Overcome

I contemplated letting go of my blog for a while until things settle down. Part of me thinks that blogs about my kitchen renovation project aren’t very important right now! Blogs about traveling seem like they’re just teasing me about a life now past. Maybe this will be a better time for a series of parenting/single parenting blogs. I’ll probably start those next week. Could be more relevant now that we’re all trying to parent our kids from home 24/7. Being a teacher and a parent to my kids now is challenging. I think we might all do well with a few thoughts on that.

But I’d like to offer up this post as a bridge to those future posts. This one is dedicated to my friend Suzette…thanks for the idea, Suzette. She suggested I write about the hope that is present in all of this. I’ve been contemplating that and it’s been a challenge. Especially if you’re a news watcher. There’s not much positive in the news right now. So, it’s hard to find the silver lining.

But I do believe deep down that the real super heroes are humans…and not just one human, but all humans put together. And this is very interesting to me. Because the entire world right now is fighting one common enemy. We are all in this together. We will all be affected by this. I think this has the opportunity for us to build stronger ties and connections, built on what we have in common instead of our differences or conflicts.

It Starts with Family

My family has bonded through this for sure. Today we took up a challenge at my son’s middle school and wrote inspiring messages on our sidewalks that can be posted on social media. Take a look:

Inspiring Messages
Inspiring Messages
More Inspiring Messages
More Inspiring Messages

Afterwards, our neighbors texted me to tell me they liked our messages. My kids start their schoolwork in the mornings on their own. They don’t have to be told to get their work done, they just do it. They’ve walked to the park with me, rode their bikes while I ran, made banana bread together, and laughed together. The four of us (my ex, me and my two boys) have spent more time together than we have in three years. 

And It Moves to Community

I’ve been absolutely amazed with my fellow colleagues. In two days my kids’ teachers launched their entire curriculum online, ready for students to start interacting from their own homes. I’ve been in instructional design for several years now. I’ve helped build elearning platforms. Elearning takes time to develop. But these teachers? Two days. Incredible. They’re including videos, having live chats, and connecting with their students frequently. Teachers, you’re amazing. We are the foundation of our society. We are hope for kids and families everywhere.

And Beyond

I may be mad at the world when I run out of toilet paper, but right now, I feel a sense of camaraderie. I keep thinking, what can I do so that the most vulnerable don’t get this virus? Again, we’re all trying to protect ourselves right now, but we’re also trying to protect each other. I’ve recently started giving regularly to a mental health organization. Maybe because I feel a sense of connection to people who struggle with mental health. Like I said in my last post, I’ve struggled with anxiety. I can’t do much for people right now except distance myself from them, so giving seemed like a way I can help the world from my own living room. And right now, I have a job. Not everyone does. I can help in small ways to lift up those who are in worse places than me.

But What About Fear

I know we’re all scared right now. I can tell you that I know fear well. Because of my anxiety, I often think the worst case scenario is possible. I think this is a direct result of some of my own traumatic experiences. I once had a stranger block me in my own bathroom with a knife. It was an experience I will never get over. It made me think that the worst does happen sometimes. It changed the way I viewed my world. The world just didn’t seem safe to me anymore. So, I’ve known fear. And I can tell you that there are ways to manage it. I think if we all manage our fear, collectively, we’ll be better off. Better off within ourselves and we’ll create a better world. Here is what I try to do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to manage my fear:

  • Mindful Meditation (I do this 20 minutes a day)
  • Yoga (Try Yoga with Adriene on Youtube from home…I do this 1-3 times a week)
  • Long walks (twice a week at least)
  • Journaling/praying (30 minutes a day)
  • Exercising (5 times a week)
  • Counseling (1-2 times a month…there are virtual counselors that may be more appropriate right now)
  • Talking to friends and family (frequent phone calls and skype chats a week)
  • Essential Oils (lavender is relaxing and I smear it on my hands every night before bed)
  • Healthy diet and vitamins (I have a super food salad every day for lunch. I take vitamin D and fish oil every day as well as a GABA supplement and tart cherry juice for the melatonin)
  • Hobbies (I play the piano, decorate, paint or read)

All of these ideas will add deposits to your calming nervous system. The other side of your nervous system…the one that keeps you alert and the one you use when you’re busy or planning…may be taking over right now. If you’re feeling anxious, you may have to do more of the ideas above until you’re able to calm your nerves down. Once they’re calm, just do things on a routine to keep you relaxed. This works for me most of the time. It can work for you too. And trust me, the world will benefit with less fear right now. So, you’ll be helping yourself out as well as your world.

We are in this together. I’d love to hear your comments. Tell me about ways, big or small, that you’re beating this thing! We’re all creating history right now. Just think about the parties we’ll have when it’s all over. In the meantime, let’s not forget that we…in our humanity…can be the world’s super hero.

    3 Comments

  1. Rita Erlandson March 26, 2020 at 5:50 pm Reply

    Enjoyed your comments and ways to cope. We will get through this and have a kuch better appreciation for so many people and things!

    • Kara March 26, 2020 at 6:41 pm Reply

      Thanks, Rita! I do believe we’ll get through this too in time. We are all learning patience!

  2. Ron Kesterke March 28, 2020 at 11:46 am Reply

    For me, faith plays a fundamental role in our peace. I read the Bible everyday and pray. The Bible says God is in control and he is always with us and will never leave us. When I am in times like these the book of Psalms is especially helpful. Psalm 46:10 is a favorite. “Be still and know that I am God.” Prayer helps us communicate with God and strengthens our faith and relationship with him. These together help me take steps against the spread of COVID-19 and think of positive things. I am grateful for so many things, most all my children, family and friends. Despite the sorrow associated with the pandemic, I believe good things are resulting. For one, we are spending more time on the really important things. Our current constraints can lead us to relax more and think more.

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