In today’s post I want to share with you some ways in which I believe the pandemic is impacting all of our lives. I also want to share some ways I have personally been impacted. Lastly, I want to share a tool I have been using and that you could implement today that could be really helpful.
With this in mind, I have a question for you…How are you doing? I know you can’t answer me…but it’s still an important question that we should all slow down and ask those around us and ourselves…How are you really doing?
It has been a little over a month since California began sheltering in place and I am not going to lie – I’m struggling.
I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed by how these changes have impacted me and those around me. I thought I would share a little of that with you to perhaps normalize what you may be experiencing.
Like many of you I am now a teacher. I have 2 kids at home that I am now in charge of homeschooling, even though I still need to work. This transition has been extra hard for my son who has special needs. On top of that, even though my work situation and schedule has shifted a lot, my husband’s has not. Curtis is a Sheriff Deputy, so he is still out in our community being of services. This adds a couple of different layers of stress in our family, first there are a ton more obligations but because he is working out of town 3-4 days a week they all fall on me. The second is more personal, since he is unable to shelter in place his risk of exposure is heightened which means so is ours. This is more stressful, because I worry about him and I have 2 preexisting health conditions that put me in the higher risk category.
I’m finding myself with less time, more to get done, increased stress and a decrease in my resources to manage that stress. At this point, I feel like I’m more likely to find a unicorn in my backyard than any kind of work/life balance. The most difficult part of being pulled in 1000 different at any given moment, is that most of the time they’re all directions I want to go. I want to be there for my husband, my kids, my therapist, my clients, my community, my family and friends…the list goes on and on. Yet trying to be there for so many leaves me feeling like I’m losing myself, my serenity and even my passion. I have been feeling so overwhelmed that lately I am struggling to have any motivation at all.
I believe that the only way through this is together, which means pulling together and supporting each other, even if sometimes all we can do is normalizing how much this situation sucks!
I also believe in the power of vulnerability and authenticity. I have posted articles about how couples can stay connected, giving lists of creative ways to spend this time. Although I still 100% believe in those articles, that is not the only thing going on here. There are many struggles and it’s important to shed light on that.
I know my story is not much different then many of you out there. I know there are people struggling more; losing loved ones, missing milestone events like graduations, weddings, trips, living with frontline health care workers and watching their loved ones be traumatized by the destruction of this virus. I know there are individuals sheltering in place alone and feeling incredibly isolated while others are surrounded by people and feel suffocated. The thing is to get through a crisis it is not about who is struggling more but about being banded together in the difficulties and facing it together.
My openness here is one of my ways of joining with you wherever you are to say, you are not alone. I’m struggling with you and we will get through it. I truly believe hope is more powerful than fear. And I have hope and believe we will get through this, I will get through this and my family will get through this…yet in the meantime I also have 1000 different things pulling on me…so much so that I am forgetting one of the most important things. I need to take care of myself.
If you have flown on an airplane you have heard the instructions that if you are flying with a young child or someone who depends on you, in the case of an emergency you put your oxygen mask on first and then help them. The reason is if you put theirs on first, you might pass out and then you won’t be any help to them.
This is a great metaphor, right? But what does that actually look like? Well I have made a shelter in place wellbeing checklist. I’m going to share mine below so you can adapt it and try it for yourself if you want. tell you mine and then I’m going to leave a copy for you to print on this blog so you can adapt it for you.
Here are the main categories
- Basic Self Care
- Basic Environment Care
- Being Mindfully Present
- Care to Thrive
- Helpful Ideas
It’s an experiment. I’m going to do it every day for 30 days and see how it helps. I will post back in a week to let you know what I am finding so far. Care to do it with me?
Even if you don’t try it, I hope you do take the time to stop and ask yourself and those close to you that really important question “How are you really doing?”
More than anything if you are out there struggling, you are not alone. All our therapists are providing sessions online. We will be adding new services to help more people during this time, shorter sessions, short term sessions, groups, workshops and reduced fees. If you are interested in more information or you would like a free consultation, fill HERE.
We care about our communities and want to support you so please reach out; we can help.
Stacy Lee, LMFT, has been employed at The Couples Institute in Menlo Park, CA, since 2008. She has trained with relationship experts Ellyn Bader, Ph.D and Peter Pearson, Ph.D. to provide innovative tools to couples and individuals. In 2019, Stacy became the Clinical Director of the institute’s therapy services. She is passionate about providing people with quality resources which includes building a network of skilled therapists to reach more couples and individuals.