In the rush to return to normal, let’s use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.
How’s your new normal going? What parts are going well? What’s been hard? I’ve been surprised by some of the unexpected positives that have been showing up during our stay-at-home order. But, as with all transitions, especially ones that are unforeseen, they come with a myriad of emotions as well.
I’ve noticed anxiety surfacing around my kids starting live stream learning this coming week, and wondering how this is really going to go for all of us (teachers included!). Sadness around a family vacation we had planned and looked forward to for months being a total bust and now being called “the very expensive trip to nowhere.” Feelings of grief coming up over upcoming spring/summer plans being cancelled or put on hold. Happiness about all the quality time we’re spending together as a family. Feeling grateful we’re able to support struggling local businesses here in Flower Mound, Texas.
The following are some of my thoughts on the positives that I’ve seen as a result of the stay-at-home order because of COVID-19, as well as some depression symptoms to look for if you’re struggling right now and just don’t feel like yourself.
Stay-at-home order positive:
- Quality family time- playing games, doing puzzles, watching shows, cooking and eating meals together as a family, reading together, etc.
- Exercising together.
- Family walks in the neighborhood with the dog.
- House projects including cleaning, organizing, gardening, etc.
- Time for self-care such as reading, journaling, meditation, exercise, etc.
- Connecting with extended family and friends near and far via FaceTime, email, text messages, etc.
- Lots of creativity- we recently playing a game of Quiplash on Zoom with college friends and their families in California and Indiana.
- Supporting local restaurants with curbside pickup.
- Getting out of our comfort zone with cooking and using what we’re actually able to purchase versus exactly what’s listed on our recipes.
- Feeling grateful for all we have in our lives.
- Figuring out our new online life with e-learning, tele-work, all online shopping, etc.
- Time to finish work projects, blogs, social media memes, etc.
As with all unexpected life changes and transitions, there are often hardships and heightened feelings and emotions too. The following are common symptoms of depression and postpartum depression to be aware of if you or someone you know is struggling right now.
Common symptoms of depression:
- Depressed mood
- Sleeping changes (sleeping more or less than usual)
- Loss of interest in things you usually enjoy
- Feelings of guilt
- Decreased energy
- Lowered concentration level
- Increase/decrease of appetite
- Suicidal thoughts
Common symptoms of postpartum depression (some of these may show up when you’re pregnant as well):
- Sadness and frequent crying spells
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Feeling disconnected from your baby
- Frequent feelings of anger and frustration
- Trouble remembering things
- Not being hungry or eating more than usual
- Agitation/ irritability
Sometimes acknowledging that we’re all in this together can be helpful, especially since this major life disruption is global and ongoing for all of us. It can also be beneficial to try and find some commonalities between what you’re experiencing and things you were able to overcome in the past. It’s important to remember the things that are within your control versus the things outside of it. Supporting others when ever possible can be helpful to your mental wellness and healing when you’re going through a difficult life transition as well.