Updated: Apr 20
Unless you're living under a rock (in which case you wouldn't be reading this anyhow), we're all aware of the need to cover sneezes and coughs, wash our hands, keep a distance of 6' from others, stay inside if you're sick, wear a mask if you go out, and so on.
But as the mission of Connect Point Moms is to help you create stronger connections with the children in your life, this article is going to address the pandemic from a different angle:
How to THRIVE rather than just SURVIVE during this isolating pandemic!
In Nevada, we are entering our 4th week of self-isolation. Some days it's nothing short of awesome: Not feeling rushed, having an open calendar, and spending endless hours at home with my boys. Um...and well, on other days, it's much less joyous - ok it can be downright depressing - when I think about not being able to go anywhere or see anyone and having endless hours to spend at home with my boys! Can you relate?
FIVE ways to do more than just survive:
#1 Be Grateful
Some days it is easy for me to wake up, leisurely stretch, think about the gloriously uncomplicated day ahead, and thank God for this moment in time.
Some days it is NOT so easy: I wake up with a crick in my neck, my shirt and sheets all bundled and twisted around me uncomfortably, I have to pee and my husband is already in the bathroom! Sigh. It's those days when having a grateful heart is more important than ever. Look, things are pretty crappy worldwide right now, right? BUT, if you are reading this, you are still alive: That means YOU still have purpose here! And at Connect Point Moms, we always say that attention follows focus. Meaning if you focus on what is missing, wrong, or not good enough - THAT is all you are going to see, feel, and believe! BUT, if you can pivot your attention to what you DO have, what is good, right, true, and beautiful...THEN you can see and feel and believe THAT! And which would you rather have, really? As an added bonus, when your children see and hear you being grateful for what IS (rather than grumpy over what is NOT), then they will have an easier time doing the same! A friend of mine created this 30 day Gratitude Challenge Journal (get your free copy here) that I started a couple days ago. It's really helping change my focus - I pray it can help you change yours, too!
#2 Be Present
I've said this before, but it bears repeating: You cannot give what you do not have. And it all starts with your PRESENCE. This simply means bringing your mind to where your body is right now. I know the word mindfulness has been thrown around a lot lately, but its importance cannot be overstated. For a quick explanation on how mindfulness helps your parenting, click here.
We must recognize that when we are looking at our phones while having a conversation with our kids, we are not present with them. And this hurts our connection with them.
When our connection with our children is weak, it affects their desire to cooperate with us (Connection Creates Cooperation). This starts with us being present in the moment that is.
Here are three verses that help me stay present in this moment - rather than worrying about what should be or could be or might be - I pray they help you do the same:
“Be still, and know that I am God...I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. Psalm 23:2
"...Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself..." Matthew 6:34
#3 Identify Your Emotions
Sometimes we get all caught up in the WHY we feel this way or that way - which isn't necessarily unimportant, but FIRST you need to identify your emotions without 'judging" yourself. You can recognize that you are judging if you find yourself thinking something like this:
"Why do I feel sad? There's nothing to feel sad about!"
"I shouldn't be feeling grumpy right now - I have everything I need!"
"I am angry but I shouldn't be. There's just no reason for it!"
I encourage you to spend some quiet time breathing in and out and searching for words that describe your feelings right now in this moment. Start with just a two-minute-moment each day and work up to doing this several times a day. Hey, why not start right now?
Read through this list and see what "fits" you in this moment we're in right now:
ANGRY & APATHETIC - annoyed - aggravated - appalled - bitter - crabby - critical - disgusted - detached - frustrated - impatient - indifferent - irritated - livid - offended - resentful - sarcastic
SHAME & GUILT - awkward - embarrassed - disgraced - humiliated - intimidated - mortified - regretful - remorseful - self-conscious - sheepish - speechless - withdrawn
FEAR, ANXIETY & PANIC - alert - cautious - concerned - confused - edgy - indecisive - insecure - nervous - rattled - shocked - suspicious - timid - uneasy - watchful - worried
JEALOUSY & ENVY - covetous - demanding - desirous - disbelieving - distrustful - gluttonous - greedy - insecure - jealous - possessive - protective - resentful - suspicious
HAPPINESS & JOY -blissful - cheerful - confident - delighted - encouraged - excited - exhilarated - friendly - giddy - hopeful - lively - optimistic - peaceful - playful - pleased - satisfied
SADNESS & GRIEF - anguished - bereaved - bleak - contemplative - disappointed - disconnected - discouraged - heartbroken - hopeless - inconsolable - listless - low - weepy
DEPRESSION - agonized - bleak - crushed - devastated - discouraged - disinterested - drained - empty - flat - helpless - isolated - lethargic - miserable - pessimistic - worthless
If you are wondering why this matters, I'll give you an example: The other day one of my boys was acting short and grumpy with everyone in the house - even the dog. When I noticed this, I said, "You seem to be feeling grumpy?" He said, "Yeah. . . No. . . I don't know!" So, I gave him this list and some quiet time to encourage deep breathing and figuring out how he was feeling. Wanna know what he came back saying? He was feeling scared! Scared of what was happening the world. Scared of not having enough or people get all crazy or us losing our jobs/income.
You see, it would have been "easy" to just write his grumpiness off as a bad attitude, but by him identifying his REAL emotions, we could see what was ACTUALLY driving his behavior - fear - and then we could pray through it together. We often resist identifying our emotions, but once we do, it could actually relieve the distress we have over having that emotion in the first place! I'd love to hear how this goes for you in your home.
#4 Have a Sense of Humor
If you use social media, I am sure you've seen your fair share of the scary news...and hopefully the funny memes and videos that are coming out of this time! It's OK to laugh, you know! Keeping our sense of humor is going to be more crucial during these seemingly endless days. Dad jokes are in no short supply here (insert eye roll and playful chuckle here), but here's some other funny ones I hope give you a smile:
I've eaten 11 meals and taken 5 naps and it's still today.
30 days has September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31...except March which has 172.
I hope the weather tomorrow is good for my trip to Puerto Backyardo. I am getting tired of Los Living Room.
Anyone not eating carbs during this pandemic is most likely a psychopath.
Netflix really needs to disable the "Are you still watching?" feature until this is all over. I don't need your judgement, Netflix.
Now that I've lived during a plague, I get why most Renaissance paintings are of chubby women laying around with their boobs out.
Please feel free to add any other ones to the comments! I'd like to enjoy a laugh with you!
#5 Get Fresh Air & Exercise
Whether you are an exercise fanatic (not at all), a couch potato (maybe a little), or something in between (yeah, that's me!), getting outside and moving your body is SO important! Especially during this time. If you have little ones, toss them in a stroller and get walking around the block. If you have older ones, you can walk and they can scoot or bike beside you...or just lock them in the house and YOU get walking around the block! Just get outside - even if you're in an area where it's cold and snowy - Just. Get. Outside.
I can't tell you how many days I was feeling yucky (real technical), until the dog wore me down and I took him for a walk. But when I got back, I had a brand new attitude! Try it! You could maybe even "social distance" walk or ride bikes with friends? Let me know in the comments how it goes for you!
#ConnectPointMoms helps you create stronger relational connections with the children in your life. This starts with being aware of your own stuff so you can BE PRESENT with your children in the moment you're in, and then knowing and using the best ways to communicate with them.