Part 1: COPING
How COVID-19 Has Affected Our Way Of Life
As a result of social-distancing, we’ve all been forced to change the way we live. We have either been staying home as much as possible, working (those who still have the blessing to be working) from home, or continuing with life as normally as we possibly can under the circumstances. And no, Ellen DeGeneres, it has not been boring or great for everyone, for sure.
When the circumstances push you to the limits, life can become truly hard and painful. I normally love my life: my time with my girls, my job, my relationship with my parents, my work at home and being a wife, my faith and my passion for writing. Personally, this is how I feel, pushed to the limits in all the aspects. Please know I’m not complaining. I am aware many of us are going through hardships. But today, I want to share my experiences with being under quarantine/self-isolation and how it has impacted my life. I also want to tell you how as a result and response to this situation, I needed to come up with strategies to remain sane, while responding to those who need me and remaining productive. I don’t want to let go of that space in my life I’ve worked so hard to dedicate to writing.
As a mother of young kids (who’s never homeschooled before) organizing some kind of schedule on-the-fly, sorting out teachers’ detailed emails containing lessons, instructions, links and attachments, and going through school material was nothing short of a nightmare. Not to mention teaching a hyperactive child who can’t concentrate.
As a working parent, with three weekly staff meetings, training and having to report on 20 hours of work-from-home every week, it has been exhausting and incredibly stressful. The stress coming from not having enough hours in the day to fit in the cooking and housework schedules I share with my husband, while also, after homeschooling, minding the kids and trying to keep them busy and quiet while dad works. It forced me to push my own working hours at the end of a full day when my husband was done with his work. I quickly saw my writing time disappear. After a totally crazy day of survival, finding the time and energy to write became an impossible feat.
As a daughter, whose ageing parents live alone overseas and with my mum undergoing chemotherapy, it has been devastating not to be able to go see them and look after her. The hardest part is the worry, only cushioned by calls over the phone or computer. The saddest thing was having to cancel travel arrangements only a week before the trip was scheduled, due to borders closing everywhere. The uncertainty of these times can be devastating.
As someone who believes in God and the Bible, these past three months, have been a real trial of faith. I have been pushed to the limit in my attempt to understand why things happened the way they did which pushed me to read the Scriptures more and communicate with God through prayer more earnestly. I am learning the true meaning of “trusting that God knows best and has a reason for everything.”
I’m sure this is a common scenario for many of us. We’re all dealing with different struggles, and those have only been worsened or accentuated by the current situation for each one of us.
Why Things Get Out Of Hand
With everything happening unexpectedly, I felt choked underneath a world of responsibilities, worries and stress. Tears, frustration, yelling, and chaos became part of our days at home. I was heading towards burnout or worse, a nervous breakdown. To avoid it I was forced to stop, take a breath, and rethink what was really going on, reconsidering my response to the situation.
I realized that when there is no strategy, no plan, things get out of control.
The other realization is that I had to accept that things would not be done exactly as I wanted or as perfectly as I would like. We would not be able to cover all homeschooling material as families with moms who don’t work. I would have to sacrifice perfect cleaning and tidying up of the house because other things needed more attention. We’re really living unprecedented times.
A total and quick reorganization was required. I needed perspective and acceptance that I could not do everything.
What To Do
On the writing front, going back to basics with a pen and paper worked.
On the organized side, giving each task a clear place and time helped a lot. Sounds obvious, but it’s hard to maintain, especially when you are not naturally structured or organized.
I have never been an organized or structured person, but I much rather suffer through the small pain of having to plan my days ahead of time, as best I can, than continue living in chaos. It has become basic survival, not only for my own mental health but for that of the entire family. It’s times like these that force us to step up to the plate.