Hi friends! How are you? Here we are in Week 5 of quarantine… and I confess this week has been hard for me. Not because anything has changed; we are all well and healthy. Praise God for that! But maybe it’s because NOTHING HAS CHANGED, that I’m feeling the monotony of it all. That, and the anxiety of what may (or may not) happen in the future. I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings.
But first and foremost, I think it helps to recognise that this is indeed a stressful and anxiety-inducing time. If we can acknowledge that we ARE under stress and we WILL feel anxiety from time to time, it helps relieve pressure that we should be handling this “perfectly”.
That said, there are things that have helped me navigate this time period as well and healthfully as possible, given the circumstances. And I say this even as I’m in “the valley” of not feeling that great this week. Here they are… and please, please add your own in the comments! Nothing would make my day more!
1. Take the short-term and long-term view: I’m trying to live one day at a time, recognizing that I not only can’t control what happens next week (or tomorrow!), but I can’t even predict it. Living within my 24-hour window helps me focus on what I’m grateful for (health, family, food to eat) and what I can control (my attitude, food choices, & sleep habits). Taking the long-term view helps me feel less anxious for return to “normal” life. Thinking that we may be doing “this” for not only the next few weeks, but the next few months, helps me take a deep breath and settle in. I’m trying to adjust my mind to this “new normal” (ie, our current situation, temporary but with an undefined end point) and create routines that feel good.
2. Speaking of routines, it helps me to have some! They’re definitely not the same as my usual, but they create structure in my day all the same. My schedule is later than normal given that the kids are still on Manila time for their online schooling (6pm-1am), but I still try to go to bed and wake up at the same (later) time each day. My eating habits have shifted later as well… I find I’m eating fewer, larger meals with not as many snacks in between. I’m not weighing or tracking anything, but just eating 1) what we have, and 2) what sounds good within that limit. Gone are my days of shopping every day, haha. So meal planning is much more essential.
Exercise has been mostly for my mental health, endorphins, and the connection I get from recording videos for my bootcamp ladies. I do have plans for obstacle-race competitions later in the year; whether those will pan out remains to be seen. So for now, I’m moving to stay healthy, physically & mentally.
3. I think mindset is everything… trying every day to focus on the positive, and be grateful for the blessings I have. Did my children wake up healthy today? Praise the Lord. Did I wake up healthy today? Praise the Lord. Do we have food to eat today? Thank you, Jesus. Too often I can overlook the blessings that are right in front of me, when these are the things that are most important. I’ve also realised that I now have the blessing of TIME with my 3 teenagers, who will so soon be leaving home to begin their own lives. I would never have this kind of time under normal circumstances. Here we are, all in the house together, with time to chat, play games, teach new skills like cooking, and just laugh ourselves silly. It’s a true gift.
4. I think it’s also important to acknowledge that there will be good days and bad days. I have cried almost every day at the loss that we are all facing, especially our kids who are Seniors. At the same time, I’ve also laughed until I’ve cried every day too! I think it’s all NORMAL. I also think it’s ok to NOT be productive. We don’t have to write a novel, learn a foreign language, or get a 6-pack. Watching Netflix on the sofa all day with a bowl of chips on your belly is perfectly acceptable! So is NOT cooking… and so is baking yourself silly and gaining the “quarantine 15.” IT’S ALL FINE, FRIENDS!!!
5. Reach out. Recognize that we are all in this together. It helps me so much to be in touch with my friends via Zoom, Marco Polo, FaceTime, etc. We certainly talk about the current situation, but we also talk about goals, dreams, kids, and life in general. It helps to take my mind off our present reality and realise that this won’t last forever. We WILL get through it, and I have to believe we will be stronger and more resilient as a result.
I encourage us all to “be gentle with ourselves”, as a good friend used to tell me all the time. Do GOOD to ourselves and to those around us. PRAY not just for healing, but for strength, resilience, and courage for every day.
Love you, friends!