As we move through week 10 of sheltering in place, it may be difficult to give yourself credit for much. You may have trouble focusing at work. You may be tired of making the best of a confined living situation. You may feel that you just aren’t getting things done. Instead of holding yourself to pre-COVID standards, why not look at your current circumstances through the lens of accomplishment? Here are some things for which you probably deserve credit:
Managing work and home
These days work and home are so blended that it’s hard to “turn off” one to fully focus on the other. Yet somehow, you’ve managed to perform your work duties while juggling home responsibilities, whether they involve cleaning, cooking, child care, animal care, family care or home maintenance. You deserve a round of applause for that.
Handling social isolation
Even if you’re an introvert who prefers being alone, this degree of social isolation is hard. Human beings are social beings at the core. The pandemic has deprived us of even casual social contact with people on the street or in public places. Whatever your situation, give yourself credit for enduring the isolation and taking actions to maintain safe contact with co-workers, family and friends.
For those who live alone, sheltering in place can be particularly challenging. It takes courage to keep your spirits up, to stay out of catastrophic thinking, and to trust that this too shall pass. Your ability to be resilient, to take one day at a time and to find creative ways of staying connected to others deserves recognition.
Living with others
It’s one thing to live with others during normal times. Each person is able to come and go, and shared space is only shared for short periods of time. Sheltering in Place has created a completely different dynamic. Now, it can be hard to have a quiet moment, find privacy, or feel relief. It may seem like everything you do is scrutinized, or that everything you do goes unappreciated. Whatever your experience has been, give yourself credit for keeping your cool most of the time, and for successfully sharing a home under extremely stressful conditions.
Even if you don’t feel patient, you have been patient enough to weather the restrictions placed on you because of COVID-19, and to follow the guidelines of your local and state leaders. You’ve patiently waited for instructions about how to live your life, what kind of contact is permissible and when you may be able to resume certain activities. Patience during times of uncertainty is NOT easy. Give yourself credit.
Preparing to step out into the world, into your workplace, and into your community may be anxiety provoking, but it is part of returning to life. You are doing it. You will be doing it. And as you take the initial steps to return to certain locations and activities, you can give yourself credit for taking the necessary precautions and getting back into the game.
Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.
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