It's OK to Not be OK
This is weird but I miss the early days of the pandemic: The country watching Tiger King together, sharing bread recipes and hosting Zoom happy hours. We expected those quaint days to last a few weeks, not imagining we’d still be here in June. On top of the pandemic, we have been dealing with police brutality, sky high unemployment, protests and riots. Not surprisingly, the statistics show that there is a surge in mental health symptoms like depression, anxiety, PTSD and insomnia. The isolation, uncertainty and fear are taking a toll.
I’m noticing among my clients, friends and even myself that we tend to minimize how hard everything is right now and the impact of world events on ourselves. When we’re struggling, we beat ourselves up that we can’t cope. The truth is that we are all doing the best we can. We are living in unprecedented times and the demands on us are unreasonable.
If you are struggling, here are some tips.
Let yourself feel the upset. This is not how we want our lives to be, and you don’t have to pretend it’s all ok. It’s not. Get mad, cry the tears, be sad. These are just feelings – let them come and go. Trust that they won’t last forever because they won’t.
Take excellent care of yourself. The most important thing you can do for yourself and your family right now is to take extra good care of yourself; this is how you become better equipped to deal with the ups and downs.
It helps to focus on the basics. Are you sleeping enough, eating healthy foods, moving your body every day, and connecting with people who support and love you? Self-care looks a little different during a global pandemic. It’s probably not an hour-long yoga class when you’re busy working and taking care of kids; it might be an extra-long shower. Maybe read some fiction when you first wake up. Start that meditation practice. Turn off Zoom and laugh at Tik Tok. Wear pants. Eat lunch on the porch a few times a week. Write down three things you’re grateful for before bed. Self- care can be simple and still nourishing.
Get supported. You can’t go through this alone: Who can support you right now? Connect with friends and family that love you. If you can’t handle another Zoom call, instead make a phone call, write an email, send a text, or social distance socialize in your driveway.
Reach out for professional help if needed. If you find that upping your self-care isn’t enough and you’re finding it hard to experience joy, then reach out and get supported. Call a coach. Call a therapist. Now is not the time to tough it out.
This is me with my older son, Finn, at the BLM protests in Kirkland. Self-care is important because it gives us the clarity to keep learning, growing and doing to better our communities.
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