The New Normal

Many moments have passed this weekend, without me writing a single stitch. Most of those moments have found me folded over with anxiety, fear, and deep concern. So many people are dying.

The other night, early in the morning, I was looking at an interactive website called covidactnow.org. It was probably the wrong time of day for me to absorb the information on the site, because I was very tired. Bad news always feels more alarming when I am tired. Anyway, the information on this website led me to begin feeling, on a deep level, the very real devastation that this pandemic has wreaked, and will continue to wreak, on our world. Reality was finally sinking in.

After synthesizing the information on the site, I began to feel that I should stay at home for a solid 8-10 weeks. In order to protect myself, there should be no leaving the house for anything, not even food. But I don’t think I have what I need to hunker down for that long of a period.

The thought of buying a second refrigerator has crossed my mind. I could put it in the garage. But do I want to spend that kind of money? If I were to go to a warehouse store to stock up on more than I already have, I’d still be out and about, potentially exposing myself to the virus.  

I think I feel stuck. I think the “stuckness” has led to me feel paralyzing fear. And the fear leads me to fall back on my most basic, regressive coping mechanism: sleep. I’ve slept very late the last two days. I even took an additional nap today. The gloomy weekend weather hasn’t helped my mood, my motivation, or my energy level.


My most basic coping mechanism.

 I’m not scared only for myself. I’m scared for my friends, family, and co-workers. I’m fearful that young children I know are going to lose a parent. I’m fearful that there will be too many funerals to go to. Except that we can’t have funeral gatherings right now. This is just so insane. This whole experience is so foreign. The reality of living through a pandemic is foreign to the vast majority of the world.

Moments ago, I moved to sit up straighter on my sofa, and in doing so, I put pressure on my left arm. My shoulder shouted in protest. I tried shaking it out, yet my shoulder cuff then screamed, and I cried out. It was a searing, paralyzing pain. No wonder. These are searing, paralyzing times. I feel myself holding a great deal of tension, even as I type.

I’m getting ready to sleep again, and I just received a text from a loved one that has the perfect message to close out this emotionally grueling day. The message is from a person named Lisa Olivera. Lisa describes what the world is going through right now as a “collective trauma experience.” She normalizes being scared, exhausted, foggy and less productive than usual. She encourages us to be gentle with ourselves during this time.

Gentleness is a message that I give to my clients as well. I always encourage gentleness and self-care for clients as they are working through tough, personal issues. When they are going through a particularly excruciating time, I often say that there is no such thing as “too much” self-care. Perhaps I need to listen to my own message now. Perhaps I need to give myself permission to be human, to be affected, to care about what is happening in the world.  

Does “nesting” create gentlenessfor you?

It’s okay if we need to stop and engage in a soothing activity for awhile.

How are you taking care of yourself right now? Are you engaging in self-care, or is self-care a foreign concept to you? How can you bring gentleness and permission to be human into your life right now? Please know that it is okay to take care of yourself, even as you may be taking care of loved ones. Put on your oxygen mask first…then you can give to others.

Wishing you peace and good health,

Mari - 3.29.2020