I opened Facebook to see a post about my cousin struggling to breathe in the hospital. And the loss of a beloved professor from COVID. I opened Instagram to see a friend post about the fires in Greece, close to where she’s living. And then in Instagram Stories, I saw videos from doctors and reports of high hospitalizations, something we had seen in person when we took a child in for a routine test at Children’s this week. And wildfires everywhere.
I turned to my husband and said I feel like this is deja vu. Like we’re starting all over again. Why?! I haven’t been wearing a mask in most places for about a month. And as I sat at the table organizing our bin of face masks, I cried. I let myself sit in my anxiety, frustration, and fear for a little while.
I’m over it…
I don’t want to. I don’t want to fight my kids about masking. Don’t want to keep telling them that the pandemic is not over yet. I don’t want to keep masking. I don’t want to quarantine or experience people panic buying again. I don’t want to live in unprecedented times anymore.
And while I love our community, church, and neighborhood, I absolutely cannot trust them to put my kids first. Because if we get to a point as many have around the world, where hospitals have to prioritize patients? My kids with pre-existing conditions and foster loves on Medicaid will not be prioritized over a healthy child on private insurance.
But sitting in grief, listening to that fear does me no good. Everyone’s fatigued. Everyone’s over it. So, so over it.
I’m in charge of myself. And my kids. I know this anxiety response isn’t healthy. I know there are healthy ways to respond. I’m going to focus on those, one at a time, the best I can.
Before we get into these though, I want to point out that I realize it is a privilege to be in a position where I was able to relax for a little while and not solely be in survival mode right now.
8 Ways I’m Coping with the Second Wave of Coronavirus
1) Taking Care of People & Saying Thank You More
I’m going to get a Starbucks gift card for my friend whose kid is in the hospital right now. I’m going to send an encouraging note to a friend. Going to get my preschooler to help me with encouraging notes to her friends.
And we can all focus on saying thank you more. Thank you to the teachers who just desperately wanted this to be a normal year. Thank you to the grocery clerks, to the servers who are worried about paychecks, to anyone and everyone really! And we should all send encouragement to anyone we know working in healthcare and hospitals.
2) Focus on Facts over Pundits
I’m not interested in what “Susan B. Reporter” thinks about all of this. I’m going to be looking at the county/hospital websites. Going to listen to my friends who work in and at the hospitals. At the schools. Try my best to ignore the news headlines and pay attention to the facts and not opinions being reported. The media and big box stores made a lot of money off our fear last year. Let’s maybe make it a little more difficult for them this time.
3) Getting Outside or Playing Actively Inside
I love going on walks with the stroller. It eats up time, I don’t have to be creative, and it’s a healthy activity for us all. But any playtime outside is great! I’m also not afraid to sacrifice my couch cushions to an energy-zapping indoor obstacle course. And our preschooler loves these videos and ones like it that get you up and moving.
Check out this article with more parent-approved Youtube channels here.
4) Crying Some Precedented Tears & Talking
The most consistent thing about life is its inconsistency. Sigh. It’s good to acknowledge the fatigue and stress. To be able to call out our emotions. And it’s healthy to cry sometimes.
Talk about it with a friend and with a counselor if need be. There’s a lot of power in being able to name feelings and thoughts and say them out loud. Breathing exercises have also come in handy.
5) Engage Positively & Limit Social Media
Personally, my rule is to leave three positive comments every time I open Facebook or Instagram right now. And I have time limits set up in my settings. Not that it stops me from scrolling, but it does help.
6) Take Advantage of the Fringe Hours
Mom and author, Jessica Turner, talks about taking advantage of the fringe hours: that time when we’re tempted to just scroll. Waiting on our kids, in-between times, etc…
Now I haven’t felt like reading very much, but my husband’s been listening to anti-racist books on audiobook which has led to some great conversations! And when my infant lets me have some hands-free time, I’ve been working on writing cards or drawing with my kiddo.
7) Take Everything One Step and One Decision at a Time
What do we feel comfortable with right now? What can we do right now? We do not know what next week or month will look like, so I’m going to try not to focus on it. Right now we’re going to stay in gymnastics, but shower afterward. At this moment I still feel comfortable going to the library, but I might not next week and that’s ok. I’m not looking at next week. I’m just looking at today and this week. I’m remembering that we can change our minds about school and many other things.
8) Mask Up
I’m thankful to be vaccinated and not in fear of a severe case, but I don’t want a light case either if I can avoid it. My children and several family members are unvaccinated. So, I’ll continue to mask up for them indoors, too. My preschooler doesn’t like masks unless they’re animal faces or dress-up, so I’m going to grab a couple more on sale. And I’m going to talk positively about it with my kids, like this Laurie Berkner song.
This Sucks, but it isn’t Forever
It also helps to remember that this too shall pass. Even if we look back a hundred years ago, they also dealt with propaganda, thinking they were done with the disease and a second wave. This sucks, but it isn’t forever. But it has been all or half of my kids’ lives and I want them to have some positive memories. I know what I want their day and my day to look like right now, and that’s got to be my main focus.
Time to be Aware & Care
This second wave happened seemingly suddenly. It sucks. It isn’t where any of us want to be. But it’s time to once again take this seriously. Not to panic, not to panic our kids, but to be more aware, to mask up, and to care for our neighbors and community.
We talk a lot about kids being resilient, but moms are, too.
It doesn’t mean we’re OK, but we’re making it. And that’s what we’re doing, we’re making it, day by day.