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It’s ok if you are struggling right now

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It’s ok if you are struggling right now

How are you doing with everything that is going on in the world? It’s ok if you are struggling right now.

It’s ok if you are struggling right now

When I first found out that our plans would be radically changed for the foreseeable future, my mind went to all the things I hoped to accomplish at home.

I created a list with things like declutter the garage, finally get to that stack of clothes to mend, cook and bake all the things. I’m not saying that I won’t get to those things, but this is all a lot harder than I expected.

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I typically refer to myself as an optimistic realist, but I’m struggling with this more than I anticipated. Maybe you are too.

Empathy

I’m having a hard time focusing with all of the distractions. Not only by my kids who keep fighting or asking for help with their schoolwork but by the news and social media.

It feels scary sometimes, but it also just feels heavy and sad.

If you’re highly empathetic you may be carrying the weight of it all too. I feel for everyone who is still having to go to work and constantly wonder if they might be getting sick.

I feel for the people who have other medical things going on and wonder if they will be able to get the proper care they need. And what about everyone’s jobs and our economic future?

it's ok if you are struggling

Productivity

There is still so much unknown. And I don’t like unknowns. I’m a planner by nature and I’m driven and enjoy being productive.

But this has me feeling off. I’m not as motivated right now and I feel like I can’t plan. And that’s hard. It’s ok if you are struggling right now too.

It’s ok not to try to pretend like life is going on as normal. This isn’t normal. It’s ok to feel all the feelings and have bad days. We’re all going to have different experiences as we process and move through this.

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Don’t feel like you need to accomplish all of your goals while you’re home. If you get some things done, great, but if you don’t, that’s ok too.

It’s ok if you are struggling to do school at home with your kids. You might be like me and feel overwhelmed at trying to keep up with the papers and assignments from their teachers.

Or perhaps you were given nothing and trying to figure it all out on your own. Whatever your situation, go easy on yourself. Productivity for you and your kids will be different during this time and that’s ok.

Monotony

Life these days feels a little bit like Groundhog Day. Each day feels like the one before. It’s hard to even remember what day of the week it is at this point.

The normal things we would have to look forward to might be gone. Spring break next week? Well, it will look about the same as this week did but with less schoolwork.

Easter will clearly be spent at home. Summer vacation is looking less certain. My 40th birthday in just over a month will likely not be too exciting either. It does feel a bit like life has gotten out of control.

I wouldn’t say I’m bored because that rarely happens to me. I can always find something to do, but staying home every day is monotonous.

I’m not sure what to look forward to at this point. Leaving the house? Sure, but even with that, I will wonder if we feel safe when we return to ‘normal’ life.

it's ok if you are struggling

Heightened stress

There was so much that changed so quickly for everyone as we’ve been forced to simplify. People are trying to learn to do their jobs online or might be worried if they’ll even have a job in the future.

Kids are home from school and parents are trying to figure out what to do with that. Parents who are used to working from home are trying to figure out how to do that in a house full of people.

Combine all those changes with what is happening in the world and in our country and it causes a great deal of stress. Life feels out of control.

Even things that used to be simple like getting groceries now feel significantly more complicated. You try to conserve your food supply only to have your kid drop the entire box of Cheerios all over the floor.

The other day I was excited to make chicken enchiladas. I cooked the chicken and started getting out the ingredients only to realize I didn’t actually have enchilada sauce.

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I wanted to cry. It was something so simple, but everything feels magnified.

We’ve had to change our habits and be more thoughtful about what we’re doing. Maybe you’re also trying to save more money right now. All the changes and additional efforts get tiring.

I like predictability and I’ve been unhinged from everything I was used to. The same is true for my kids and my husband. We’re all trying to adjust but it inevitably creates additional stress.

The extroverts are struggling with missing their friends those of us who are introverts are struggling with being stuck with other people 24/7. It’s stressful.

