These are challenging times for all of us, we are all having to adjust to a new way of living within our relationships in our families, with our spouses, our children, our friends, our work, and even ourselves. These adjustments are bringing with them some challenges, and I would like to address how some of these challenges may be presenting themselves. It is important though to first discuss what our lives looked like in terms of our connections with others prior to this pandemic. We all managed how to divide our time between our physical, mental, emotional and our spiritual needs between different types of connections with others. We knew how to divide our time between our home life, work life, social life, and personal life. We all had some healthy coping mechanisms as well as some unhealthy coping mechanisms. We have always tried to keep these in check and that is not going to change anytime soon, especially now. This is a topic that I may pick up on a later post. For now, let us look at some of the different challenges each one of us may be facing in our relationships to self and others. How are we all managing? This looks different for the young or older single individuals, for families as well as for couples.
The single young or older individuals who live alone may be at risk of feeling isolated during this time. It is very important for people who live alone to reach to family and friends. If you are an essential worker, you are needed and greatly appreciated during this time. I would like to send peace, love, health and much gratitude from the bottom of my heart. Many of you may be working longer hours, as a result, it is of most importance that you work on maintaining a balance and not forgetting about doing self-care. You are probably surrounded by people all day long but remember that quantity does not necessarily mean quality. Please do not forget to reach out to the people in your life that provide quality connections for you. For the single individuals that have had a disruption on their work schedule, do not forget to also manage the time you spend alone at home. Thanks to technology and how quickly many organizations have jumped to providing support online, you can remain connected to some of the things you used to do, other things you used to do physically have become more challenging, but my hope is that we slowly start getting back to a new normal. It is very important for individuals who live by themselves to learn to occupy their time. Healthy outlets are very important during this time, and if there are any unhealthy outlets, this may be the perfect time to accept them, acknowledge them, and work through them. We have all had unhealthy outlets at one point or another during our lives. Please know that you are not alone, none of us are…
Couples during this time may also be facing challenges, some couples may become stronger as they reassess what is important to them. Others may realize that trying to work things out may be too challenging during this time. The pandemic may have put on further stress to a relationship that may have already been on the tipping point. The best types of relationships are the ones were individuals depend on one another but also have individuality. So, it is important for a couple to do things together and at the same time do things apart. Then here comes the pandemic and suddenly we have less things to do individually and more things to do together. On a good note, now you got a taste of what your retirement will look like with your partner. Where you able to get closer and get along? or did you realized that your relationship needs some work, maybe during this time you realized that you need to part ways. This is the perfect time to look at your relationship and look at whether your relationship is in balance or if it is in need a little bit of work. The most important thing in a couple is that both partners are committed and willing to put in the effort to work through whatever life throws your way. If you feel that your relationship may need a bit more of outside help, reach out to a couple’s therapist. It is easier to get things back on track before things get too out of balance. Sadly, a high percentage of couples that seek therapy wait until the issues have become harder to manage. No matter at what stage you think your relationship is in, it is never a bad idea to strengthen the bond with the person you share your life.
Because we are all affected during this time whether we are an individual or a couple this means that families are also affected, specially those that still have children living at home. Even for those couple’s that may have been new to being empty nesters, may now find themselves with the nest full once again. What better place for our children to be safe in, but at home. For parent’s with school age children, one of the biggest challenges was the closure of schools throughout the country. I am the mom of two wonderful girls, one is eleven and the other is nine. As many parents out there, we are being asked to step into a roll that for some of us, we never thought we would. I completely admire parents that chose homeschooling, specially now. This is a topic that I visited a while back, and after much consideration, I knew that I was not built for homeschooling. Then the pandemic happened and here we are, trying to homeschool the best we can. Trying to manage all the personalities, the needs and wants, of our children, our spouse and even ours. The biggest message that I want to send out to parents as we navigate this uncharted territory is to have compassion for yourself, for your spouse, and your children. Do the best you can for all, and remember that you must be well, whether you are a mom at home or a dad at home. Do not forget to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. Find positive coping mechanisms during this time that will help provide a balance so that you can continue taking care of your loved ones. Think about this, five to ten years from now, how would you like your children to express themselves about this time in their lives? How do you want them to remember this time at home with you? It is a powerful question and one that all parents should ask themselves in order to keep themselves as balanced as they can. Things do not have to be perfect, remember we all have bad days, and our children can also learn from that as well.
We are also being challenged with regards to our relationship to ourselves. The question for me since the beginning of this pandemic has been how to maintain healthy and balanced relationship with ourselves as well as with others. How do we hold on to our sense of “being” in relationship to others? I believe that it is very important to check in with ourselves to see how we are doing. Check in with yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally, pay attention to what may come up. Take time for you, acknowledge whatever is coming up and ask yourself, “what is it that I need today to best take care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually during this time?” This will also help you realize if you need to reach out to friends and family for connection. Do not underestimate the power of nature, it truly can make us feel connected to ourselves and to the world around us. It has an amazing ability to help us balance ourselves and bring us back to center. The weather has been wonderful here in Texas, I hope you are enjoying it as much as I have been. We might as well take advantage of it because unfortunately, it will not last long. As I am writing this blog, I am sitting outside in my garden, hoping that spring will give us a bit more of its time this year.