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From body image to bullying, academic pressure to addiction, learn to build bridges using the stories your teen is already reading.
Connection Not Perfection with The Ish Girl navigateright Episode
This week, I’ve found it super-difficult to concentrate on anything for any length of time. Over the past few days, I’ve felt like crawling back into bed – and to be completely frank, a couple of days, I have.
Why am I sharing this? Because I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in being quarantine-weary. And although here in Texas, things are loosening up a bit – retail stores are opening today for curbside service only, and restaurants can have up to 25% capacity – it’s hard to get a clear picture of what post-quarantine life is going to look like.
What is becoming clear to me is that I’ve had a whole lot going on subconsciously – like really, really, really wanting my son and his classmates to get to have a real graduation. Like hoping that even though his new student orientation for college has been switched to being virtual, that he’ll get to do Fish Camp before classes start in the fall. That classes will actually start in the fall.
Now that some of the pressure is easing on stay-at-home orders, I’m starting to grieve all the things that we’re missing. The loss of the rites of passage that weren’t only for my son, but also for my husband and me. The traditions that would have helped ease us into this momentous life-transition.
I had a different outline for this week’s episode that I finally set aside earlier today. It was a struggle to say exactly what I wanted to, and I finally realized that it was okay to let it go for now. I know I’ll get back to it next week, and I’m having grace with myself about it.
And that’s why I’m sharing all this with you.
If you’re feeling sad, grieving the losses that the coronavirus quarantine has brought – big or small – know that you’re not alone.
And I say that in all seriousness. While you may think that someone else’s grief or loss is bigger or more difficult than what you’re experiencing, they are not things that can be compared. Grief is grief and loss is loss, no matter the degree. It’s okay to acknowledge what you’re feeling, embrace your emotions, and let them pass through you.
In fact, I would argue that the more you resist and fight against what you’re feeling, the longer you’ll be dealing with it. Giving yourself permission to sit with your emotions and truly feel them is a brave thing to do – because it can be painful.
I want to encourage you this week, if you’re struggling like I am, to have compassion with yourself. To treat yourself gently and validate all the things you’re feeling.
Along those lines, I thought I’d share some of the strategies I’ve been using to cope this week. It’s been different each day, as I process all the things.
Here’s what I’ve tried and recommend:
Resting can give your brain time to process your emotions plus it has the added benefit of restoring your energy and helping reset your frame of mind.
I’ve found myself going through photo albums of my kids’ toddler years and even some of my high school scrapbooks and yearbooks, marveling at how quickly the years have flown by. Remembering events and milestones from the past has helped me prepare for the ones we’re about to walk through.
You knew I’d be including that one! Indulging in a feel-good novel has helped me escape for a few hours. Not to mention giving me warm-fuzzies as I keep my reading material light and on the happily-ever-after side of things.
Who knew there’d ever be a puzzle shortage? I was oddly excited to get a new puzzle in the mail earlier this week. Don’t judge! Sorting by color and finding all the edge pieces is a zen place for me. Maybe it is for you too?
I try to spend a few moments every morning writing. I think I’ve shared before that I usually I start with 10 things I’m grateful for. Right now, I’m also writing about how I’m feeling, and describing some of the things I’m sad that we’re missing, and not just the big ones. Things like the reunion that is usually held at the kids’ elementary school for seniors, when teachers come back to see the adults their former students have grown into. Or coffee with friends, where we hug when we both get to the restaurant. In a weird way, I’m trying to put everything down so that later on, when my grandkids ask me what it was like the time the world shut down, I can pull out my journals and share. I know you have your own list too – why not put it down so you don’t forget?
Whether it’s a walk or a bike ride or sitting outside with a drink to watch the sunset, being out in nature is a great way to give yourself a breather and reset.
I’ve found one of the best ways to get out of my own head is to focus on helping someone else. It doesn’t take much to write a note to a friend or pick up the phone and check on someone who is quarantining alone. And you can get creative with this – I have to share what someone in our neighborhood has done that’s brought a lot of joy to me, and I’m sure to others. They took stones, about the size of the palm of your hand, and painted them with all kinds of things – faces, encouraging sayings, cartoon characters, emojis – and placed them everywhere. Next to light poles and fire hydrants. Propped up against mailboxes. When we’ve been out walking, it’s been so fun to spot them. Something so simple, yet impactful.
Be flexible with your expectations for yourself. If you’re finding it hard to stick to your “normal” schedule – like I am – have compassion with yourself. Give yourself permission to let things slide if you need some time to grieve, to process, to sit with your feelings. It’s okay to not be okay.
So, there you have it. 7 ways to cope with the quarantine blues. (Plus 1 extra!) I’d love to know if these strategies resonated with you and if there are other things you’re trying as you walk through the challenge of this quarantine. You can be part of the conversation by joining me in my Facebook group, in the middle of it.