I’m not going to lie, finding “me” time was already difficult before COVID-19. When the kids were in school, I was “just” juggling their school, bus, after school activities, while also working and supporting my husband through his second year of residency. After a week of being sick last week, I realized I couldn’t keep working my fingers to the bone, trying to pretend I wasn’t freaked out every time my husband came home from the hospital with a cough (which is every day, since he has pretty bad asthma). I couldn’t keep the kids on their schedule with school, learn the whole Google Classroom with an 8yo and 5yo (the latter of whom invariably managed to turn the laptop off every time I got up to help his sister), all while trying to work and never quite manage to keep the house clean.
And, to top it off, I was consuming the news non-stop.
Something needed to change. I felt like a god damn shell of a human being. Quarantine life, as much of a trauma it is, has forced me to realize I really do need to take care of myself. I need to find creative ways to fit in just a few minutes for me. Every day. I know this is something we are ALL struggling with, as we also juggle concern for our loved ones, job security, income loss, “homeschooling”/distance learning for our kids, our own health scares, loss, and generalized anxiety about the state of the world.
Coronavirus can suck it. If you’re worried, scared, or feeling alone, I hope you know I got you. We’ve got you. It’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to want to cry, scream, yell, or f*(&, do all three. Breathe. We’ve got you.*
I’m still reading the news daily, but now I’m waiting until I’ve taken the dog on a walk, spent at least a few minutes meditating, and taken some time to write. I’ve finally written a couple of chapters of my new book. Unlike previous chapters, I might not throw these away. Maybe. We’ll see.
Amidst all the worry and fear, I’ve carved myself a chunk of time, all before the kids wake up, just for me. Now, instead of wrestling with the alarm and dragging their unwilling bodies out of bed, we start the day with a 3-minute dance party as their favorite song blares (“Dance Monkey” by Tones and I) and they wiggle into their morning clothes.
The new routine has made me feel like a human again. It’s also helped me tackle head-on the anxiety I’m seeing in my kids. My daughter was paralyzed with fear last week that her dad, a doctor, might have the disease. She was convinced he was going to die. She barely talked for a day until his test came back negative. Thank God. We’re lucky, but knowing that doesn’t help with the feeling like there’s a giant sitting on our chests all the time.
For now, I’m trying to take joy in all the little things. Like, making coloring pages, no matter how amateurish they might be. It’s been a healing activity for me and my family.
And now, my 8yo is making her own, too! She’s working on it and tells me she’ll share it when it’s ready. I, for one, can’t wait to see it.
I hope you can all carve some time out for yourselves to feel joy, even if for the briefest of moments. We need all the hope we can get.
Peace and love to you all.
*Check out this article if you need more help coping.