Social distancing, quarantine, and the COVID-19 situation is putting all of us out of our comfort zone, and while there is validity to ALL of the feelings, today i’m sharing 5 questions you can ask yourself to help yourself make the most out of social isolation.
Today we’re breaking from normal food related content to talk about the gigantic elephant in the room for all of us, social isolation and COVID-19.
My reasoning for this is two-fold.
Number one, like all of you, it’s on my mind and I want to connect with all of you through shared experiences.
…and number 2, as much as it seems to NOT be related to my regular topics of meal planning and meal prep, mindset and mental health is the first and arguably the most important mountain to climb to start making any change.
That includes taking control of your mealtimes and creating a more peaceful atmosphere around food in your home.
If you’re anything like me, you’re feeling a LOT of very big feelings right now.
All of our individual circumstances are just a little bit different and we all likely have different stresses right now whether they be financial, health stresses, or even just the stresses of having a houseful of people all the live-long-day without an outlet for you, or for those sweet kiddos.
Combine that with the fact that we have no idea when any of this could end or what things will look like when it does end, and you’ve got yourself a whole big recipe for a mental breakdown.
I feel like I was doing fairly well with everything (maybe in the denial stage of grief) but this week bad weather, stir-crazy kids, and no end in sight has made it a little bit harder for me to find a silver lining.
My wheelhouse is putting stress-free dinners on the table, but in order to do that on a regular basis, I absolutely have to keep my mental health in tact.
So when I start to feel myself slipping, I know it’s so much harder to climb up from rock bottom than it is to take steps to stop the spiral.
…and while I am not a mental health professional, there are a few things that are helping me feel the good in this situation, and look for changes and maintain a positive outlook as much as possible.
Today I’m going to take you through 5 questions that I have asked myself to help me process my feelings about social distancing (coming from a very social person who is really missing her people right about now).
5 Questions to ask yourself while social distancing
- What did you think you would miss the most (that you actually don’t) when social distancing or shelter-in-place started?
The reason this question is important, is that sometimes we THINK something is going to be a big deal, when it reality, it just isn’t.
Asking yourself this question can help you realize just how well you are actually coping and adapting to the situation, and will help you realize you are stronger than you thought.
I’m going to treat this post a little like a journal to help you get some ideas of how you might answer these questions
For me, I was terrified about NOT being able to go to the gym. The gym is my outlet and I give it credit for giving me the sanity to handle my kids.
But the truth is, that it honestly just hasn’t been that big of a deal.
I was able to prove to myself (through social distancing) that my habit of working out is stronger than the gym.
…and while I grieve not being able to go I have also found so much beauty in sharing my experience exercising with my kids, and showing them a healthy outlet for their big feelings as well.
2. What do you ACTUALLY miss the most?
This question I think is important to really process and grieve what we have lost in this process.
Some people have lost loved ones, and others have lost jobs, (and those things are so important and heartbreaking), but even if our losses are much smaller in comparison it’s still important to acknowledge and feel disappointed for what we’ve lost.
The thing I miss the very most is being able to see friends and loved ones. Thankfully I’ve got my little family of “isolation buddies” but I miss my mom, my siblings, my friends, and my kid’s friends.
I also miss the McDonald’s and chic-fil-a playgrounds, the library, our local fun park, all the places I took my kids to get a needed mental break for both of us.
It breaks my mama heart to not be able to let my kids interact with other kids especially when they are too young to understand the “why” behind it.
I also miss the sense of purpose that comes with having things to do and places to see.
3. How has your life actually improved since social distancing began?
I find after I’ve taken the time to grieve is a good time to “look for the good” in a situation.
As cliche as it sounds, if you look for gratitude you absolutely will find it.
I’m actually embarrassed to say how much of my life improved when social distancing began.
In fact, I took it as a real warning that I need to “slow down” in my every day life.
Since social distancing began, I’ve found time for hobbies that I don’t usually have time for, I’ve actually put work away and my phone down by evening, I’ve spent more time just “being”, I’ve put more effort into making sure my kid’s and spouse’s needs are met.
I have felt relief from having nowhere to go and nothing to be.
I’ve felt the joy of getting creative and creating our own fun.
I’ve truly enjoyed my kid’s spirits.
I’ve spent more time talking with family (even if it’s only virtually).
4. How have you adapted?
One thing that brings me so much comfort is human’s ability to adapt.
Everytime I see a company that has made changes under immense pressure to help us adapt to this new and crazy situation I smile a little with hope that we’re all adaptable and we’re going to be okay.
(also, shoutout to all of the amazing businesses out there adapting and making changes every day to make our lives easier!)
I already talked about adapting my workout routine to be an at home system.
I’ve adapted my kid’s routines so they still have things to look forward to even when so much of what they love has been taken away.
I’ve adapted dating and family fun to be done at home.
I’ve adapted to using technology to “hang out” with friends and family (and as much as it’s not the same, it has kept me sane at this time).
I’ve adapted to having my spouse home full-time and balancing a schedule with him.
We’ve adapted the way we cook to avoid unnecessary grocery store trips.
We’ve adapted to having church and finding ways to worship in the walls of our own home.
We’ve adjusted to reaching out to others virtually and offering help and support that way as much as possible.
So much has changed, but there is so much hope and beauty in seeing how we are already changing and adapting our lives to fit into our “new normal.”
5. How will you use what you’ve learned in the future?
To end this little thought exercise, I think it’s valuable to take the combination of the things you’ve gained, the things you’ve lost, the way you’ve changed, and let that help you set an intention for your future.
Sadly, I know that much of life will likely slip back to “normal” or old ways even after this catastrophe is over, but I hope that by setting this intention I can take just a few things with me.
So here are my promises to myself.
- I will always remember that relationships are the most important thing, and without them everything else is meaningless.
- I will remember that peace, quiet, real connection, are an important part of life and I will prioritize these things in my life rather than just “fitting them in” when I can.
- I will realize what a privelege it is to be able to go and do as I please.
- I will remember that when things don’t go as planned that it doesn’t mean I have failed, but take it as a signal to adapt, and I know I can adapt and that humans can adapt.
I hope taking you through this little exercise with me has been helpful and inspiring. These are trying times for sure, and so much is out of our control. But we have complete control over who we choose to be when this is all said and done, and let’s choose that person with purpose.
…alright we’ll shift back into some normal food topics chatting about how to thaw and reheat your meal prep for the best results.
If you’re feeling out of whack, you might need to implement a simple and flexible schedule. Check out this episode to help you do just that!
If you’re struggling, here’s 8 more ways to cope with the coronavirus uncertainty