Because I love you and our community, I wear a mask and practice social distancing when I'm in public.
Maybe you've noticed. There's a lot of craziness going on out there. Protestors, armed to the teeth, storming state buildings, all the conspiracy theories swirling around, on top of the general overall feeling of anxiety hanging in the air, it feels like we're going off the deep end. It's nuts and all too much.
So, rather than getting caught up in these drama cyclones, I invite you to in off the ledge with me. Take some deep breaths and check out my tips to help you persevere.
Try not to obsess about the news.
When I start my morning reading the news and checking social media, it wrecks my mood for the whole day. It stresses me out to read about the crazy, self-obsessed things people are doing and that's frustrating and exhausting. This is written for me as much as it for you: Focus on living your life and the things that are within your control. Most importantly - don't read the comments on social media posts.
Don't believe the hype.
There are factions out there that are purposely sharing misinformation to keep us confused, divided, and fighting and they're posting at record levels. The horrible thing about these floods of misinformation is when people share these conspiracies, it becomes louder and louder - often drowning out the truth. It's important to the health of our community to make sure the news sources are credible before passing them on, even if they agree with your world view. Here's an article by NPR on how to tell the difference between real and fake news.
Look for the good.
Even though you can't tell it from reading the news, there really is more "good" than "bad" out there. Most of us agree on more things then we disagree on when we come together and talk. It's easy to let the negativity suck up all your attention and emotional bandwidth, so try focusing on the positive things - outside and inside your life. The list of all the things I'm grateful for during this pandemic is vast. That you're here reading my thoughts is big on my list.
We're all in this together.
Because of how the Corona Virus spreads, our actions affect the whole community: the risks we take aren't only our own. If we aren't taking common-sense precautions when we're out in public, there's a chance we will catch the illness or spread it to someone else. Wearing masks in public is uncomfortable and it's hard to see when your glasses fog up, but it's important in containing the illness. I don't know about you, but I sure don't' want to get sick, and I would be devastated if someone I knew got sick with this because of me.
This is not the "new normal."
Are you as tired of that phrase as I am? I refuse to believe that this is where we're going to be from now on. It's going to be a while, but eventually, we will be able to hug again, go to concerts, meet friends for day drinking in real life, and all the other things we're missing. To call this the "new normal" feels like settling for something that isn't even close to good enough. I think we're in an adapting phase, which is why things are changing so fast. Hang on. I think it's going to be like this for more than a minute. It's time to put on our thinking caps and rev up our creative problem-solving engines to keep moving forward.
Feel all the feels.
In case you didn't notice, people are more emotional than normal. I know I am. I can barely watch a toilet paper commercial without crying. Vacillating between anger, sorrow, happiness, and frustration is to be expected. Whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, we are in the middle of a crisis - a health care crisis. People who have never been depressed are depressed now - and for good reason. There are going to be good days, bad days, and everything in between. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself some time and space to experience your emotions. All of them.
Kindness goes a long way.
There's nothing like a little act of kindness to make a day, yours, or someone else's. Especially now. I love the stories about the Kansas farmer who sent his spare N95 masks to New York and the 11- year-old girl who wrote a thank you letter to her mail carrier. That kind of stuff keeps us all going. Even something as small as calling someone to check in on them and let them know someone is thinking about them helps. The best result of doing something kind for someone else is how incredible it makes you feel too.
Reach out for help if you need it.
Sometimes reaching out for help from a friend or family member is all you need. When I start to feel lonely, I give someone a call. But other times, you need more help than they can give. Here are some resources with wonderful people waiting to help you:
Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center, (316) 263-3002
Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Hotline, (316) 660-7500
National Domestic Violence Hotline, (800) 799−7233
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (800) 273-8255
Crisis Text Line, Text 741741
Give yourself a hug.
The lack of human touch isn't helping how we feel right now either. Hugging is universally comforting. It makes us feel good and studies have shown they're important to our overall health too. If you live with other people, I hope you're still getting lots of hugs. Those of us who live at home, not so much. Amazingly, it feels good to hug yourself. Give it a try. Just put your arms around yourself, give a little squeeze, and send yourself some love.
Now, hug yourself again and pretend it came from me.