We are living in strange times folks. These are strange times indeed. We are social creatures. We are also creatures of habit, routine, and structure. Most people crave a balance of familiar and novel experiences. If you are practicing extensive social distancing right now then all of your previous habits, routines, and most of your former structure and balance between the familiar and novel just got thrown out the window. Schools out. Many parents are trying to figure out how to work from home, all while their spouse and children are also suddenly working from home. We are suddenly spending more time than ever before with our immediate families but at the same time we are cut off from our extended family, our friend family, our workout family, and any other family or community that used to fill our days and hearts. The days are all blurring into one another. Everything is new, we’ve never done this before, and everything is also the same. We’re looking at the same walls, the same faces, the same news reports the same everything all day every day.
How does one cope? My answer is with balance, resilience, and grace.
This will take time. This will take trial and error. Figure out the type of structure you need. Find your pillars. Do you have anything in your day that anchors you? Is it always having dinner at 6 p.m.? Is it a walk around the block with your family at noon? Is it your child’s bedtime routine? Find or create pillars in your schedule.
Balance social time with some solitude time if possible. It is ironic that during a time of social distancing one needs to be concerned about not getting enough solitude time, but if you live with people, you are most likely going to be seeing those people All. Of. The. Time. for the foreseeable future. If possible, carve out some time for yourself.
Connect. It is possible to be under the same roof as your loved ones and not connect. Use this time and space to really connect with them if possible.
Connect with those outside your family. Extensive social distancing is hard, but thankfully we live in a time where there are ample ways to stay connected.
These are hard times. Where do you find your resilience? People who rarely experience anxiety are now anxious. There are a lot of unknowns about really important parts of life right now. Almost all of us are concerned about finances, both our personal finances and that of our larger economy. We are concerned about our children’s education. We are concerned about all the things we do not know, and can’t yet know.
Reach deep. Call on your inner resilience to see you through. Where do you usually get your resilience from? Do you pray? Then pray now. Do you quiet your mind and meditate? Do that. Do you challenge yourself to prove to yourself that you got this? Then give yourself a challenge. Do you work out? Keep working out. Do you reflect on how you’ve conquered hard stuff before? Then reflect, journal, dig deep. Do you create? Then create. Do you go out in nature? Then go out in nature, just keep a 6 feet distance from anyone you see. What’s your key to your inner resilience? Whatever it is, take time to do it.
Know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. None of us know where it is, but we know it is there. Every storm passes. This one will too.
After students graduate college, they usually have a six month grace period before they have to start paying off their student loans (assuming they have student loans). This grace period is called a grace period because it’s a moment of grace to give them time to adjust to their new lives without school. It gives them a chance to find their footing as they develop new routines and acquire new skills, and get used to new responsibilities.
We can’t give ourselves a six month grace period on our lives right now. Our children need to be fed and nurtured. We need to continue to meet our responsibilities to ourselves and our families. But we can give ourselves grace when we make mistakes. We can be gentle with ourselves. We can be kind to ourselves. We can give ourselves grace and we forgive ourselves when we stumble figuring out how to manage all the things that got dropped down upon us in a single week.
This is a novel situation. We are suddenly managing working from home with the kids suddenly home from school, while also supervising an unplanned foray into either virtual schooling or homeschooling. And, because there is more, many of us are also adapting to sharing office space with our spouse, who will of course also be working from home for the foreseeable future.
We are doing this all the while no longer having access to our usual social meetings and gatherings. And on top of that we are anxious about our finances, our health, the health of our loved ones, and of course whether we will or not be able to find toilet paper when we need to. Most people would struggle with having to suddenly manage any one of those things. We are now managing most, or all, of these things right now.
This is the end of week one. We as individuals, and we as a community are going to figure things out. Do your best. If you haven’t seamlessly adjusted to this new life, then that means you are perfectly normal. Give yourself grace for your mistakes. Give yourself grace for anything you think you have failed at. This is week one. I don’t say this is week one in that this is only week one and we have a million more to go. What I mean is, this is week one. Of course it was hard. Of course you didn’t know what you were doing. We’re all figuring this out as we go. To your best, but be kind to yourself when you stumble. Give yourself the grace that you would give your best friend.
Love your family. Love your friends. Do your best. Balance, resilience, and grace. We got this! This is a bump in the journey. It is a very very big bump, but it is not the whole journey.
Wishing all our readers good health,