2020 has gotten off to a rocky start, to say the least.
The latest challenge being the COVID-19 quarantine. If things weren’t going your way prior to March, it may feel like things will never get better at this point. But I am here to remind you that instead of just surviving the next 6 to 8 weeks, turn this obstacle into an opportunity to thrive!
When one challenge after another gets thrown your way it can be exhausting. I can admit that I was panicked when my full-time job said we were working from home. Then, I realized I would have to transition my business to a remote setting, and my little one ended up needing to stay at home as well… two jobs and a 3-year-old in one household did not sound like a peaceful working environment.
I discovered quickly, however, that how I thought about the situation made a huge impact on how I felt about it. That’s why I want to share my three tips to make it through this difficult time with a clearer mind and more appreciation for the life you live.
As a Marriage & Family Therapist, I am often teaching my clients about reframing. Talking about it and BEING about it are two very different things, however. This shift made me decide to start practicing what I preach. Reframing for me looked like challenging those negative thoughts and making them even slightly more positive. The thoughts that crossed my mind that first weekend of quarantining was, “This is going to be impossible.”, “I’m going to be so unproductive.”, and “I’m going to lose my sanity!” After venting some of those thoughts to my husband, I then realized I needed to reframe these. I quickly began practicing NEW thoughts, “I am going to make this possible.”, “I can set feasible goals for myself.”, and “I will remain sane, and take care of myself more when I am feeling insane.” Changing those thought processes allowed room in my mental space to at least try! Believing in my abilities as an entrepreneur, employee, and mother was vital to making it through that first week.
2. Being Mindful
Practicing mindfulness is step two. Mindfulness is basically the practice of “stopping to smell the roses”. Being quarantined may mean practicing being mindful of what you eat by taking slower bites and savoring the meal you actually had time to cook yourself. Or being mindful could be watching this awesome Frozen Yoga video with your little one, so you both can get a workout in. Acknowledging that for a lot of working moms, like myself, this may be the only time you get to spend countless hours with your child(ren) at this age. I thought my daughter and I would be sick of each other after a week, but now I have a brand new appreciation for the little girl she is becoming (and an even bigger appreciation for how much work stay-at-home moms do)! You can also practice mindfulness meditation for a deeper appreciation for how mindfulness can help you slow down a mind full of chaos. Try out this kid’s friendly guided mindfulness practice!
Last, but certainly not least, is practicing gratitude. Living through what will inevitably become a page in history books, can be scary. We must focus our attention however on the things that we are grateful for. Recognizing that you are resilient, humble, and able to care for those around you is something that we can all be grateful for. Whether you take 5 minutes to write in a journal about the 5 things you are grateful for this week, or you choose to go around the dinner table and voice one thing you were grateful for in that day. Practicing gratitude has been proven to brighten your mood and help you get through hard times. Make this a regular practice in this hard time, and hopefully, it will become a helpful habit long after this is all over.
Remember that taking care of yourself allows you to take care of those around you. Let’s come together, wash our hands of the negative thoughts, be mindful of our impact on other’s health, and be grateful for an opportunity to restore our body, mind, and spirits.
About Our Guest Writer
Analee Phang (aka Lee) is a mom, spouse, and therapist who lives for beach outings and trying new local coffee shops! She relocated to San Diego in 2015 and has put down roots with her family in the bustling College area. She is the proud mom of a ridiculously cute 3-year-old girl and the happy wife of a San Diego native. Lee provides individual, couples, and family therapy at her private practice in Mission Valley. She also writes a blog at SimpLeeTherapy.com and you can find her on Instagram @SimpleeTherapy.