The time we are in right now is so uncertain, and it’s something we’ve never seen before. People are becoming sick. Some are dying. Countries are being quarantined. Restaurants, bars, theaters, and much more have been shut down. Work has stopped. Bills have not. The media is going crazy. Things become stocked and emptied within minutes. Stores don’t have basic essentials on hand. It’s a lot for anyone to take in.
The life we had is literally on pause right now, in almost every aspect. It’s so easy to fall into this slump right now, and for some of us it’s our first instincts. When things get difficult it’s easy to become complacent. I’m also NOT one of those people who thrive under stress. I wish I was.
If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of thoughts swirling around in your head right now.
“What’s going to happen if there is a mandatory quarantine?” “What’s going to happen if Jordan can’t go to work?” “What if Jordan can’t GET any work?” (Jordan is mostly self employed for those of you who don’t know) “What if we run out of food/toilet paper/diapers/wipes/etc.” “Gosh, should we have hoarded like everyone else?” “When is this going to be over?”
The fact that we are given new, important information to digest on a daily basis, doesn’t help either. Sometimes, it can feel like we’re drowning but, I also feel I need to keep up on current happenings so I can be better prepared for my daughter.
Some of you are going to stop here and think, “What the heck does she mean, ‘be better prepared for her daughter?'” If you are confused by what I meant, I would ask you to go look at the diaper or baby food aisle at your local Walmart or Target.
I know some of you are going to point out that this is the bread aisle but I forgot to get some of the baby section. It all looks the same honestly.
I guess I sort of feel like I’m being pulled in two different directions with this. In the past when I got overwhelmed with information, i.e. the 2016 election, I just shut it all off. I stopped allowing it into my life. This is so much different. I have to face this head on but I also have to handle the stress and anxiety that comes with this in a healthy way, as to make sure I don’t take it out on my loved ones who don’t deserve it.
I should probably mention that this was definitely not the article I had originally planned on writing this week. Actually, the article I planned is sitting half written as you read this. I figured that I’m probably not the only one who is dealing with these feelings though, so I thought I’d share what has been helping me cope. I hope these can help you.
This is one of the main things I’ve been pushing to still do. I think one of the most important things you can do when everything around you is chaotic, is to keep your routine as normal as possible. I get it, you can’t go to work or do much but that’s something you can’t really control right now. Let’s focus on things you can control. Can you wake up at normal time? Can you still make yourself breakfast and coffee? Can you still take a shower and get ready for the day? Perfect then do that. This will keep you in the right headspace so you are able to take in information in a less overwhelming, more effective manner.
Don’t get me wrong though, I struggle with it too. I think it’s our learned instinct to be lazy in times like these, but we have to fight those feelings so we can be more effective in the days we’re in.
I’ll be honest, yesterday I had a bummer of a day. It was just one of those days that I did not want to do anything. I felt overwhelmed and I spent the majority of the day watching movies with my almost one year old. It was definitely a wash of a day for both of us. As a result, when I was going to bed I almost intentionally didn’t set my alarms for the next morning. I wanted to sleep in and do nothing, again. In that split moment in time it occured to me, I could let that day’s feelings transfer over and ruin another perfectly good day or I could change my attitude and tackle the next day head on. I made the very conscious decision to not allow those feelings into my tomorrow. Every day starts anew and I am going to make the best of it.
So that means I set my alarms. I wake up at 5:30, work out, shower, do some journaling, eat breakfast, and read a little all before Juniper wakes up. That is my routine and I need to stick.
I promise you, if you find a routine and stay with it as close as possible, not only will you feel better, you’ll have more energy for the day, you’ll be able to be more present for your life. If you can’t control what is going on around you, control what you can. Don’t let this time go to waste. Be effective.
I’m going to take a bunny trail real quick. It has very little to do with what this article was intended for but it might help someone so I’m going to address it anyways. Very frequently people ask me why I get up so early when I don’t have to.
I am not a morning person and I don’t like waking up before the sun. What I do enjoy is a little time I to myself though, and I rather it be in the morning so I’m not giving myself the leftovers of the day. I deserve more than that. Juniper deserves more than that, and that’s very important to me. I need to put myself first so I can be a better mom to Juniper and that means I get up at 5:30 and focus on myself and myself only.
No caption needed.
Some of you are thinking that this is absolutely not for you, and that’s okay. I use to think that too. Bottom line, you need to do what’s best for you and your family and this is what’s best for mine.
So apparently some of you have the ability to just shut off your brain and stop thinking? I literally can not compute the idea that people don’t have an endless string of thoughts going through their heads at all times. It’s mind blowing. I don’t understand how one is able to do that nonetheless understand how to implement that into my life.
Since my brain is always on and always rolling through some kind of thought, I can unintentionally get off on a bunny trail that give me anxiety. Once I’m on those kind of ideas it’s hard for me to get them out of my head. It’s almost like my head becomes fixated on them at that point. This is where distracting my mind comes into play. I can’t force the thoughts out but I can show my head a “shinier” option to let it focus on.
