The COVID-19 pandemic rages on keeping us all in isolation for our safety and the safety of the ones around us. How are you coping? In a world full of social media, where on a normal day our everyday moments are shared for the world to see, our coping mechanisms are on display. Not only for others to see, but comment on. In a land full of stress and forced isolation, it is time to proclaim a “no judgement zone” on the ways we cope.
The Tweet that Caught My Attention
On April 7th, I was scrolling through Twitter and this tweet caught my attention:
“No one is coping at you” these words are so critical in the days ahead. My mind started spinning as soon as I started to process the full meaning for our social media connected world.
Isolation Looks Different in Every Home
Before we even start to discuss the actual act of coping, it is important to first recognize that our current crisis looks different in every home. There are households with two parents and multiple children where both parents are working from home. Another house has a single person, working from home with only her pets as company. There are single parents with multiple children or a single child. Still other homes have two parents, multiple children, and no one is working because of the current shut down. Young, old, working, retired, the scenarios are almost endless. For some isolation is quiet and empty, while for others they are surrounded by people and searching for a way to have 5 minutes of quiet isolation.
All Coping Mechanisms are Created Equal
No two people cope to stressful situations the same. Coping mechanisms are like finger prints, they match each individual specifically. What works for one person may spike the stress meter of someone else. I may need to stay busy and feel productive. You may need to feel relaxed, enjoying popcorn and movies on your couch. Someone else may need a creative outlet, a way to create something beautiful to offset their dark and scary emotions. Whether you are building walls, creating music videos, reading novels, or playing board games, the key to coping is that it gives you a sense of balance in an otherwise unbalanced situation.
No Judgement Zone
People in isolation are spending a tremendous amount of time on the internet, using it as the superhighway to connection with the world outside the 4 walls in which you live. As we scroll our way through our media feed, it is filled with pictures of the million different ways people are coping from one day to the next. Remember, no one is coping at you! The pictures and descriptions on your feed are not meant to be an assault against the way you are spending your time. They are simply a representation of how I am spending mine. Before you comment, remember this is a no judgement zone. If your comment is not positive, keep scrolling! Let people share without fear of judgment and negativity.
Stop Internal Judgement
The no judgement zone goes for internal messaging as well. The pictures of Suzy Jones’ 7 course meal and scratch made dessert is not an assault on your menu of frozen pizza and cookie dough ice cream. It means Suzy copes in her kitchen over a hot stove. It is not a reflection on you! Tell your brain to stop lecturing on how you should really learn to cook and try harder like Suzy. Nope! You should find what makes you feel balanced and happy and follow that path. Suzy is not judging you and don’t let your brain tell you otherwise.
When to Speak Up
If you see actions that are putting people in danger, then it is time to speak up. Speak gently but firmly at first. If you still have concerns, speak loudly and with more passion. We are living in unprecedented times. No living human being has experience surviving a global pandemic. It is new, scary, and the rules are constantly changing. Stay informed on what the current landscape looks like. Follow the rules. Keep yourself, your family, and your neighbors safe. The way we get through this situation safely is to remember that everyone is responsible for the safety of the people around them. The only way we get through this is together. Even if together, means we are standing 6 feet apart.
Thank you Abby Norman for reminding us that coping is not an assault against your neighbor. During these difficult times, let’s proclaim a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. DO NOT judge others and DO NOT judge yourself. Find a list of social distancing appropriate activities that make you feel whole, balanced, and at peace. Find coping mechanisms that keep the wheels on the bus moving forward and your family healthy and happy. Our days in isolation will come to an end. We will return to normal. Until then, in our house, there is a combination of cooking, baking, building, video games, and board games filling our days. The house is full of laughter and smiles. We are finding our ways to cope. Find yours, my friends, and stay safe!