Sitting and drinking my morning coffee is the first step in my daily routine for staying sane during one of the craziest times I could have imagined. I’d like to share with you how I am staying sane and keeping myself from daily panic attacks.
It’s no secret that I live with anxiety, and at some point, my fears became a constant but unwelcome companion. When I realized how heavy the anxiety was, and how much it was impacting my life, I got help. Medication and therapy, plus a lot of reflection and self-work, and I felt like I was finally stepping off the hamster wheel of anxiety.
Then, global pandemic. COVID-19. Excuse me? My anxiety returned. I am afraid, with reason, of this new strain of coronavirus. But even as my family and I stay home, and follow all recommendations about handwashing and hygiene, I find myself on the verge of panic.
I can’t live this way, and I don’t want my kids or husband to be impacted by my runaway emotions.
I’ve found that creating a solid academic schedule for my kids has worked well for us. The kids’ schedule is cohesive with my routine which makes my life easier. When I am not fighting anxiety, my whole family is more relaxed.
The following are my tips for staying sane during the COVID-19 pandemic:
A healthy mom is a happy mom. And if I’m not happy then I won’t be at my best when the kids need me the most. They need a mom who isn’t curled up in a ball scared of the world right now. They need some sort of structure and they deserve to continue learning. By focusing on my self-care right now, I’m able to function and provide a constant source of structure and routine for them.
I’m thankful that I can work 90% from home so that my kids have the same daily schedule every day.
2. Pen to paper
Seriously, go grab that pen and write a letter. Do you know how long it has been since I actually hand wrote a letter to someone? I’m so focused on email that I never think of the smile that a real letter is sure to bring to the face of my oldest childhood friend. Because I know I’d be grinning from ear to ear if I saw her handwriting. And if you don’t want to write a letter, write a poem. Write lists. Write everything you’re thinking about.
You could even write a guest post for BurlingtonVT Moms Blog!
3. Start a craft
Do you remember friendship bracelets? The ones where you would grab several colors of string and make fun swirling bracelets? That’s what I’m doing. I’m not crafty. At all. But this has been something fun for me to do with my daughter, and I feel an extreme sense of nostalgia, which is relaxing and comforting.
4. Work on that to-do list
Did you want to start a new hobby? Do it! Do you have a list of home projects that you’ve been dying to tackle? Do them! Or maybe you simply want to organize and rearrange. Take this time to make a dent in the tasks you put off before.
5. Watch movies
It’s ok to let your kids go a little overboard with TV right now. I promise you this won’t be detrimental to them. My husband and I have allowed our kids to watch a movie daily. One of my favorite things is letting them watch movies that were my favorites when I was younger. So far we’ve finished Sister Act, Rookie of the Year, Kid in King Arthur’s Court, Flight of the Navigator, and many more. It wasn’t my plan to turn my kids into 1980s movie buffs, but we all really enjoy the extra time together.
At the end of the day, this new normal is challenging, interesting, and at times, oddly fulfilling. Somehow, I am staying sane during one of the most stressful times of my life.
I have spent years trying to feel like myself again, trying to find what makes me happy, and trying to move away from my anxiety. And while I certainly found aspects of my adult life fulfilling, something was still missing.
It was that simple. I was missing the time with my family. Between work and athletics, we were lucky to have a solid hour of family time during the week. And weekends were always booked months in advance. But now I have that time (pandemic silver linings, people).