The past month has impacted nearly every area of family life. Work and school are now done at home. Family members in quarantine together are adjusting to being in the same place 24/7. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our extended families. Parents are under financial and emotional stress, routines have been disrupted, and some little ones are struggling with it all.
Some of us have moved into survival mode. When this happens, the brain shuts off what it considers nonessential functions. This can look different for each person. Some may be hyperviligent or have an increase in anxiety. Others may have more difficulty with focus and concentration. What used to come easily may be more of a struggle. For some, things seem surreal, and they may zone out frequently. We may find ourselves eating more due to boredom and stress. We may feel fatigued despite sleeping more than usual. Obsessive-compulsive tendencies may go into overdrive as we feel the desire to clean, organize, take come control over our world.
It’s helpful to remember what we can and can’t control. We don’t have control over how long the virus will last or if we will get sick, but we can control how well we follow the guidelines for social distancing and hygiene. We can make the decision to use healthy coping skills such as getting physical activity daily, finding alternative ways to reach out to friends and loved ones, exploring creative hobbies, checking in with ourselves to see what we need in the moment and what our next best step should be. Now more than ever, we are being forced to live in the moment and get in touch with ourselves.
We can try to find positives in every day. It’s helpful to make a list of them that you can refer back to on rough days. Our pets and children are glad we are home more. Mother nature is giving us a beautiful display: pink and white dogwood trees, vibrant green newborn leaves, fragrant honey suckle and lilacs, and longer, warmer days to soak it all in. We can tap into this underlying peace anytime we need to escape the chaos around us. The chaos is temporary. Beauty and love will go on.