First, and most importantly, I hope you find this post in good health. It’s surreal how life is “typical” one day and anything but the next. My and my kids’ last memory prior to the shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 was at a place we frequent every Wednesday. Except it happened to be Monday—I knew we would miss the opportunity had we waited even a few more hours. Ice cream on the patio at Nuggs with the sun beaming is forever etched in my mind. My kids were ambivalent that the life as they knew it was about to change—drastically.
Reading the news headlines is enough to freak anyone out. How I react to the world will be a teaching moment for my children. My hope is that when life delivers the unexpected they will be flexible, adapt and remain positive rather than become paralyzed by fear. It’s apparent that they are watching my every move. So, I take a few deep breaths and place energy towards those things that bring hope and joy.
Since I’ve instantly become a Kindergarten, 1st grade and SpEd teacher, OT, PT, SLP, soccer coach… and the list goes on… I am feeling crazy overwhelmed. I’m taking it one activity at a time, one minute at a time. Finding ways to decompress and maintain perspective has become paramount—perhaps the key is giving myself grace. There are four practices that I come back to time and again to help maintain focus, presence and positivity. My hope is that my kids take note of and use the coping skills that they feel work best for them, or better yet, come up with their own. Perhaps something here may also resonate with you.
Each day, whether in my mind, on paper or both, I try to note at least 20 things for which I’m grateful. When I began this exercise I listed things like my kids, my health, rockstar parking and good hair days. Overtime it became allowing myself to be loved, feeling comfortable asking for help, twinkling stars, the scent of pine, the truth and even poop. It’s interesting to see how written gratitude changes along the way. While going places, I also try to appreciate green lights, sunshine on my skin, the person who flashed a smile and the trees that help clean the air. I often send positive energy and gratitude to people I see out and about… to the homeless man on the corner, the construction worker building great new things, the package delivery person, etc. While we don’t have direct interaction, I’m still convinced that they somehow feel the positive energy that I send their way.
“The world’s just spinning a little too fast. If things don’t slow down soon, we might not last. So just for the moment, let’s be still.” Let’s Be Still by The Head and the Heart provides great perspective that I feel applies especially now. Meditation does just that. Learning to slow my mind to truly reap its rewards took time for me. If you are just beginning, stick with it… it gets easier. If you regularly practice, it may be tricky to carve out time amidst everything happening. That’s where a schedule becomes critical. Each morning I sit with my kids and create a schedule for the day so everyone knows what to expect and I know that I’ll get a sliver of me time. When that comes, these inspire and fill my soul:
Morning intention setting
Chackra balancing + alignment
Sleep meditation for healing
The outdoors works miracles. It helps boost energy and your immune system, enhances creativity (nature truly is beautiful and awe-inspiring), provides a dose of vitamin D, restores focus and provides free aromatherapy. Right now we are limited to where we can go, but hanging out in the backyard roasting s’mores with the kids, working on the patio, walking around the neighborhood, painting rocks and even applying compost to the lawn has raised my spirits. Simply listening to the birds chirping with my eyes closed brings joy. Life is status quo for the birds, squirrels and insects. At least some things in this world seem unaffected by COVID-19.
Should you drive by my house in the early hours of the morning, you will see a light show through our glass door. Each day starts with a dance party and I have to say, it’s the absolute best. We take turns listening to our favorite songs. For my daughter, it’s What Does The Fox Say? and Good as Hell. For my son, it’s Centuries and Right Now. For me, it’s You Need to Calm Down and “99”. We set the playlist and dance like everyone is watching. Sometimes our dance parties carry over to other places, like Top Golf, the airport and Whole Foods. It happens wherever we feel inspired. Sometimes others even join in. Mostly we get smiles and laughs. Always say “yes” to dancing.
The universe is testing us–our resiliency, resourcefulness and ability to innovate. I firmly believe that we can overcome anything that’s thrown our way. It’s all about the mindset we choose to adopt. We’ve got this.
What helps you stay positive and keep perspective? I’m curious to learn what works for you!