I used to absolutely love back-to-school season. This love started in elementary school and lasted all the way through my last year of graduate school. I would get so excited about for school supplies, book lists, and the need to get a new planner. (Yes I still use paper planners J). However this year is different. Not only am I no longer in school, but I am also currently living in a pandemic with a new baby. Around mid August my instincts kicked in to get a new planner and I had to take a pause and remind myself that I needed to take extra precautions in going to public spaces right now. I was sad and it wasn’t about the planner. I was feeling a sense of loss and my mind went into grieving mode.
I sat with myself and asked myself why I was feeling so deeply sad at this particular moment. Well, there were a slew of things I don’t need to get totally into here, but one of the biggest reasons was that I was grieving the idea of where I thought I would be at this point. I thought I would be grabbing brunch with my friends—wearing the baby and laughing. I thought I would be spending time with my family members and that they would be getting to know this new beautiful human. I thought at minimum we would all be able to hug one another. But alas, we are not. I knew that I was still so fortunate to be healthy and at home, and this was still really sad.
I then realized that I was also especially down, because I had been looking around on social media and seeing old friends or people I knew still living as if a global pandemic was not happening. I understand that everyone does what they need to do to survive and feel safe, however seeing these people carrying on and living their lives made me feel jealous and as if it was unfair to me. All commentary aside about safe practices during a pandemic, I knew that the other folks’ behavior was not going to change and neither was mine. I also didn’t want to sit in this sadness for longer than necessary so I realized I needed to manage my own feelings in this moment.
If any of you out there have had similar experiences when seeing others returning back to normal when your current situation is not, then here are a few suggestions on how to manage those feelings.
Ask yourself “how come?”
If you are able, when you are feeling either moments of sadness, loss, jealousy, grief, or any other kind of yuckiness that is coming from seeing others out there, really check in with yourself and ask yourself why you might be feeling this way. You might find that it has little to do with that person in the photo, and might have more to do with wishing you were there instead. Whatever the case may be, it can be important to understand why you might be feeling that way in order to resolve that feeling.
Remind yourself of the why:
If you are currently still maintaining distancing practices or are staying at home, ask yourself why you are still practicing this way. Perhaps you have someone in your life that is elderly or immunocompromised. Or, you yourself are immunocompromised. Or, perhaps you are thinking of the good of the community around you. Whatever your reasoning might be, it is a valid reason, and is necessary for your feelings of safety and survival.
If you just reminded yourself as to why you are still staying in, then it is important to practice gratitude in a few ways. The first is to thank yourself for continuing to make the hard choices you need to make in order to stay safe and to keep the others around you safe.
The second is to think or write down a few things that you are grateful for around you. Perhaps it is that you are able to keep your job and work from home, you have a roof over your head, or your family and friends are staying healthy. Whatever it may be, shifting into a space of gratitude can not only transfer you out of that state of mixed feelings, but can also help you in your stamina of carrying on these practices.
However you might be managing during this back-to-school season, I wish you health and moments of joy. Hopefully we can return back to normal as soon as possible and I can get that planner, but until then, I hope you are living your life with Jubilance. ?
All the best,