Love (and resilience) in the time of Covid
I went on a long run the other day and couldn’t for the life of me find my phone. So, I told myself, screw it, I’ll go without it. No music, no podcast, no text alerts; just me and the open road. That hour-long run might have been the longest non-distracted chunk of time I’ve had to myself, with myself, in a while. Time to really take in what is going on and process it all.
So, I started to think. Having a Type A personality, I’ve always thrived on lists, structure and control. Well if the current state of the world has highlighted anything, it’s that we cannot control our lives entirely. We interact with the environment around us, and as humans, we are simply incapable of controlling every variable. What we can control is our perspective. Yes, I know, that might make you want to vomit a little in your mouth, but it’s true. We each have the ability every single day, in every single situation to choose our perspective.
2015-Kristen would have read the COVID updates and articles on repeat, putting my anxiety into overdrive. I would have honed-in on the scariest stories, the numbers and the worst-case scenarios. I would have carried that shit around with me all day, every day. But that wouldn’t make me more diligent or safe. And that certainly wouldn’t have made me a better mom, or a better partner or business-owner or worker. I know that in order to have the energy and the mindset to get through these times, I have to protect myself from living with fear as the driving force. I do that by reading an official update every couple of days mid-afternoon, never first thing in the morning or before bed. I take it day by day. I’ve let my futuristic mindset melt away. I don’t have control over exactly what my June will look like, or my August, or my fall.
I’ve been racing at the speed of light over the last few months, with the end of my maternity leave, heading back to my 9 to 5 job and starting bump and bae. I’ve been speeding through the day, only to repeat it all again the next day. I kept telling myself, I would do anything for some free time, even just an hour or a day off. Now, I’m definitely not off at the moment. I’ve got my 1 ½ year old wild child, I started a new job in March, and I’m running a business. But the days are a little slower; I’m not spending time getting ready for work each morning, I’m getting to walk my dog twice a day, I’m getting to see what it’s like to lean in to this experience and I’m getting the chance to really learn, support and fumble through it all with my husband.
So, I get back from my amazing, reflective, cup-filling run and feel pretty damn good. It’s all about your mindset, I tell myself. I’m so glad that I was able to really process this situation. I’ll write a blog about it. Well, then the next day after a crappy night’s sleep, I start my day reading a few articles. And I feel the panic creep in, I feel the discomfort and my skin is crawling. I start to feel claustrophobic and trapped. I feel like a fraud for wanting to write about this. I mean less than a day later, and I’m feeling trapped like a little mouse. Oh, the human brain. Wired to protect us, yet unable to see its trigger-happy shortcomings. Well thank goodness for the mind. I’m glad I fell down the rabbit-hole so soon after my aha moment. It makes me realize it’s ok to have the whole spectrum of emotions right now. It’s ok to have great days, and some shittier days. This is when you need to access your outlets. This is when you need to call your friend or your mom to help you see through the muddy waters. This is where you need to take a break. This is why you need to check in on others.
I drove by a sign today that read “We’re all in this together,” and I just about burst into tears. I’ve heard it before, and I’ve said it myself, but today it actually hit me. I’ve had feelings of sadness, bitterness, annoyance, anger, frustration, but so has every other person on this planet. It’s not fair, it’s hard, it’s scary, but it will be ok. As Michael A. Singer wrote in the Untethered Soul; “Everything will be okay as soon as you are okay with everything. And that's the only time everything will be okay’’. Again, it comes back to understanding that we don’t have control over this; this is bigger than you or I. What we do have control over is what part we play in it as a citizen in our community, and over our perspective, emotions and our reactions right now. If we can control how we respond, we can help ourselves become more resilient in the middle of a challenging and uncertain time.
People are connecting with friends and families more than ever before. We are not leading with efficiency at all costs. We are seeing how much people want to help complete strangers. We are making changes to how we operate in society by putting long overdue health practises in place. We are letting go of the junk in our homes and we are letting go of all the junk that no longer serves us. The human spirit is a mighty one, and we’ll be ok. And if you don’t feel like you’re ok, call someone. And if you don’t know who to call, here are a few resources to help you.