I can usually find the silver lining in any and every experience, and one day, it is my hope, that we will be beyond this, this being all that we are challenged with today, and I will be able to find the silver lining in this, too. But today, seven months into a pandemic and five months into social unrest, and I’m going to admit something. I’m tired. I am physically, psychologically, and emotionally exhausted. I’ve read about this. I have a mild case of pandemic fatigue, perhaps coupled with lockdown lunacy. I have actually never heard of the latter, but I like the alliteration. I waver between feeling grateful that I have this extended time to be with my boys, time I would have never had to spend with them. We laugh together, workout together, and eat many, many home cooked meals together. They are in school from home, and so I have this unique opportunity, as an educator, to oversee what they are doing academically. There are so many positives to being home with them.
I miss my parents, sister, brother-in-law, nieces, and nephews so much that it hurts. Even though I don’t get to see them all that often, now the time seems to stretch out interminably. I miss teaching students face to face. I miss seeing people’s unmasked faces. I’m a smiler. I like to smile at people, strangers, especially those who look like they could use a smile. I have heard people say that people never smile these days, but I have discovered that 9.5 times out of 10, people will smile back, if you smile at them first. So, I smile first. I miss doing that. I try to smile behind my mask, hoping people will see it in my eyes, but if they do and they smile back, I can’t tell. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m not good at reading eye smiles. I miss going socializing with friends, though we do barbecue and have other socially distanced, outdoor events with friends. We also make the best of using technology to socialize. And, goodness, do I miss hugs. I haven’t always been a hugger. I became a hugger later in life. But once I adopted my hugging ways, I grew to love it. I think it’s unfortunate that we are going through all of these challenges with fewer hugs.
So, I’ve come up with some writing prompts to lift my spirits, and I’m going to share them with you because I cannot be the only person feeling the weight of all of this.
★ Write about a time when you laughed so hard you cried.
★ Record your favorite new recipe in your notebook and write about the experience of eating this food. Be as descriptive as you can possibly be.
★ Write about something you’re secretly glad you don’t have to do right now because of the pandemic.
★ Write a letter to your eight-year-old self telling her about the pandemic and social unrest. Think about how you would explain this to a child. Would you use humor? Would you find a way to express hope?
★ Go outside and sit in nature. Use all of your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste?
★ Write a list of people to whom you could send a note or letter and then DO IT. Brightening someone else’s day will make you feel better. I’m using my Baum-kuchen postcards, of which I’ve acquired quite a few, to send to family and friends, instead of keeping them tucked away in my Classiky Desk Tool Box. They would be better used to help me connect with others.
★ Plan a vacation, even if you cannot take one right now. Planning a vacation and visualizing your trip is often the best part of traveling. It is an amazing stress reliever. Where will you go?
★ Add stickers and washi to your notebook. For me this takes me back to being a little girl. It’s an easy way to play, something we don’t do enough of as adults.
★ Write about your fears and concerns and then imagine that you are your own parent. How do you respond to yourself,as your parent, to put your mind at ease?
And rest. We are in this for the long haul. Both the pandemic and “the awakening” about issues concerning social justice are not going to go away anytime soon. They are truly exhausting, something that is undeniable. And even though the human spirit is tenacious and determined and resilient, it is, at the same time, precious and fragile. We must treat ourselves with care and compassion, and honor ourselves and needs for restoration.
I wish everyone good health and peace. And I send you love and socially-distanced hugs.