Because we don’t have any experience trying to live life during a global pandemic, we don’t know how we’re going to feel on a day by day (or even a minute by minute) basis.
I’ve certainly been surprised by my own feelings and responses. For example:
- Frustration: I really thought trying to guide a kindergartener through very clear lessons (props to Sam’s amazing teacher and school!) would be a breeze. But it is actually incredibly frustrating. Sam insists on doing everything on the iPad himself. Watching as a 5 year-old tries to type a lengthy password/web address letter by excruciating letter is the very definition of torture. Plus Sam tries to breeze through his writing/drawing assignments, just to get them done, and I’m not sure how to slow him down. I know he can do more/better, but as I’m not a certified teacher (and I’m his mom–who listens to their mom about stuff like this?) I don’t know how to make this happen without inspiring a gigantic tantrum.
- Sadness: Throughout the course of the day, I find myself being hit by random waves of sadness, for everything my family and our world has lost. These feelings of sadness often come out of the blue, without a clear trigger.
- Stress: OK, so I’m not surprised by this one, but unfortunately, things that I normally love to do are stressing me out during this crisis. Writing is an example of this. I thought that writing about the virus every day would help me cope. But actually, it’s contributed to my stress, as it’s just one more thing on my to-do list. Trying to write and see patients virtually and shepherd my kids through school is just too much.
To manage all of these emotions, I have to be respectful of my limits, which are different than the limits I had when life was running normally. One new limit I am going to respect: not pressuring myself to write every day. Whenever I feel I have the time/energy/inspiration to write, I will. Whenever I have a new insight thanks to my own experience or my patients’ experiences, I’ll share it.
Try to take stock of your new limits, and respect them. And don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your own limit-setting successes (or failures!). You can find me on email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on social media (@DrCBTMom on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram).