How are you?

How are you today?

I wanted to check in on how you are holding up in the midst of Covid-19.

I am about 3.5 cups of coffee into my morning. Zoom piano lessons are in full swing at our house. I am quite tired from my evening shift last night my oldest is playing piano with her instructor (via Zoom) and I have two giddy girls playing in the sun room, delighted that mom (myself) is allowing them to play and be creative instead of doing math and writing at this very moment.

How am I doing? It's been a hard lately. I have great days and hard days, and I wanted to talk about it.

As an ER nurse, I see the value and need to social distance during this pandemic of Covid-19. But also as an ER nurse, I see how hard isolation and social distancing are affecting mental health. There is so much fear, anxiety, sadness and hopelessness right now, more than normal. So let's start a conversation. How are you?

How are you, really?

As a mom, friend, sister, daughter, and neighbor I sure hate this. Isolation and me quite honestly do not get along well. I would say that generally, my mental health is good. Lately though, I have had a lot of tears and emotions. My normal supports are also in social isolation, and I find that it is so much harder to reach out on video chats or even on the good old fashion phone call. Usually I am so happy just to see my people on video chats that I do not go into the deep and hard stuff. I am genuinely happy to catch up!

You know what else has been hard for me? Switching my hats. Last week was especially hard on me. Nothing prepares you as an ER nurse for a pandemic except working in that pandemic. There really is no prep except feet on the ground, (I have read all the daily Covid emails and watched all the tutorials but the greatest learning does not come from theoretical. It comes from hands-on experience.)

So last week, I attended a Covid code blue intubation simulation at work. That took a few hours, practice in full gear and a lot of mental space. I then rushed home to put on my mom/homeschooling hat for a few hours. And then once again a few hours later, I switched back into my ER hat to work an evening shift on the Covid unit. I yelled at my kids, I failed them as a teacher and as a mother. I tried to do it all. I was an emotional mess. I see that now.

I thrive on being needed. I am made that way. Maybe because I am a middle child, or maybe that is how God created me. I thrive when I am needed. It gives me a sense of fulfillment and purpose. I am currently reading Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection. It shed some light on me that I did not like all that much. I love being needed (as a mom, home school teacher, wife, ER nurse, etc.) I derive purpose from it, strength even. I love being there for others. But because I derive strength from it, it makes me feel weak when I need others. I do not feel that others are weak when they reach out to me, but I feel it when I need others. I feel that I am not strong enough somehow; that I'm failing. But really, I'm failing by thinking I can go it alone. I'm failing by thinking I can do it all. I cannot.

Last week was very illuminating. I do not have to do it all, hold it all together all the time. I am allowed to step back and give myself grace. What do my children benefit from a stressed-out, yelling mother? Nothing. They benefit nothing, it is actually damaging.

What I am learning:

1-Give myself grace.

I do not need to accomplish every item on my list of home school and my daily to-do list. It will wait til later or tomorrow even. Give yourself grace to try again later.

2-Knowing my limits

I do not need to do it all. That is actually an unrealistic role model for my children as well. It is healthy to do a mental check-in, especially when you feel you are escalating. If I am feeling anger rising or starting to feel overwhelmed, these are warning signs. Listen to them. They are telling you to take a step back, take a break, put the task away and go do something else that allows you to calm down and refocus.

3-Take a break.

Have some fun. Do not be all serious and all business all the time. I am trying to model this to our daughters. Being productive is important. But having balance and joy and laughter is too.

4-Reach out

Reach out when you need to talk. Be honest. Simply talking to someone trustworthy about the hard stuff is very liberating. It actually takes strength to say, "I am not Okay. This has been a very hard day."

So how are you doing today? Really.

I would love to hear from you!

You can click the "Let's chat" link on my page, or click the contact link at the top of my blog and send me an email!

Love, Sarah

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