We are about 3 weeks into our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and what was initially presented as a short(er) term response is now settling in for the long haul. There was a honeymoon period for many of us and the novelty is definitely starting to wear off.
For extroverts who need human interaction to recharge, this is a very real struggle. For introverts who need protected alone time and aren’t able to get it, that’s also a very real struggle. It’s not about embracing the chaos (although that is undeniably part of parenthood) – it’s about finding balance.
If you are one of those people beginning to struggle… be gentle with yourself. There is no road map for what we are experiencing. Everyone is different, but your mental health is so very important. If you are starting to feel the COVID-19 blues, take a moment to explore what YOU need for your personal wellbeing during these challenging times.
In case it’s helpful, I wanted to share some things that are working to help me find that balance alongside some great amazing suggestions that have been shared with me from others.
- Set an alarm. If you are someone who is content and happy in your PJs all day, by all means. But, this isn’t me. I have to still set my alarm and get up and get dressed for the day or I wander around all day feeling out of sorts and in a fog. I need this part of my routine to get my headspace online.
- Introverts need to find a space for that necessarily protected alone time. For me, this means finding time every day to be OUTSIDE alone. Additionally, I go to bed earlier than my family and read by myself to get that protected alone time that I used to get when my kids were at school.
- Create clutter-free zones. I realize this isn’t everyone, but telling me to “embrace clutter” is akin to asking me to listen to fingernails on a chalkboard all day long. I don’t function well in clutter, it sparks anxiety in me. I have been open and honest with my kids about this and every morning they help me get the house in order from the previous day. Mostly it’s all their little things that gradually congregate on my kitchen counters. I don’t expect perfection, but I do need clutter-free spaces.
- Create group text threads or touch base via phone. I am not an extrovert but all humans need humans. If you are extroverted, then this may need to be routine Skype chats or other creative outlets to help you get that more intense human connection you crave.
- Set daily goals. I thrive on productivity. I feel itchy if I am not getting things done, so setting small daily projects has been helpful for me. Sometimes that daily goal is a long bike ride with me kids, but I have to have something to accomplish each day.
- Find ways to engage in a Random Act of Kindness (following COVID-19 guidelines of course). This week, I let my kids each pick 3 friends to surprise and then they got dressed in black and we bombed their front yards with Easter eggs. We left a note and a flashlight on their doorstep and rang and ran. If you want to try this in your neighborhood, feel free to use this note that I created. The girls had a blast and I honestly did, too. I have decided to find other ways to do these little surprise acts of kindness for people we love because again, people need to feel that human connection.
- Turn off the media. It’s important to be informed but it’s also healthy to step away.
- Take a daily drive. Get out and remind yourself that there is a world out there waiting for us to return to it. If you don’t know where to go, check out this suggestion from a local Dayton mom.
- Take “10.” Give the adults in your household the ability to throw in the towel and step away. Go sit in the car by yourself, take a walk or go for a run… whatever you need to do to step away for a minute.
Finding out what works for you may take a bit of trial and error. If you have gotten creative with your family or found something that may help out a fellow mama, please share in the comments.