As we are now in the 4th month of quarantine, social isolation, and people are feeling fearful, frustrated, resentful, irritated, and exhausted…
Everyone wants this pandemic to be over so we can return to whatever we’ve deemed a normal existence….
How many of you used to order your groceries online every week?
How many of you did 100% of your shopping online every day?
How many of you did homeschooling with your children beyond some help with homework?
There are lots of changes, and many of them will be with us for the foreseeable future.
As people feel increasingly tired of social distancing and feeling isolated and alone, you’ll see them start to take more risks. You may want to take more risks yourself. We each will have to determine what feels safe for us to do individually. You will have to determine what you do that is respectful for yourself and others.
There are still so many unknowns regarding this virus that everyone’s anxiety and stress levels remain very high. So, we each have to look at what we need as individuals to feel safe, then step back into a life that feels loving, supportive, rewarding and fulfilling. Everyone will have to assess what is reasonable and feasible.
I know several parents who have decided that they will continue with virtual school for their children as there are still too many variables for them to feel safe having them return to the classroom. On the other hand, there are parents who will no longer be able to work from home and need their children to be in the classroom. Everything is personal and individualized and has to be figured out based on your needs, feelings and reality; and we cannot judge others’ decisions.
If and when you are out and about in whatever ways feel acceptable or necessary for you, and you are wary of others who are not practicing healthy boundaries and behaviors, you will have to decide how you want to handle the situation. Do you feel you can speak up? Do you choose to leave? I believe that this pandemic has opened the door for us to be more assertive and clearer about our own needs and feelings…being able to state what we want &/or need.
Many people have expressed their increased comfort levels at being home and not venturing out, while others desperately feel the need to be back in a social setting. We all will have to determine what feels safe…what risks feel doable. Every decision is individual, and you need and deserve to respect your boundaries. If others judge you as being a “snowflake”, simply respond by saying “I’m doing what feels healthy and respectful to me and my family.”
When I was in graduate school my first year, my internship was on the lower east side of Manhattan in public housing. My assigned neighborhood was the apartment buildings within a 10-block radius, and in spite of high crimes and gangs, that became my familiar “bubble of safety.” The few times I had to go outside that area, I had to assess the risks so that I could feel safe. I may not have been any safer in my 10-block radius, but I felt safer, and that’s what all of us need to assess going forward. What new places will you choose to go to expand your “safe space?” Will it be a friend’s home, another family member’s home, a beach, a store, etc? What safety measures will you want to implement so that you can feel safer in new situations?
These are all personal choices and decisions and will most likely change over time, but from my perspective they will have to come from a space of self-respect, self-care and self-compassion because that’s all we ultimately have control over. We cannot control what other people do or how they will behave, so we have to ensure that we are clear about what we need and want.
These are challenging times and I hope that our weekly virtual visits create some additional support as we all navigate this new world together…coming from a space of love, compassion, and respect for ourselves and each other.
Thank you all for being here… and of course, remember to breathe… Have a peaceful and loving week ahead, and I’ll see you here next Wed. at 6 pm Eastern time…
And we breathe…