feelings instead of numbing or avoiding.