This is an uncertain time, I don’t have to tell you. We are being forced to adapt to living and working and family situations that are drastically different than our norm – and all of a sudden too. We are being asked to cope with an environment that feels unsafe, with a danger we don’t really understand. It’s like a huge scary natural disaster hit our area, and destroyed livelihoods, like Sandy. Except the danger continues day after day. It’s like 9/11. A sudden disappearance of the safety we took for granted. Except we can’t hug our friends.
You get it.
So we’re going to need different resources than before.
Resources are here but we have to be willing to shift and to dig for them.
Likely your old ways of coping aren’t sufficient to deal with a pandemic. You can’t online shop your way out of this. You can’t smoke or drink or eat your way out of this. Though, let me be clear, ice cream and a good beer, yes, sometimes in combination, are still happening at my house. You can’t even leave your house and go work out or do yoga or play Cards Against Humanity with friends. If perfectionism and rigid routines were your go-to ways of being calm, you’re having a tough time right now.
We need to feel connected and cared for. We need steadiness.
Adaptation is called for. (forgiving grammar is called for.)
So how is the pandemic version of you going to show up?
Pandemic You may be someone you’re not well acquainted with. You may have met her briefly in middle school or the labor and delivery room. In hard times, she shows up. She gets through things. And it’s time we dug out our- or crafted a new- satin cape and became her again.
You’ll recognize her:
She cares much less about her skin (its wrinkles and breakouts at least, though she takes care of its strength and thickness. She washes it and protects it and notices when things get under it). Same for the size of her thighs, only building her muscles to help her carry things.
She draws boundaries with selfish pushy people in ways that are simple and necessary and surprise her. She really cares less about what they think of her word choice. She is all out of Fs about that.
She shares supplies with her neighbors and checks on vulnerable friends. (She Facetimes with friends because she knows this helps with emotional regulation.)SHE DOES NOT HOARD TOILET PAPER. She asks for help without concern for her image. She realizes Brené Brown, as annoying as she sometimes is, has got something right about vulnerability. Denying ours makes us angry and alone and talking about it makes us powerful. She lets the bullshit go (high academic standards for 2nd grade homeschooling whilst attending to family mental health and physical health and income? ahahahahahaha) and and digs in to what matters. She reads books at night because even though she knew about sleep hygeine before and how disconnecting from screens helps us relax, she didn’t do it. Pandemic You knows she has to do it now. Not to be “good” or “right” but to get through this. She does not fuck around with self care. It is her secret weapon.
What is really really important right now?
Let the rest go.