You may or may not have noticed, I missed the last blog email. I’m not even sure I can use the word “missed”. I didn’t forget I had a blog to write, I simply couldn’t focus the energy on sitting down to write it. I’m guessing you may be chuckling to yourself right now, saying,
“Yea, I hear you Kelly. I’ve struggled to focus energies on doing things I used to do too”.
Today marks exactly one month since my kids’ school sent home suggested learning objectives on a Friday in case there wouldn’t be school the following week. It was one month ago that we walked to a neighbor’s house so the kids could play together outside, while the other mom and I talked. I remember us not being overly concerned about what a potential Covid19 response would be in our area. Maybe the school district would close for a week or two. Maybe we would be forced to take a mini staycation. That wouldn’t be so bad, would it?
That Sunday night, we received the pre-recorded phone call letting us know that schools would be closing for the next two weeks due to Covid19 and to help teachers prepare for online learning. That was the start of life as I knew it, being completely flipped on its head.
Monday brought the flurry of emails canceling situational awareness presentations and day-long trainings. Only four days earlier, I had looked at the month ahead and felt excitement for all the opportunities to help people see skills they already possessed, in a new way. To help each of them feel more confident in their ability to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. I felt like my company was finally turning a corner and gaining momentum. At the beginning of the year, I had participated in a vision board workshop and 2020 was going to be the year of growth. My word for the year was “mighty”.
Watching that momentum disappear in a matter of hours didn’t make me feel very mighty.
I’m guessing you probably have a similar story about how the pandemic shutdown affected you.
Loss. Uncertainty. Anger. Frustration. Helplessness.
Those first two weeks of shutdown were a rollercoaster of emotions for me. When my calendar reminder popped up to tell me that I had a blog to write, I dismissed it. What the hell was I going to write about when most people were stuck at home? I didn’t want to pretend that nothing was different in the world. I didn’t want to put on a fake smile and act as if my life was humming along as usual. I also wasn’t mentally in a place to process what I was going through.
Every day brought new information, new protocols, new restrictions, new challenges. I needed every ounce of energy focused on my family and establishing a new routine so my kids could feel safe and secure. I needed to figure out how to let the fires of DAG go down to hot embers without letting them go completely out. I needed to figure out how to support my husband, who is upper administration in law enforcement, while he was trying to figure out how to keep the officers safe and healthy, so they could keep citizens safe. Because a lot of those citizens were now on the front lines. Keeping grocery shelves stocked, figuring out how to reorganize the healthcare system to prepare for a potential spike in Covid19 cases, driving thousands of miles to keep the supply chain going with the increased demand for goods, and small business owners desperately trying to shift their model over night in order to save their livelihoods.
Everyone was affected. It was overwhelming.
I realized the airplane passenger safety briefing applied now more than ever. Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.
I had to figure out how to take care of myself so I could help take care of others. Suddenly, my own words on how to become more situationally aware had another parallel in my life.
When I made that mental switch, I wasn’t back to the full strength, kickass Kelly overnight. I had to set up small, daily habits and commit to doing them every day.
I made a list of 5 things I would do every morning to help me get in a better head space.
- Read my daily, faith-based message
- Write down 5 things I was grateful for
- Look at my vision board
- Choose 1 thing I would accomplish for the day
- Spend 7 minutes meditating
These were all things that were simple for me. They didn’t take a lot of time. Which is very important right now with 8 and 7-year-old boys’ home with me every day (did I mention EVERY DAY?!).
My mental health improved, and the emotional rollercoaster went from Six Flags level down to County Fair level.
When you start focusing on your personal safety skills, it’s important to start with small daily habits and commit to doing them. It’s not about only looking for a threat. It’s about being curious about your environment and noticing the things in it.
Pick ONE THING to look for today. Maybe it’s noticing all the different animals in your yard (squirrels, birds, rabbits, deer, fox, etc.) It doesn’t matter if you live in the city or in the country. Tomorrow, pick something new to look for. Maybe it’s going for a walk and doing the Heart Hunters challenge (a Facebook group now over 800k members strong).
I wish I could tell you when the self-isolation recommendations will be lifted. I wish I could tell you what your life and daily routine will look like when all businesses can open back up.
It’s just like I wish I could tell you exactly what to look for to prevent you from ever being attacked. It’s how I wish I could tell you exactly which self-defense tool to carry with you at all times.
I can’t. I can’t see into the future. No one can.
Anyone who tells you exactly who or what to look for, or exactly what tool to carry in order to stay safe, is full of shit.
Right now, I simply want you to do whatever you need to do, to stay healthy and to stay safe.
Take care of yourself. Do whatever it is that you need to do, to take care of your loved ones. Don’t let someone else dictate how you should act right now. Give yourself grace and remember that you will get through this.
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”