The Unknown is the hardest part.
Well, at least for me. I’m a planner. I keep an online calendar and a paper one. Knowing what’s coming and what to plan for helps ease my anxiety. The unknown is really scary for me.
So, what can you do? How can you prepare for the unknown? I may not have all the answers, but these are things that help me during times of uncertainty. I hope they will help you too.
A Little Background
Even though this experience with quarantine and a pandemic is a new thing for everyone, including me, I do have some experience with a great big unknown. My twin pregnancy was filled with scary questions and outcomes. No one, including doctors, knew how it was going to end.
Would I have two healthy babies? Would only one survive? Would either make it? No one could tell me.
It was terrifying.
Both babies were so tiny, I couldn’t rely on movement to tell me they were OK. Instead, I had two weekly appointments with the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist. Every ultrasound, my blood pressure would spike. I would hold my breath until the doctor showed me both beating hearts. Then again when they would check the blood flow.
I still remember one doctor telling me that I shouldn’t relax until both babies were safe in a nursery. Until then, anything could happen.
It was one of the hardest experiences of my life.
I remember sobbing in the car on the way home from appointments. Praying constantly. Wishing I could just fast forward time. It seemed to stand still. The state of limbo was excruciating.
Then, it was over.
I’ll never forget the sense of relief I had after waking up from my emergency c-section.
The first words out of my mouth, “Are both babies OK?”
They were. They were tiny and sick. But, they were alive, and they were perfect.
We still had a long road ahead, but the weight of that pregnancy on my shoulders was gone. Until that moment, I didn’t realize how responsible I felt for everything. Even though it wasn’t true, I thought it was my job to get those babies here safely.
So, that is my first tip.
You Can’t Control Everything.
Actually, you really can’t control anything. Yes, you can stay home and wash your hands, but you are not responsible for keeping the entire World safe and healthy.
As parents, we feel responsible for our children and families. It’s one thing to remind them to wash hands and to stay away from friends, but you can only do your best when it comes to their health.
Kids get sick. They get colds, ear infections, and sore throats. It’s not your fault.
You try your best to get them to eat healthy, keep moving, and get enough rest. Your best is enough. You are not perfect and neither am I.
This may all seem like common sense, but during times like these, I tend to be harder on myself and second guess every decision.
Get Off That Computer
Yes, it’s good to be informed and know what is going on in the World. It’s completely different to search constantly in Google or watch the news all day long.
Yes, we’ve seen what has happened in other countries with this Pandemic, but no one can predict what exactly will happen here. There are too many variables.
So, read the latest news in the morning and stay informed, but don’t overload yourself. No matter what source you get your information from, there’s always some type of bias. Don’t let someone else tell you how things are going to turn out. No one can predict the future.
Manage Your Time
Whether you need to take things day by day or even hour by hour, manage your time the way that you need to.
During this time of the unknown, don’t plan months down the road.
I get completely overwhelmed if I try to think about things that will be happening in the future. By future, I mean next week. So, instead, I plan in the now.
Think of a game plan for the morning. Then, decide on lunch, what movie to watch in the afternoon, or what game to play at night. Now is not the time to meal plan a month in advance or nail down your kids’ home school schedules weeks at a time.
The boys’ teachers send us a morning message with each days’ activities. They don’t send a whole week at a time. They give us manageable chunks so we don’t panic.
Even as a planner, during times like this, it does not help me to plan into the future. However, that’s just me.
If you need to schedule and plan out your week or month, you do you.
Which leads me to my next tip.
Be Kind to Yourself
No one has ever experienced anything like this. We are all winging it and making the best out of a scary situation. Anything you can do to make yourself feel better, just do it.
Be gentle, be kind, and love yourself. Love your family and your friends. Do things that make you happy and don’t do things that make you more scared or anxious. Don’t feel guilty for things you can’t control (which is everything!) or things you don’t get done. Give yourself grace and space.
Basically, you have a free pass right now.
No, not to do anything that hurts someone else, but to do something that feels good to you.
I was beating myself up for not working out. After going to the gym consistently for years, suddenly being stuck at home made me feel completely stuck. I didn’t want to work out.
So, I didn’t. I let go of the guilt and gave myself permission to be lazy for a few days. I needed to get my head around the fact that I’m going to have to motivate myself.
Then, yesterday, I went for a run. It didn’t feel great, but it didn’t feel horrible either. I may not do it again, and that’s OK. When I’m ready, I will figure out a way to exercise at home that I enjoy.
My Tips May Not Work For You
That’s OK. The unknown is scary, and it’s OK to be scared.
But scared is a really hard way to live.
So, do what you can. Do your best and try to enjoy the things that are right in front of you. Even though everything may seem a little (or a lot) harder in times of the unknown, we are all in it together. For me, at least, that makes things seem a little more manageable.
If you need to talk or have a tip you’d like to share, please reach out to me. Leave a comment or send me a message. We will make it through the unknown together.