This vulnerable and unpredictable time we are living is testing us in many ways. We are all in different situations, negotiating an assortment of challenges. For some, the fear of scarcity and daily uncertainty is not a novel experience, for others it challenges the safety net they’ve been privileged to not even think about until now. However, this time we are experiencing what Brené Brown calls “an experiment of collective vulnerability”-- one in which directions haven’t been written for. We are narrating this time as we adapt to this new reality of living during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’ve been digging large holes in my backyard, 3 feet deep and 3 feet wide. The soil is a rich brown, earthworms pop through as the shovel awakens their winter slumber. I dig until I hit the sandy layer, an indication that I’ve dug deep enough. I battle with the many roots, old, gnarly and some sustaining the large oak tree nearby. A row of deep green arborvitae trees await a spot in their new home where their roots can settle in and grow.
The “stay home” order allows me the time for this home project, sooner than planned. When feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I go outside, take a walk, dig in the garden, take photos of the emerging blossoms or sit, take deep breaths of fresh air and listen to the orchestra of sounds around me. This is what “self-care” looks like to me as a middle-aged adult and parent.
There are many suggestions out there for self-care these days. I challenge us to take this time to appreciate the variety of ways people are coping; the small moments, the simple and the undiscovered. Below is a list of collected “self-care” recommendations and links to exercises and resources.
Mental Health Care:
All this is to say these are stressful, unpredictable times and you need to take care of yourself. Remember there is no correct way to be feeling right now, what you feel is what you feel. It’s helpful to recognize that your feelings aren’t who you are. (“I feel angry” vs. “I am angry”) Within your control are some of the choices you can make to care for yourself in this challenging time. In the meantime, while there is a break in the rain, I’ll take some deep breaths, go back outside with my shovel and continue digging in the dirt.
Stay safe out there.