As a working parent, most of my weeks are a marathon of balancing my home to-do list with my work to-do list. Fridays have historically found me in bed early. But lately, though, I have found myself especially winded by Friday night. As I talk with my friends, they admit they are extra tired lately too.
With the world opening back up, I think we are overwhelmed. I am reminded of going to a restaurant for the first time after having my son. My world had been so small for the weeks following his birth. Barely leaving the house, enjoying its coziness with its newest, tiny inhabitant. Fast forward a few more weeks and I am going out to dinner with some friends. I was almost dizzy from the dim lighting, the music, all the small talk, and the menu choices. It was too much, too soon.
With restrictions lifting, some of us are heading into work for the first time in months. Our bosses are asking more of us as they try to gain the financial ground and momentum lost in the pandemic.
Our kiddos are back in the classroom. Play dates are showing up on our calendars again. Extended family is knocking at the door for a long-awaited visit. It’s a lot.
We need to give ourselves some grace. Last year our worlds became very small. We were stressed by the uncertainty of it all. Thankfully, some of us were able to work though it was a far cry from what it was before. We didn’t have to make small talk with coworkers in the kitchen at work. We didn’t catch up over lunch with friends. We did our work at home. At the end of the day, we closed our computer, opened our office door and tackled the needs of our family. And for some, work and family needs happened at the same time! Not to mention the civil unrest that emerged from taking a long hard look at ourselves. To say we were stressed and stretched to our limits was an understatement.
Our poor bodies are tired. We just spent an entire year on high alert. And now we’re trying to figure out what is safe, what is right and what is next. Of course we’re exhausted at the end of the week! Humans weren’t designed to change so profoundly so quickly.
Scheduling self-care is so important. I dare say it’s imperative! I’m not talking bath bombs and candles, though those things aren’t a bad place to start. Find a therapist to help navigate the anxiety you are justifiably feeling. Move your body. It’s another great way to release endorphins and ease stress. Journaling can be a useful tool as well. Sometimes writing things down somehow puts problems so clearly, making the answers easier to find. Meditation is also a fantastic method of self-care. There is a great series on Netflix by Headspace that makes meditation very easy and accessible. You don’t have to be a monk to do it.
We’ve all been through hell over the past 13 months. We are not going to magically emerge from the events of last year and jump right back into the saddle, right as rain. We’re not the same people we were back then. Take a little time each week to check in and to take care. It’s going to take some time to relearn things that we once did automatically, and to process all that we went through. Treating yourself kindly will no doubt help build back our society to a kinder, gentler place to live and, most importantly, to THRIVE!
Sarah is the mom of one and part of MIX Mornings with Kyle, Bryan, and Sarah.