I want to start this by sending my thoughts and prayers to everyone during this time. I hope you and your families are well and staying healthy.
Like most of you, I’m still a little shell shocked by what has been happening the past month or so. I’ve seen similar outbreaks in my lifetime, but not nearly with this much media attention or impact. There has been nothing quite like this and I think a lot of us can agree on that.
March started great and turned sour really fast. I managed to start my new job and celebrate my birthday the week before this outbreak started to go up in smoke. I am grateful for those moments. Navigating my new job remotely has been difficult, and last week we received news that our pay and hours were going to be cut for the next few months. That was a tough pill to swallow, and I was not expecting it from our relatively strong and smart company. On the flip side, I feel they are being proactive and if this means I get to keep my job at the end of this, I will take the temporary pain. The products we make save and improve lives, so there will be an uptick coming and they will need all of us to get through that time as well. I trust our leadership and we will get through this.
Before I get into the 3 things I’ve learned, I want to mention that I still have no clue what I’m doing most days – haha. I haven’t found the perfect routine or recipe, and I’m spending a lot (too much) of time on my phone. I’ll be honest – that hasn’t helped. There is a lot of judgment right now and many opinions on what people “should” and “shouldn’t” be doing. (and it’s not about staying home – I think generally speaking (in MN anyway) people are doing their best and doing a good job). If I’m honest, it’s not helpful for anyone right now and all it does is cast negativity in a time where there is enough of that to go around.
Onto the 3 things I’ve learned:
1. Relationships are absolutely critical.
I think for the most part I already knew this, but now more than ever I am realizing just how important it is to place human relationships above all else in life. The zoom calls with friends, the virtual work happy hours, the “I’m thinking of you” email – these are the things that are saving me during this time.
I’m especially noticing it as my grandma is battling severe dementia (honestly it’s probably Alzheimer’s just not diagnosed yet) and alone in a nursing home. No one can call her, there are no longer social activities, and my grandpa cannot sit by her side like he did every day for the last year. I’ve grown concerned about her mental state even more so, and pray that nothing happens while we are under this lock down. I couldn’t bear the thought of any of us not being able to see her if she took a turn for the worse. I know many families are also going through something similar and it’s easy to forget our most vulnerable population during this time. They still need relationships too, and even more so now I see the importance of this.
2. Grant grace to EVERYONE – yourself included.
Everyone’s lives just got flipped UPSIDE DOWN and to expect people to respond & react the same way as you is naive. Just like before, we all have different perspectives, life stories and experiences that shape the way we are handling this and we must allow grace to each other as we navigate through it. That also includes grace to ourselves. I know I personally get energy from being around people and going places, so I’ve had to mourn the loss of some of those things, but also be grateful for my home, health and job. Just because you have those things, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be sad about cancelled trips, life events, etc.
Things are simply not the same, and we’re not going to be able to operate the same as we once did. Have humility, extend grace, and find ways to move forward together. It’ll do wonders for your mental and physical health too. 🙂
3. Have something to look forward to.
This is something that took me a couple of weeks to figure out. Just as in non-quarantine life, having something to look forward to can make a difficult time a little easier – especially when a lot of those things have just been cancelled. Here are some things I’ve started to plan for myself in hopes to give you ideas:
- Trying a new recipe
- Scheduling weekly virtual game nights or happy hours
- Tackling a home project/decorating
- Brainstorming vacation ideas for when we can travel again
- Implementing a weekly takeout night for dinner
- Learning a new game/skill
- Joining free webinars in my area of expertise to keep my skills sharp
- Reading a new book
- Starting a new TV series
- Looking through old photos/home videos
- Clearing closets/clutter for future donations to Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. (maybe it’s just me who looks forward to this – haha!)
- Making/writing snail mail to family & friends
- Having a bonfire/roasting marshmallows
- Visiting a local trail/park (as long as it’s not too busy!) and picking up takeout/drinks afterwards
We’ve implemented a few of these and are already planning a fall vacation and it has helped lift my spirits during this time.
I hope you found this post valuable or at least comforting. Stay close to people, grant grace, and find something to make you excited about the future. I’d love to hear what you’ve learned as well, so please share with me in the comments.