Stay Sane and Strong. Mom On.
When sanity seems so far away, and the world around you seems completely unstable, take a 10 second break. You deserve it. Can't make to to 10? Take 3. There. See. You can do that.
Do not try to comprehend what is going on in the world. You will not.
Humans live through experiences unprecedented to them every minute of every day.
I keep thinking of a dear friend whose husband and father of her children kissed her before he went out for a bike ride one sunny day. And then she got a call. And then there were weeks of horror where his prognosis went from bad to worse to hell. And then his life as we knew it was gone. And now our world as we knew it has changed. It's not gone. There's that.
Tomorrow was just an illusion in December, but that illusion gave us comfort and made us feel safe.
How can we stay sane in what feels like insane times?
There are probably over 7 billion answers to that question, because each individual (and there are over 7 billion people on earth) manages through in their own way. There is not one single way through, but we believe that there are some strategies which work universally for the greater number.
So, what is this universal tool for sanity and strength?
Sanity is essential for strength.
There is one universal tool for strength building that can be used by all:
- if your baby is due in April
- or your baby is due in November
- if you have an infant at home
- or a toddler
- if you have school aged kids
- or a teenager
- if you are SIPing (ShelteringInPlace) with a spouse
- or if you are home alone with the kid/s
- if you are with extended family or chosen family
One Tool: Gratitude
Science has shown that we can all build new neural pathways, you just have to strengthen them, like a muscle.
I opened the shop 23 years ago with 15K "young scrappy and hungry". I have had a good life, and have had no devastating experiences. And that being said, I have lived through:
- the arrival of the internet and online shopping
- 2008 without a scratch
- an MS diagnosis 13 years ago
- raising two kids without doing them physical harm and trying to keep the psychological harm to a minimum;)
- separating from and raising those children with someone who got sober when the kids were teens
- living and working with her business and life partner for 13 years (and staying madly in love)
- there's more but that's enough for now, you've all got a list of your own!
On March 8th I said to my life and business partner "Yep, March is going really well!" And, then came March 8th. And then on March 15th we made the difficult decision to close because it felt like the responsible and patriotic thing to do. The fact that I am still standing is proof enough for me to continue to use this tool daily. Especially now.
It only takes a second, 3 max. You've got this.
- before you get out of bed
- brushing your teeth
- taking a shower or bath
- turning on the lights
- when you look up at the sky
- endless opportunities. 3 seconds.
"I have my kids,my family, a roof over my head, food on my table." We've all heard and said that a lot in recent weeks! Some things come easy, but to build this into a practice you need to get into the habit of opening your eyes, mind and heart to everything!
- a flower
- the blue of the sky
- a sunrise or sunset
- a mountain
- the ocean
- a bird flying in the sky
- keep going, look around
2. Things: they don't even have to spark joy, just gratitude.
- a mug
- a book
- a photograph
- a picture on the wall
- a chair
- your bed
- a pillow
- hot running water
- the stairs in your house
- a door(maybe to the bathroom which you locked yourself in for a minute of solitude)
- something red
- something blue
- something shiny
- something teeny tiny(with thanks for these last for to my elder child, the preschool teacher, who told me about the virtual scavenger hunt that they did)
3. Your Body: this is not an invitation to body shame, but the opposite, you may not love them all, but what parts work? what are you grateful for?
- fake boobs (One of our beloved former colleagues, Emily, mid thirties, had a mastectomy on March 18th, getting replacements has been delayed because that is elective, but she is, as of today, cancer free. Much gratitude.)
4. Food and Beverage
- homemade bread (or, have you baked enough in the last week to last a lifetime?)
- daddy eggs
- peanut butter(it's basic, but my father the economics professor maintains that if the supply was limited the demand would rival caviar. I'm not sure that he's right, but it's worth considering)
- a good pinot
- a bad pinot (turns out, some of that $3.99 stuff isn't bad, which I am grateful for as a small biz owner with suddenly no income)
- chocolate (and there's a lot of sub categories there!)
- an artist or composer
- your wedding song
- any song that reminds you of a happy moment or place
- the device that you listen on
- the song you sang/sing to your baby
- a concert you attended
6. All the new go-to's that we took for granted before Covid-19
- health care works-nurses, attendants,doctors and more
- grocery store staff
- delivery drivers
- transit and utility workers
- the internet
- just keep going!
7. Family and Friends
- fill in your own
We will get through this. What the other side looks like? None of us know.
Birth rates and divorce rates are both bound to go up when this is over. We predict that most of those babies will be first children.
The more you can bring gratitude in, the less room there is for anger. And trust me on this, whatever the future holds, you will never regret gratitude and love.