So to start you off, here are some of my favorite ways to distract myself.
First off reading. I love reading so this one wasn’t a far leap for me, but I know a lot of people don’t enjoy it, and to that I say… You just haven’t found the right book yet.
In all seriousness I began to notice that when I read, my mind I was able to let go of any anxiety I was feeling and focus on the story at hand. Sometimes it’s hard to read or to find time to read, especially when you have a toddler running around, but if you can I would highly suggest it!
If you need a good place to start I here are some books I have recently really enjoyed. To start off, I’ve always found solace in reading my Bible. I don’t know what religion you cling to but reading my Bible gives me great peace.
If you are looking for some non-religious suggestions; Rachel Hollis’ non-fiction books “Girl, Wash Your Face” and “Girl, Stop Apologizing.” These books are fantastic books if you are wanting to do some self development. Honestly though these are just good reads all around and I would suggest these to anyone, really.
Stanley Gordon West’s fiction book “Until They Bring the Streetcars Back.” This one reads like a true story, and it really highlights the good in humanity. I will warn you though, it also shines a light on the bad in the world as well. This was a book had me in tears on my couch, but I would still recommend.
If you are into adventure books I would 100% check out, Megan Jessie’s fiction book “A Lady’s Odyssey.” I know by the sounds of it some of you are going to think it is a womans read only. You are wrong. This book was written for men and women alike, and if you like action and adventure you’ll love this book. It’s also written in such a way that you can get lost for hours reading, it’s just that good.
Okay I know how this sounds BUT, HEAR. ME. OUT. Aren’t most of you endlessly scrolling through social media already? Isn’t that where we are getting bombarded with information the most? I don’t know about you but I’ve had to cut down my social media intake right now because it is just too much information. So periodically I will take a break and scroll through some meaningless videos instead.
At first, I was one of those people who thought Tik Tok was dumb and only for teenagers. I really only downloaded it as a joke and to see what it was all about. Now, I am hooked. It is definitely not for everyone, just like reading, but watching those videos allows my mind to shut off for a little while and forget what’s going on around me. Honestly, these videos don’t do much for me other than that, but that’s the whole point of this article, right?
Here is where I give you two warnings about TikTok. There are a lot of different people from all sorts of different backgrounds making videos, and some people enjoy a good cuss word… or fifty. I’m not one of those people. I will shut things off if the words being said are making me uncomfortable. That’s just me though. You do you. Saying that, I have also noticed the more time I spend on the app the less videos on the “For You” page contain cussing. This probably has something to do with some kind of science-y algorithm but I don’t know. I don’t science. That’s just what I’ve noticed.
Secondly, I would recommend setting a timer. Just like any app you can get lost in an endless scroll. I feel like this one is just a hair worse, though, because, it is more entertaining than your average social media site. You also can’t see the time on your phone when you’re on Tik Tok. I will give them credit though, they do have random videos that pop up and recommend you take a break if you’ve been on for an extended amount of time. Don’t let it get to that point, though. Don’t be a Mallory. Set a timer and when it goes off, be done.
I don’t know about you but I love being able to set aside time to connect with my partner. There is something about it that just lets the steam out. It helps me forget about the day.
Don’t sit there and talk about the same things that are giving you those overwhelming feeling, though. It’s so easy to do since that’s what is being put in front of us constantly right now, but doing that will probably have the exact opposite effect you want for a date night. Do an activity! Have “safe” topics set aside just in case you need some ideas to draw from.
Side note, the original article I had planned for this week was more date night ideas. I think I’m going to finish that article and post it as an extra so you guys have some more ideas to pull from. Jordan planned this date and he did SO good. I’m super excited to share it with you all!
This was us on our most recent date night.
Admittedly this concept sounds easier said than done, especially right now. As we get pounded with “breaking news” everyday, as we slowly lose sight of the “normal” we once had, as we experience a different kind of stir crazy then ever before, we need to be able to stay calm and stay centered. So what does that mean for us? It means we have to take some time for ourselves to regroup, relax and recenter yourself. Selfcare. That way you will be able to navigate the days we’re in properly and more effectively.
I already talked to you about how I spend “me time” in the morning, which is essential to starting off my day on the right note. Sometimes you have a rough day, though. Sometimes you need some purposeful relaxation time throughout the day to let go of all the tension and worry you are holding on to. So let’s push through. Let’s make time for ourselves. Let’s intentionally try to be the best versions of ourselves possible. That way we can show up better for everyone in our lives.
Take a bath
I feel the need to clarify here. When I say “take a bath” I do not mean sitting in one’s own filth and trying to become clean. I find bathing in my own dirtiness disgusting, so I’m always clean when I do take a bath. When I talk about taking a bath, I mean I turn the water to near boiling, I throw a bath bomb in there, light a candle, shut the lights off, turn on some soothing music, and just lay there. I sometimes bring a movie in on my laptop, but lately I’ve just been soaking.
