Granting Ourselves Grace During This Pandemic

During a pandemic, there is no right or wrong way to be. Remember back in March when we were first given the “shelter in place” executive order and spending more time at home? Some of us used that time to organize our closets, clean our baseboards, bake homemade bread, and even learn how to churn our own butter (seriously…I know people who did that!). Some of us set up weekly happy hours with our friends via ZOOM. Some of us had nightly game nights with our families. Some of us learned how to work from home. Some of us learned how to homeschool our kids. Some of us learned how to work from home WHILE homeschooling our kids. Some of us continued to go to work despite being scared to death of getting sick. Some of us reconnected with our significant other. Some of us ended relationships. Some of us gained the dreaded “Quarantine 15” (or more). Some of us crawled into the fetal position every day and cried. None of those things are right or wrong. If you are surviving this pandemic (and if you’re reading this, you ARE surviving it), GREAT JOB!!!! There is no shame in not knowing how to navigate the constant twists and turns we’ve been dealing with for the last 5-6 months. There is no shame in letting your kids have more screen time because you need an hour to yourself. There is no shame in crying EVERY SINGLE DAY! There is no shame in not getting your 2-mile run in every day. You are surviving, and you need to give yourself grace. What does “give yourself grace” mean? Well….it means stop beating yourself up for not achieving the goals you set for yourself. It means stop self-criticizing. It means it’s ok to not know what to do or how to handle any given situation right now. It means it’s ok to ask for help!

Here are a few quick tools to help you give yourself some grace, not just during a pandemic, but anytime.

*Start your day with a positive affirmation. Look yourself in the mirror every morning and tell yourself something positive. It sounds corny, I know, but it does work. Channel your inner Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live (“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”) and start telling yourself how great you are. Soon you’ll start to believe it!

*Stop the negative self-talk. As soon as a negative thought comes into your mind, tell yourself “STOP!” No more negative self-talk. It’s neither healthy, nor productive. Once you stop the negative thought, change it to something positive. For example: “I am so lazy” becomes “I need a day or two to recharge. It’s ok to do so. I will take the time to rest my body and mind, then get back to work when I feel up for it.” Another example: “I’m a horrible parent. My children don’t listen and all they want to do is play video games” becomes “I’m doing my best and this is a stressful time for me AND my children. It’s ok to let them have some extra screen time, but we are going to work together as a family to come up with a list of chores for everyone.” Those are just a couple examples. It’s up to you how you want to reword it for your situation. If you need help reframing those negative thoughts into positive ones, ask for help!

*Take time for yourself. Practicing self-care is so important all the time, but especially during a pandemic. This means different things for different people. Find what recharges your mind, body, and soul, and do it as much as you can and do not feel bad for it!

Please try incorporating these quick tools into your daily routine, and remember, always reach out if you are struggling. It’s ok to not be ok and it’s ok to ask for help. We are here for you!

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