If you are a parent, you might be trying to decide if you need to buy school supplies, or if you will do remote learning. Or maybe you are ready to homeschool your little ones. You might wonder how stable your job is at the moment.
What if everything closes again and you lose your job? Will unemployment benefits get extended? Are we receiving a second stimulus check? The list of questions goes on and on and on. There are no answers in sight, either!
COVID-19 New Normal
There is so much uncertainty in all aspects of our lives right now. Frankly, this “new normal” is horrible, and I can safely say that we are all sick and tired of it! As of this writing, almost half the country is under a mandatory face mask law. The other half?
They are leaving it up to the masses to decide. However, companies like Wal-Mart now require that you wear one, but the employees don’t want to be the ones enforcing this because the customers are crazy.
A customer screamed at my teenager because she refused to wear a mask inside the escape room where my daughter works. My sixteen-year-old CHILD had to tell this lady it was a law since the state government mandated it. The woman continued to argue, and my child told her she could wear it and do the room, or not put it on and go home. (Proud mama moment there; all those times I said either put your shoes on, or we don’t leave must have stuck!)
The point is, we are all tired. This lady is tired that she has to wear a mask she doesn’t believe will make any difference. People who understand the science behind mask-wearing are tired of trying to convince other people that they might save lives.
Employees everywhere are exhausted now that we have turned them into the mask police. We are all tired. We are all stressed. We are all annoyed and put out by some aspect of COVID-19. And that is not all that we are dealing with.
Racial tensions and misogynistic behavior
On top of the virus ramping up around, we are in the middle of a cultural revolution. There are Black Lives Matter protests all over the country. Armed militias are offering up counter protests. Supposedly, ANTIFA is running around, causing anarchy. The president is sending in federal troops.
POC are tired of trying to explain that they are people who have been oppressed and deserve equality. I am not a POC, so I don’t want to talk about how they feel, but I am angry. Most reasonable people are tired because racism still exists in this country, and we can’t make it better. Everyone should be weary of all of it, including the federal government’s overreach trying to silence innocent protesters.
Women are tired. We have been harassed and dehumanized for years, too. So much so that a grown congressman thinks it is ok to call a young congresswoman a F***ing B**** on the capitol building steps. Then it is newsworthy when she gives a speech defending herself.
So yeah, nothing is normal, and we are all tired. The question that many of us are asking ourselves is, “what do we do now?”
Remember to take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself looks a little different for everyone. However, there are some fundamentals that we can all apply to our lives. First, make sure you are taking care of your physiological needs.
Things like eating right, taking vitamins, and sleeping enough will help you maintain a healthier lifestyle. Lack of sleep and poor diet can lead to health issues, including heart disease. Besides, it is much easier to deal with stress when you are well.
Take steps to stay well mentally
“Life is absolutely insane. Yes, life is insane but the great wisdom lies in choosing your insanity wisely.”— Paulo Coelho
Second, to be well, we have to take care of our mental health too. Meditation, connecting with nature, disconnecting from the news (and social media), are ways that you can make sure you stay sane. My therapist told me to limit my exposure to stupid people once, and I laughed because I thought she was kidding.
She wasn’t, though. I realized that what she meant was not engaging in a Facebook war with a troll. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can not have intelligent conversations with people. But when it is a Facebook friend that you have never met and don’t even know how they got on your page…it isn’t worth the mental energy to engage. We have to conserve all of that right now!
There are a few apps that might help with this, such as Calm and Headspace. They are inexpensive and provide a wealth of mental health resources. I wouldn’t recommend an app over therapy (which might be an excellent time for), but they can offer a little help.
Learn to say “No”
Next, conserve your strength and use your time wisely. This might mean saying no to requests from your employer or friends. If your employer is short-staffed and asks you to put in more hours, you do not have to say yes! Wearing a mask for hours and hours is not pleasant, even when you agree with mask-wearing! You need your own time more than ever right now.
That time out of work is your time to recover and recoup. It is a necessary part of you maintaining your health and balance so you can be productive at work. You are your most prominent advocate and now is not the time to be shy about it.
Your friends might want to go out and party or take part in things you do not feel comfortable doing. It is ok to say that you feel like spending the night at home if that is what you want. It is ok to look out for you.
Part of that might be keeping a routine, and it is ok to protect that time. Please focus on the moment and the things that cause you to stress and limit them.
Show kindness and compassion
Last, we can all try a little harder to remember that everyone is not just looking out for them. My teenager, who got yelled at by the angry lady not wanting to mask up, is terrified that her slightly asthmatic, little brother will get COVID-19 because someone doesn’t do what they are supposed to.
What about the lady refusing to wear the mask? She might be concerned that the face cover will aggravate a medical condition. Maybe she is claustrophobic and gets panicky when wearing it, but is also tired of being trapped in her house. Now, I am not saying that those things give anyone the right to disobey the law and be rude, but maybe instead of being angry, we can all show each other a little more compassion.
Also, sometimes we need to remember to show ourselves that same kindness and compassion. It is ok if you feel more anxious than usual. It is ok if you have a rough moment or two. These are not regular times. Focus only on what you can control and try to let the rest work itself out.
There are no satisfactory answers
“No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don’t look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.”—Bob Parsons
Unfortunately, there is as much uncertainty surrounding the solutions as there are problems. I do not know what we all do now, other than the basics. Everything could change tomorrow, and what we do next might look different.
The only thing that will remain constant is our need to be resilient and grateful. Studies have found people that practice gratitude experience more positive emotions and have more robust immune systems! We could all use a little bit stronger immune systems right now!
Humans are capable of so many extraordinary things. I have faith that we can come out on the other side of all of this. We just need to remember that we are all human, and while we may not all be in the same boat, we are weathering the same storms.
Help one another when you can. Do one random act of kindness each day. Be the best parts of what makes us human beings: love, compassion, and intellect. I believe we are better than all of this.