Please know that no matter how you are feeling and responding these days to the challenges you face, you are responding normally to abnormal situations. I took the above header phrase from the second last sentence of this short Greater Good article (Q & A) with a psychiatrist:
Tips for Calming Your Pandemic Stress
I found this article by searching for information on how much we humans need social support. When I am feeling my worst and/or my busiest, that is when I most need time with friends. However, that is also the time when I am less likely to call people or to ask them to get together. This was true before the pandemic, and now there are new complexities and layers of weirdness attached to socializing!
How about you? Has your need for time with friends and/or family changed from before the pandemic? What changes have you made in your social life during the pandemic, and are those changes working for you? If not, what tweaks could you make to be more intentional about getting your (social and other) needs met during this time?
You are not alone, even when you feel alone. There are so many people all over the world who are going through the same or similar thoughts and feelings as you. I hope you are getting your social support needs met. If not, I hope you make time to reach out to people you care about, for some mutually rewarding discussions about these abnormal times.
At the beginning of the month, a teacher friend of mine was allowed back into school to retrieve the rest of her belongings from her classroom. She had not been there since mid-March of 2020. An administrator checked her into the building per their protocol, and she started walking down the hall. While walking, she just started to cry. "My body was crying, and my brain was so surprised, wondering what was happening!" She gave herself permission to keep crying and then sobbing once she was inside her classroom. She later told me, "I realized what I had taken for granted, in that school, with the students I love. My body was grieving the loss of all of that time in person with them."
In my back yard yesterday morning, my friend told me this story. After she left, I went in the house and asked Google to play, "It's Alright to Cry" by Rosie Greer, part of the 1972 Marlo Thomas album, Free to Be You and Me. One daughter liked it, the other one not so much.
With the pandemic and ongoing racial injustices and racist systems, I am more aware than ever of my white privilege. I am not usually able to 'allow' myself to be sad or to feel loss for very long. But Rosie Greer is right -- It's alright to cry. Part of having self-compassion is being able to acknowledge the things we are sad about or have lost, even if we know that we have it easier than so many other people. When is the last time you cried?
Caring for Yourself and Others
In searching for good resources to share with you, I found a website that includes many standard activities, as well as unique and quirky ideas you can try if you want to take care of yourself, entertain your kids, connect with others, do things for other people, etc. Scroll down the page and click on the boxes of interest under, What Do You Want to Do:
Self-Care and Fun Activities at Home
I hope you find some fun and/or helpful ideas to implement, to help you keep going in these trying times. Best wishes with your work, relationships, responsibilities, challenges, and joys.
Kim Bartels is an Executive Coach and Career Counselor for women and other diverse leaders.