When hashtag coronacraziness hit, we were off grid in Florida, parked in a field.
Living on the road, in remote locations, 2 hrs away from a grocery store, electricity, running water, with everything we own in a beat up trailer, we’ve pretty much been practicing living minimally, in survival mode, for 4 years.
It was definitely a work in progress, a learning curve. Conserving water for one thing, we only have so much in our tank. Put soap in hands, rub hands together, quick splash of water to get lather, turn off water, rub hands, super quick oh my soul super quick rinse time is of the essence, turn off water. Don’t get me started on washing dishes!
But it suited us just fine. I started to really appreciate things I once took for granted. As I’m sure you can completely empathize with right now, just in a different way.
So, in a sense, COVID didn’t really sink in, until, they started closing all our parks, open lands & safe places where we can park our moving home. That’s when it hit with force. Yes, we’re self-sufficient in our lil’ trailer, but where the heck can we park our trailer for the foreseeable future?
Like a gradually moving rain cloud that you can see building on the horizon, inching closer toward you, slowing shutting out the light – the feeling of insecurity starting creeping over me.
Basically, I caught up with the rest of America.
In my quest for balance & mental health I spend a LOT of time identifying my core emotion. When you are able to do this, you are able to more quickly process through the root issue & then let that mess go, move on with your day & thrive in your life.
For example, this actually happened today: I walk in the trailer. It is uneven & crooked, the water in the sink all pools to one side, you feel like you’re in a funhouse at the State Fair.
Immediate emotion: pissedness. Frustration is a shallow, surface emotion.
Step 1, I recognize it, acknowledge it, let myself feel it.
Step 2, I use more adjectives to describe my emotions, working on going towards deeper level emotions & ask myself questions.
For example: Frustration, anger, (Angry at myself or angry at Andrew? He parked the trailer), answer: angry at Andrew (why?), because he did not involve me in the decision (how did that make me feel?), annoyed (why?), he should have known better! (why?), because we’ve talked about this before (So? How does that make you feel?), like he doesn’t listen to me or know my needs (how does that make you feel?) **Not known.
Boom. Core emotion: not known.
This is a core wound for all of us. It cuts deep, reopens old scars, triggers painful childhood memories & reminds us of people throughout our lives that have rejected us. That’s what’s interesting about core wounds. They can rear their ugly head at any time in the most random moments & take you out. Hell, you could walk into a crooked trailer, rage will flood you out of the blue, your poor, sweet husband will have no stinkin’ clue what happened (you might not even know what happened…) & you’re in a black hole for the rest of the day.
Ps, I was able to identify my core emotion, so we chit chatted about it & ain’t no thang, we’re all good! He of course meant no harm; he was just in focus mode, getting stuff done. That my friends, is the power of this coping tool.
In my observations of this world crisis, if I were to identify one core emotion it would be uncertainty.
Uncertain: not definitely ascertainable or fixed, as in time of occurrence.
Not confidant assured or free from hesitancy.
Not clearly precisely determined, indefinite, unknown, vague, indistinct, not perfectly apprehended, subject to change, unreliable, ambiguous.
All of those words just made me anxious, antsy.
If we were told, “Hey yall, I know this is going to be so tough, you will be quarantined, but only for X amount of time.” I think we would all be handling this a LOT differently. But it’s the fact that we just don’t know how long this will last. Is it two more weeks? Months? A year??
You can’t plan, prepare, jobs are being lost every moment. It’s the not knowing that is so unsettling. Not only can you not materially prepare, but it is very difficult to mentally & emotionally prepare.
So, what to do?
It’s in these times of crisis, that abstract concepts that you see in pretty fonts in squares on Instagram, or that you’ve heard growing up in Sunday School, or maybe from a spandexed yogi (good gracious), those concepts move from your brain to your soul.
Sometimes I wish I could grow the most as a human surrounded by butterflies & sunshine, but as of yet, I don’t think that’s how it works. It’s in moments of suffering, of struggle, that the abstract life-changing lessons enter in to our day-to-day.
What has this quarantine taught you?
When we are thrown in the midst of suffering, we have one of two options: we can rage & let it break us, destroy us.
We can take a deep breath, a step back, & learn & grow.
Now I know this is all fine & dandy here in black & white but hard as hell in practice.
Trust me my friends, I know.
I have found that I will go back & forth between the two options above multiple times in one day ;)
It’s not a matter of fighting; it’s a matter of “fighting wisely.”
My tools to fight wisely?
Establish a routine.
Now I know many of you are busy mamas. A routine can mean your morning ritual; wake up, brush teeth, wash face, let dog out, put on coffee, couple stretches while coffee is made, read quick 1 page devotional, get on with day. Boom, you have created stability. And that might take 10 minutes, but you’ve established a routine.
And do the same with a nighttime routine to calm your brain down & prepare you for sleep.
Eat whole happy foods.
When you’re stressed, your body craves crappy food. It’s just mean. But if you eat processed, sugary, chemically, greasy food, it only makes your mood worse, which then makes you eat worse which then creates this downward spiral. It’s just mean.
I’m a savory eater, so my go to when I’m cranky is nuts nuts nuts. Especially my antidepressant walnuts. I measure them out in a bowl & get. after. it. It seriously immediately changes my mood. Food is life, food is medicine.
Also ps, there’s balance in this. I need to write a whole post on this, don’t get me started. Basically ladies, give yourself mucho grace during quarantine. For reals. This is a world crisis for heavens sake!!
Move your body.
That can be a quick walk around the block with the kiddos. Jumping jacks (Am I 80??) & pushups in the back yard (10 minutes). Endless workout videos online.
And of course my preference, yogaaaa!
Yoga can be your haven. Have you ever heard of a “yoga high”? In my experience & in talking with others, I think this is a thing because in yoga you get many things at once: a deep stretch, power strengthening, therapy (for reals), emotional detox (these postures are powerful & without you even realizing it, will release pent up emotions. Soooo helpful during this stressful time), cardio, & ding ding ding! relaxation.
And last but definitely not least:
Talk to God.
Are you super pissed at him about this world crisis? Tell him about it. Yell if you want to. Have you heard of Moses, like the greatest patriarch of all time? He’s my favorite because he would go up on a mountaintop & literally yell at God.
God is not scared of/angry at your emotions. Even the intense, “bad”, “shameful” ones. Even the ones you hide deep deep down. If he was, then he would not be my God.
Are you confused at why “a loving God would allow evil & suffering in the world??” Ask him.
He longs to communicate to you.
Ps. I hear him loudest when I go on a walk outside in nature/his creation/his handiwork. It’s bestest & you can really hear him if do not take your phone ;)
In this time of uncertainty, those abstract concepts really hit home.
For example, what is your foundation?
What do you put your trust in?
Your health? Savings, bank account, job security? Family &/or friends?
Yourself & your ability to control?
What happens when your security starts slipping through your fingers?
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2