This is something I use to do all the time. I would say it stopped a few years back when we bought our house. Unfortunately, our downstairs bath tub is really narrow. Every single time I tried to take a bath I felt like the tub version of Tommy Boy. You know, when Chris Farley playing Tommy puts on Richards coat, who is played by David Spade. If you have not seen this movie you should. I mean we’re all pretty much quarantined anyways so, put it on your list of things to watch this week. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to link the scene here, because you NEED this visual.
Have you watched the video? No!? Well stop reading and click that link. I really need you to have this reference before you continue reading. Don’t worry I’ll be here when you get back.
You did it? You watched the clip? WASN’T IT FUNNY??? No? Well okay then, at least you’ll have the reference now, I guess. Moving on.
Now imagine me in my swimming suit. No, I don’t take a bath in my swimming suit but I really don’t want you picturing me naked either. Anywho, I’m in my swimsuit, I’m getting in the tub, I have big hips and I can hardly sit down. I feel like I’m spilling over and I can’t help but sing to myself. “Fat Girl in a Little Tub.”
Let’s stop, again. If you did not find that funny, my talents are wasted on you, because I’m dying remembering/writing it.
What about the other tub, You ask. I’m glad you asked. The other one is just plain creepy. I can get my butt into it just fine, with room to spare, I just hate being in that bathroom. It always looks dirty even when I’ve just cleaned it, and it also looks straight out of a horror movie. It’s bad. We lovingly refer to that bathroom as the “murder room” because of how creepy the whole room is.
The murder room.
With recent events in our personal lives and in the world, I have decided to start taking baths again. So I cleaned out the “murder room” tub and I got my swimsuit covered tush into it and enjoyed a nice relaxing soak. I forgot about the world, and it felt absolutely heavenly.
If you’ve never experienced a candle lit soak, definitely at least try it. It won’t hurt anything and you might actually find you enjoy it too. Tonight after you put the kids to bed, light a candle, get some nice warm tea, and forget the world for awhile. It will give your mind a some time to do some rehab.
If any of you know me personally I’m sure you already know this, but I LOATH, with my every fiber, being touched unnecessarily. Even if you are trying to show me some kind of affection and are just being nice. I internally die inside when I am touched. This has a lot to do with some trauma I’ve experienced as a child, but this isn’t one of those kind of articles. If you want to read one of those kind of articles you can read last week’s, “#NotYourUterus” If not let’s continue.
As a weird twist of fate, my love language is physical touch… I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING RIGHT NOW. So I receive love by physical contact but I don’t like being touched. I’m all sorts of messed up y’all.
I do love cuddling, though. It feeds my soul and makes the outside world melt away in an instant. I actually think there is some science behind cuddling/hugging improving mental health but don’t quote me on that. Jordan knows how I interpret love so he goes out of his way, especially when I’m stressed, to make sure I get my cuddle time in. In return, I think my daughter has caught on because she’s been a lot more affectionate lately. I am one happy mama.
She might be cuddling the cracker box more than me to be honest, but I don’t care. I’ll take it.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say love language, I would suggest taking Gary Chapman’s quiz and finding out yours and your partners. This will allow you to effectively show affection to each other in a way that is easily accepted.
I grew up thinking that therapy was for the broken. For the mentally ill. For the psychotic. I know how offensive that sounds but that was the climate I grew up in. I can’t be the only one that was taught you did not go to therapy because you wanted someone to talk to. You did not go to therapy to get an objective view on your life. You did not go to therapy as a step in your self-development journey. You went to therapy because you were damaged.
If that’s how you think, you are wrong. If you put those feelings of yours on others, shame on you. With the suicide rates as high as they are, therapy needs to be talked about. Not just talked about but, talked about in a positive light. We need to make sure that everyone knows that it is a valid option and if you choose to go you are no less of a human for it.
Okay rant over.
I started going to therapy as part of my self-development journey. When I attended my regularly scheduled therapy session last Friday, we talked about my anxieties and fears about the coronavirus. Do you know what my therapist did? Ha. Of course you don’t. You weren’t there and she can’t tell you. This lady VALIDATED my feelings, but at the same time talked me through them. Can you believe it? I was shook. The end result was that I walked away feeling so much better. Sometimes it just takes that objective eye into your life to put your problems into perspective.
In closing, I would just like to say that these are the things that work for me. Selfcare looks so different for everyone though, so you might find my suggestions hideous. That’s okay! Intentionally set aside time to focus on yourself and only yourself. I’m not talking an hour here or there either. Schedule yourself into your day. Fill your cup up instead of trying to fill everyone else’s up first. If you can focus on yourself for a little bit you will be able to overflow into everyone else’s instead. Once you found your time then find the things that, in a healthy way, feed your soul. You can do it! This chaos will pass, but as we go through it let’s become better, more effective humans along the way.
I hope that through my words, you receive encouragement and that you discover you are not alone in this mess we call adulthood. I’m rooting for you.
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