Our world has been turned upside down in the last few months and will never be the same. This discombobulation has thrown me in a tailspin. I have been reactive, unhappy, negative, and feeling overwhelmed. I find myself talking to people in an attempt to commiserate, and I leave these conversations feeling worse. I feel like a big, black hole is consuming me, and I have no way of getting out. I have been desperate to turn things around and have been reaching for any resource I can find. I listen to podcasts, audiobooks, read articles, and nothing is working. Yet, I find myself falling into old habits of eating for comfort, drinking a glass of wine at night, sitting on the couch, and watching movies. I am doing anything to numb the discomfort and dis-ease that I feel. I was talking with a friend of mine, and he asked how I was doing. I told him I am so overwhelmed, and he wondered why. I got indigent and began spewing out the difficulties I am facing as I work from home, care for my children, and support their education during this time. He didn’t succumb to the poor me narrative and instead asked why I thought all of that was so overwhelming. I fought the urge to attack him for being a bachelor with no responsibilities and instead thought about the question he was asking. I am happy I did because what I realized was the pressure I was putting on myself to do everything perfectly was what was overwhelming. The deeper issue was my self-imposed expectations. It was enlightening and freeing to know that I was the one who had the power to change the way I was feeling. I was doing this to myself, and I had a choice in the matter. I made a plan to get back to basics and reground myself in healthy self-care choices that will help me during this time. I got clear about what I was going to do for the week and had it all planned out. I was thoughtful and had my list clear and organized. I was all ready for the week to begin and was feeling optimistic, but as the craziness of life hit, my lengthy self-care plan went out the window. In the heat of the moment, the need for my routine choices won out. My negative inner monologue mounted as the week progressed, and I failed to follow my plan. This failure left me feeling empty by the end of the week, and the truth is I felt worse by the end of the week than I did the previous week. I sit here this morning, reflecting on all of this. I indeed need to change the way I am operating to support my health and wellbeing. I desire to feel differently than I do today, and the only way to do that is to make some changes. What I need to do, however, is to make these changes in little chunks. Now is not the time to make sweeping changes. It is not the time to pull the carpet out from under myself and continue to send me into a tailspin. I don’t need to add more pressure and expectations to my already full plate. I need to be gentle with myself and be thoughtful about what I truly desire for now and the future. Messages to my Daughters: During times of significant change, you need to have awareness and recognize the choices you have. You are not in control of many things in this world, but you do have choices in your daily life. When you recognize that you need to do things differently, decide what you will do. Make them bite-sized and something you can commit to every day. There will be good days and bad days, and the critical key is to be gentle with yourself and recommit every day.
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