In Arizona, schools announced yesterday that they would be closing physical buildings, moving to distance learning in many cases, for the remainder of the school year. The Governor announced an executive order to stay home unless you are deemed “essential.” These two things alone are creating chaos in a lot of people’s lives, amidst the panic of the virus itself, it is impacting people in ways that we have never experienced before.
But it is happening, whether we like it or not. This is our normal for a little while, and I am trying really hard not to fight it. I am trying really hard to settle in to what is in front of me, and all around me. I am working on my finding my “in the meantime” normal. When this is all said and done, we will probably go back to the way that things were before (perhaps with some changes, I expect), but for right now…this is what we’ve got.
In my perspective, it is about being intentional. I actually think that is true much of the time, but so much more so in our current climate. We have to be intentional about how we are taking care of ourselves within the parameters that have been given to us. So, each day, I ask myself these questions:
- What am I grateful for today? And I write down the answer
- How will I move my body today? There are lots of creative ways to do this, regardless of the gym closures.
- How will get outside today? Being outdoors is acceptable with social distancing and can do a lot for mood management-even if you are just choosing to eat your lunch on your patio.
- How can I connect with people today? Social distance does not need to mean social isolation. Give a call, plan a Zoom/Facetime/Skype date, choose a person and commit to checking on each other on the regular.
- What expectations can I let go of today? Our worlds have been turned upside down. We are postponing or missing weddings, graduations, proms, family reunions, baby showers, and all kinds of celebrations right now. We are postponing vacations and are unsure of what the future holds. And that sucks. And we have a right to be sad about that, we have a right to grieve the loss of all of these things alongside our normal. But it also is our reality right now and coming to terms with that is a part of the grief process.
- How can I find meaning or contribute today? For many of us, this time is more difficult than we could ever know. I do not mean, “find the silver lining” because I actually do not prefer that phrase. But I do mean that we can find some meaning in all of this mess with our behavior and how we treat other people. Pick up from the local restaurant trying to stay afloat, chalk your sidewalks for people who are walking their dog, write letters to people in nursing homes, make tik tok videos for the world to have some laughter, whatever it might be-do it. You will be surprised at how it elevates your mood.
This is not a perfect system. I do these things every day so that I can better tolerate what is happening in the world. I am aware that it will not magically make me wake up and have this all be a dream, but I am also aware that the alternative is not going to do that either, so I am choosing this instead. I hope you do, too.