How many of you feel like you are at the end? Perhaps the feeling of doom has taken over, hitting rock bottom has happened time and time again, you just don't feel like you are living anymore knowing that you are but you don't connect to it? We are living in a time in which everyones mental health is being severely impacted. From the old to the young and everyone in between. Many of us have been waking up with the dread of not knowing what to do so what do you do?
The pandemic has taken a toll on so many, me included. After everything I've been through in life, this still has me down and out. Everyday I wake up not knowing what to do. What meals should I cook, what activities can I plan, when can I get 5 minutes to myself for some self-care, how can I help those around me who are also suffering. Life hasn't stopped and yet for so many of us it feels like it has.
I lost my job and no one is hiring right now. Given, I don't even know if I can apply because we don't know what school will look like come Fall time. We don't know. We don't know so many things about this pandemic, about the virus. Not knowing is a huge struggle for me, it is a huge struggle for so many with anxiety. Many will tell you control what you can and let everything else come as is. Easier said than done when people's lives literally depend on certain outcomes now. Financial security, health, housing, everything is being impacted and though I feel blessed to live in Canada where I think we are doing a pretty good job, as are our leaders given everything going on, I'm still impacted by it.
I'm impacted by a child who is clearly struggling with everything (thank the universe playgrounds are opening soon) but she just doesn't understand and now everything is heightened to an extreme level because all of our baseline levels have increased. Where we may have had patience and understanding before, it's gone.
We literally wake up with no idea what the day holds and prior to 2020, some may have seen this as an excellent way to live. Wake up and take on the day and whatever comes your way. But what if the whatever is the same thing over and over and we are all living the Groundhog Day movie? What if we don't know what to do? What if we don't feel like we can do it much longer? Everything is changing all the time, that's what happens when you live during a scientific, global event. We don't know, we don't have all the answers so what are we suppose to do?
Plain and simple, survive. Adapt to do whatever you need to do to make it through the day and the next day. We are living in a time of uncertainty, we don't know what is coming or how long our lives will be restricted. Let the kids run wild, let them watch TV, eat treats, sleep in etc. Some kids need routine and that's okay too. Just don't feel the pressure or stress to make this time something. Do what you need to do for your family to survive. At the end of the day, we are all in this together and no one will come out ahead, nor should we be trying to outdo other people.
Every single one of my self-care measures has been taken away. Those self-care measures are what allow me to control my anxiety and live a seemingly "normal" life. Everything was taken away, not even one ounce of normalcy was left. I understand why, that's not what I'm saying but what I am saying is, mental health needs to be funded. There are an increasing number of people who are displaying new mental health issues, accordingly so. When what we use to get on in our daily lives is taken from us, we are left with literally nothing. With no support, no outlets, no self-care. Mental health falters and we are left clinging to survival everyday.
When I learned the local Canadian Mental Health Association was no longer offering counseling and will only be offering services to those with addictions (leaving out a large number of people with mental health issues who will no longer have access to services) I was heart broken. At a time in which more funding needs to be offered because the number of mental health issues is rising, programs that are so vital have been cut. It really leaves one feeling hopeless.
What do we do? We do what we have always done, we adapt and we keep going. We get up every morning and change our routines, we change how we view self-care. My self-care is not the same as it use to be. I'm grasping to find new ways of self-care but when you have no break from children, it is hard. It is hard to find 5 minutes because when you do, you just want to sit and take a breath. Some of my self-care measures are slowly coming back, but not to the extent they were before and they aren't as impactful as they use to be so I'm trying to find new ways to take care of me. It may not look the same or be as effective but at least I'm up everyday trying. I'm surviving and slowly making changes to turn things around. Its all I can do. Try new things, keep going.
The main difference for me now is that before, I had hope, I had a plan, I had answers, it was more about me taking control and doing things in the past where as now, there are so many uncontrollable unknowns that I can't do much. I can try to make plans, knowing they will change inevitably, I can try to find new self-care measures, knowing they may be taken away again, I can try and find a job knowing that I may have to quit come the second wave. The only known is that I'm taking another class towards my Masters Degree. It's one thing I can do regardless of what happens, that's a plus for distance learning for me!
Try to find time in your day to think about what you have lost (because we have all lost many things) and if you feel depressed, look at things you can do. Have your self-care measures all been taken away?Try some new things! I joined a running group with Bee and we do 5K once a week, socially distanced with people. Actual people. Out in the fresh air. It's something I've wanted to do for awhile so now was perfect to give it a try. I'm also taking another online course because my brain needs some stimulation! I need to be challenged and feel that power again, to find motivation. We bought a camper and plan on camping most of the summer/fall away. All these things I've been waiting to try and wanting to try, I'm doing them. I'm also getting back into reading. I have to find different measure of self-care but it doesn't mean they aren't there. Slowly, at least in Canada because our numbers are low, we are slowly starting to go back to life. I won't say normal because I don't think life will ever be normal. It never was and it won't be.
This event will change our world on a global level. So if you wake up tomorrow not knowing what to do, get online and learn something new. Go outside and enjoy the fresh air. Bake something you've always wanted to try. Connect with friends for lunch or dinner, socially distanced of course. Find new places by you to explore. Driving aimlessly is a great adventure! Try some new restaurants, most are still open for take out if you don't feel comfortable eating in. Find a self-care workbook on amazon (I just bought one called Mindful as Fuck) to work on each day. Join a group and collectively work together to make a difference or work on yourselves through healing. Change the way you do things, it's a time in life where we are being forced to, we have to accept where we are (which is easier said than done) but also know all those feelings and emotions are totally normal to be experiencing. I've had so many and they have been all over the place, I have cried so much during the past few months. I am doing things I'd never consider doing but Covid has taught me to live in the moment. Enjoy what you enjoy now, don't wait because we never know what the future will bring. You can still enjoy things in the moment while planning and being safe, but stop waiting. I waited for a very long time that now, I'm about living in the moment. It's all I can really do anyways so I'm trying to embrace it. Embrace what we are given but cry into a tub of ice cream too. It's all about balance. Let's just survive together. It's what we can do.
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