As I write this post, my family has officially been quarantining due to COVID-19 for one month. It’s been one month full of togetherness, disappointment, stress, messes, and generally just losing my sanity as a person and as a mother. This past month wasn’t one that I would choose to go back and relive any time soon.
All things considered, though, I think I’ve managed to maintain my sanity fairly well despite the difficulties we’ve faced in the last month. That’s not to say it’s been perfect. There was one night in particular when I was so stressed out and fed up with my husband that I had an outburst that would have made my teenage self proud. I proceeded to shout irrational things and literally stomped up the stairs (ironically, the same stairs that I stomped up as a teen, since we live in the house where I grew up) and went to cry in the shower. It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows in the Estess house, trust me.
On the whole, though, we’re doing okay.
There are two practices that I’ve been trying to implement in my daily life, now more than ever before, and I think these two things have truly been the key to my sanity. I figured I would let you all in on my little secret weapons, in hopes that these same ideas will help you maintain some sanity, too.
At the top of the list is the idea of grace.
The idea of giving yourself grace is fairly cliche. We say it a lot, sure. Often, I think, we use it in the context of advice to our friends. If a friend is having a rough time, I’m the first to remind her to show herself some grace and be kind to herself. I’ve been the recipient of that same advice frequently, too. But how often do we show ourselves the same grace that we advise others to show to themselves?
My mantra in the last few weeks has simply been:
“Show yourself the same grace that you would tell a friend to show herself.”
It’s amazingly simple, but I swear that it works. Kids destroyed the living room and I’m too wiped out from the day to deal with it? “Show yourself the same grace that you would tell a friend to show herself.” Would I allow a friend to beat herself up over a messy living room? Heck, no. Why shouldn’t I show myself the same respect?
The other key to maintaining my sanity recently has been to focus on daily gratitude.
If you know me at all, you may know that I’m a huge Rachel Hollis fan girl. My pal Rach always talks about the idea of starting every day off by focusing on five things that you are grateful for in your life that day. This idea is so important because it sets you up to frame the day ahead with a grateful mind. I will be the first to admit that lately, it’s been harder than normal to find the good in some days. By forcing myself to look for it, even when I have to look hard, I am re-framing the narrative of my current situation.
Why yes, it is hard. Yes, I would much rather my daughter be in school, upcoming events not be canceled, and I’d kill to just return to life as it looked a few months ago. But, despite it all, there is something to be grateful for each and every day. Focusing my mind on those things really does help, even when I hate to admit it.
So, there you have it. Grace and gratitude, the keys to my sanity. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s certainly helping. Give these ideas a try (even if it feels too cheesy for words) and let me know what you think.