What to do if you are struggling right now

Are you struggling right now too? Here are some things you can do to help you through it.

it's ok if you are struggling

Be honest

Be honest with yourself about what you’re feeling. Accept that there will be bad days. Hard days. Sad days.

You may feel disappointed about the things you had to miss out on. Maybe you’re feeling uncertain about the future.

Whatever thoughts and feelings you are having, be honest about them. Write them in a journal if you aren’t ready to talk to anyone else about it yet.

Once you are ready, share some of your thoughts and feelings with a trusted friend. It’s amazing the burden that can be lifted by simply saying things out loud.

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It’s ok if you are struggling through all of your all your feelings right now. Just don’t try to ignore them or bottle them up.

Don’t lose hope. Hold onto the belief that better days are coming. Don’t lose sight of everything that is still beautiful in the world.

Have patience

Be patient with yourself as you process this time in your life. Lower your expectations of yourself and try to be more realistic about what you can get accomplished.

You may have days you don’t feel like getting anything done. Allow that to be ok.

This one is particularly hard for me. I have so many things I want to get done, but I don’t have the capacity to do it all right now.

Waiting is hard. I want to plan. Given the circumstances and uncertainties, I can’t. I have to just accept that and learn to be patient.

Take things one day at a time. Don’t focus on next week or next month. Work on getting through each day. This is more of a marathon than a sprint and worrying about the future will just make it harder.

Work on having patience with other people too. It’s not easy especially when the people you live with begin driving you crazy and you’re stuck there with them.

Stressful situations bring out both the best and the worst in people. You can choose to grow even if you are struggling through this right now.

it's ok if you are struggling

Reach out

With our current restrictions, it would be really easy to hide away from the world. Don’t keep your struggles to yourself and isolate yourself even further.

Reach out to a friend. Talk on Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom so you can see each other’s faces. You’ll feel better and less alone as you are intentional in connecting with other people.

Do you know of someone else who is really struggling through this? Likely you do. Send them an e-card or text to check in with them. If you’re still going to grocery stores, check to see if they need anything before you go.

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This is a time where we need each other more than ever. While we need to be physically distanced right now, you don’t have to be emotionally distanced.

When you take the focus off yourself and look for how you can help or encourage someone else, you’ll find you also feel better in the process.

Notice triggers

What makes you feel even more stressed or sad? Notice what things are making you feel worse. Limit your exposure to those things.

What makes you feel happier and more hopeful? Spend more of your time and attention on that.

This isn’t about burying your head in the sand and ignoring everything that is going on in the world. The reality is that many of us are spending far too much time reading or watching things that are inciting additional fear.

Yes, be informed, but also choose to do more things that bring a smile to your face.

it's ok if you are struggling

Take care

On the days you’re up for it, do something productive. Go ahead and do some quick decluttering projects or do that cleaning task that you’ve been avoiding.

On the days you’re not up for it, don’t beat yourself up. Think about what you can do to care for yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally right now.

Make a list of what those things are. Maybe you like to read books, meditate, or do yoga. Listen to your body. Take a nap and just relax when needed.

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Allow yourself to process through this at your own pace. Back off your expectations for yourself and for others.

None of us have been through this before. We’re going to have our own breaking points.

Perspective & gratitude

Sometimes what I need is a shift in perspective. It’s easy for this situation to become very me focused. I can focus on how I am uncomfortable or not loving certain aspects of my life. If I dwell there, no good comes of it.

I try to refocus on what I am thankful for. There are always things to be grateful for and when I stop and look at the big picture I can see how good I truly have it.

I also accept that some days are just going to be tough. For this girl who likes to be as positive and encouraging as possible, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

I still hope to get to my planned projects, but each day won’t be a productive one. Some will be hard like today was where I feel like I can barely keep it together. But tomorrow is a new day.

What we all need right now is more patience and grace with ourselves and others.

It’s ok if you are struggling through this right now. You’re not alone.

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