These are tough times, don’t we all know it. What an extraordinary experience we’re living through. Not only is there an excess of information, but it can be confusing to understand and difficult to process day after day. There is certainly a fluttering range of emotions coming to the surface since the advent of COVID-19.
We are collectively grieving a loss right now and it’s completely understandable to not be ok. Please listen, it’s truly ok. Illness is baffling on its own, but an illness that we and our neighbours all experience at the same time is unprecedented in our lifetimes. Giving in to our emotions can be very healing and provide daily relief.
Emotional maturity doesn’t come from keeping everything inside; I’d actually call that emotional immaturity. Please take the time to experience your feelings, no matter what they are. It’s proven to be healthier to let them all out than to keep them all in. Take a few deep breaths and let them wash over you. The act of breathing through something is therapeutic and healing, and will allow a huge release, even if just for a short little while.
All of us are mothers and our best days are still tiring. Now that we’re all social distancing at home, life has gotten a whole lot more difficult. Juggling work and kids on their own is so much more than enough, even in ‘normal’ times. Perhaps you’re an essential worker or your spouse is working in a hospital, saving lives every day, or maybe you’ve lost your job; add in parenting on top of any of those occurrences and it’s not surprising that we’re having a challenging time coping.
From anxiety to fear to anger, to optimism and trust, there is no one spot on the spectrum that encompasses us all every day. Most of us probably feel a combination of each of these emotions in one day alone. Stress levels are at an all-time high, no matter our circumstance. Holding our feelings in can only make things more unmanageable.
Take the time to play with your kids and phone your friends. Giving in to our emotions means connecting and sharing these feelings with our loved ones. Isn’t social distancing the wrong word? We don’t need to be socially distant from anyone, merely physically distant. Being socially connected right now is so important because we are all experiencing this isolation together. Talking through our thoughts is what leads to restoring our health.
These days, my anxiety comes in waves. I have days of flat-out sadness and uncertainty. I find these are the days when I’m on my phone too much or I read every headline and watch every news program. Even still, I take the time to think with my thoughts. I remind myself of the control that I do have and I try to have compassion for myself. If I need time alone for a bit, I will try to slip away when possible to breathe through my feelings. But the truth is that I also have days of hope and happiness while isolating at home. I have a family I love and daughters that make me smile. When I see their laughing, healthy, faces, I can’t help but think that everything will be ok. This is where the emotional tiredness comes from, for me. I’m merely exhausted from the intense opposing feelings that I have each day and I’m confident that I’m not alone.
The takeaway is to handle every day as it comes and to work through our feelings. This will end one day, but the getting there is tough. Open your heart to the feelings surrounding you and remember that there is hope ahead.
NB: Please note that if you are experiencing dark thoughts or emotions as a result of COVID-19, mental health professionals are still here to help. Many are doing video sessions online or over the phone. Please check your local resources for the best referrals and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Words by Melissa Curman
Photographer Elizabeth Podlesnik, Muse. Chelsea