28 Apr Love in the time of Covid-19
by Nora Dybdal, Play & Parenting Facilitator & Yoga Instructor
Wow, you guys. What a time we’re living in! I feel like I’m riding on a roller coaster of emotions every day. There are times of extreme beauty and connection, and there are times of deep sadness and feeling completely overwhelmed. It has always been a gift of mine to find things to be grateful for in every moment and put things into perspective and stay positive, but this experience is unlike any thing I’ve ever been through.
Home life is strange. Being confined in a small space together has emotions running high for all of us. It is a challenge to be patient and loving with one another. I know we all have our challenges with social distancing; loneliness, financial strains, emotional triggers from past trauma…etc. My big challenge is being a mom with two kids, with a husband that has a very emotionally demanding job, and having little help with daily routine (cooking, cleaning, laundry, schoolwork, activities, bedtime) while still trying to carry on with my professional work and development. My toddler has photo-bombed (video-bombed?) a few zoom sessions. Luckily it seems people are very understanding and there is a feeling that “we’re all in the same boat” which is comforting.
I have been seeing some changes in family members, with the time spent together and the lifestyle change that’s bound to happen. Some waist sizes have changed (too many baking activities?!) Because of time spent with his dad, my son proclaimed, “what the f@#$!” the other day. Because of time spent with her brother, my toddler girl (nerf gun in hand) announced “we’re shooting bogeys, mom!” At our Thursday play and parenting class, she pointed at her teacher, “I’m shooting Ms. Jennifer! Peeew! Peeew!” (Sorry Jen) A sense of humor helps, but this is legit (slang I picked up from my son) the most difficult thing I’ve ever gone through. There are days when I have a tightness in my chest that is hard to soften. And I find it difficult to be patient.
So, what helps me? I try and focus on love and gratitude. A bit more of a challenge in those heated moments. But I find it easier to access if I start on a physical level first. I try and notice where I’m holding tension in my body. Can I soften my shoulders, my jaw, my hands…etc. I tune into the places in my body that are touching the ground to help me feel more centered. I take some deep breaths. Then I am usually in a place where I can be more accepting of myself, others, the current situation. One of the most helpful things my mother ever taught me was to look at everyone as though they have a thought bubble above their head that says, “I just want to be loved.” I’ve been using that with my family a lot in these past weeks. And asking the question “how can I be more loving in this moment?”, loving to myself and to my family members.
I find that even in these challenging times there is a great deal to be grateful for. In this moment, I am grateful for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and feelings with you. Grateful to my husband who is downstairs working to help others find their way through dark times and in doing so providing for our family. Grateful to my son who has been so helpful keeping an eye on the toddler and who has shown such patience and resilience during this time. And grateful to Disney for keeping the kid’s attention while I have some “me” time.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough” -Anonymous