by Denica Bishop
Have you ever been looking forward to something big, only for it to feel like a bust? For some of us, it’s a milestone birthday we were planning for that didn’t go as planned. For others, the dream wedding that turned into a nightmare, or the joy of a newborn baby that’s turned into sadness with the news of an unexpected illness. What do we do when we’ve been imagining how awesome life was about to be, only to find that we are forced to adjust to an unwanted reality?
We’ve entered a new season! Temperatures are warming, the days are getting longer, flowers are blooming and it’s time for us to get outside. It’s time to plan our outdoor gatherings, start traveling and enjoy life… right? We were looking forward to Spring Break, but it seems like Spring has been broken. What does it look like to care for yourself in the midst of a pandemic?
Often in moments of disappointment, there are small treasures that we are gaining that we don’t always see right away. When nobody showed up for our milestone birthday, we learned to celebrate ourselves. When our dream wedding turned into a nightmare, we became ‘wedding whisperers” who helped another bride muddle through the murky waters of a nightmarish wedding day. When we got the news of an unexpected illness, we slowed down, took more photos and gave more kisses to our baby. How can you care for yourself right now? Look back at all the wisdom you’ve gained through your difficult times. In the midst of difficulty, you were growing. Slowly but surely. You didn’t have it all figured out then, and you don’t need to have it all figured out now. Breathe. Relax. Sleep. Honor the time and space we are in right now. Now is the time to practice our coping skills and if we don’t have any, now is the time to learn.
Notice how you are feeling throughout the day. Often, we will push ourselves to get things done which means that we have to ignore how we are feeling. Pay attention to your breathing. Is it shallow? Are you holding your breath? Take the time to exhale slowly through your mouth and inhale through your nose. We can’t control our environment, but we can control our breathing. Be aware of your nutrition. Since we are forced to slow down, we can be more aware of the affects different foods have on our bodies. It may taste good, but it might not feel good. We have the time to be mindful and when we emerge from this hibernation, it will be with a better awareness of who we are. And if you have to cry in the meantime, by all means go ahead and cry.