Baby Steps to a New Normal
by Austin Dixon
Before I start let’s make sure we all realize I am not a writer, therapist, or life coach. Come to this with grace and patience and the understanding we are all doing our best right now (even you Virgos out there thinking, “I really could have given a bit more today if I tried harder.” I see you.). So. While I don’t have the above credentials I do have over 10 years of experience working one-on-one with people to improve their physical and mental health through Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). I do my best to practice what I preach (practice is the key word here… I did not say perfect what I preach or I would be an imposter for sure) so I realize most things are easier said than done. Let’s baby step (at a distance) our way through some ways to take care of ourselves physically and menatally as we adjust to new normal.
–Worry about homeschooling. Good lord. We are all in the same boat. The kids will be fine if you listen to them, sit with them, reassure them, laugh with them, support them. I promise mental health is more important than learning Common Core Math. If you can emotionally support your kids AND teach them math without losing your cool, go for it. If you can’t, don’t worry. My GPA in high school was shockingly low yet I just completed my Doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (that is 10 years of higher education, folks). Your kids will be fine if you support them emotionally. I promise.
–Shaming yourself for stress eating, overeating, undereating, indulging in foods you wouldn’t normally. There are literally people (children!) out there starving because schools are closed. See if you can change your shame into gratitude. It will change everything.
–Obsessing over productivity. Now this one is hard for me because I really like producing. I like to see everything on that to-do list marked off. However, being focused on productivity is not helping anyone right now. We are all overwhelmed. The structures we have relied on have all changed and information is coming at us at rapid speed. Give yourself a break. We could learn something by being still.
-I shouldn’t have to say this at this point, but stop hanging out with your neighbors. Y’all. Unless you are really able to maintain 6+ feet of distance you are missing the point and increasing the time we are going to have to do this. And, please, let’s set our kids up for success. We are setting them up for failure when we tell them to stay 6+ feet apart. They don’t know what that means. Hell, most of the adults out there don’t know what that means. Instead of hanging out with neighbors and yelling at your kids to “give more space” just don’t do it.
–Staying Home. This is literally the most important thing you can do to help your community.
–Moving your body. Move your body any way you can. Literally, whatever goes. Just move.
–Have gratitude. There are a lot of people who have lost their lives and loved ones due to Covid-19. There are many people who have lost access to food and jobs. There are those who don’t have the ability to access healthcare. I know this is hard, but there is a lot to be grateful for.
–Going to sleep. Sleep is hugely important for both physical and mental health. This is a major struggle for a lot of folks. Try not to put pressure on yourself. Take the time to adapt some new sleep routines and try them out. Be gentle.
–Giving to organizations in your community that are working to help those who can not get their basic needs meet right now. Below is a list of places to give money. I will continue adding to this list.