When schools closed in March and quarantine began, I felt OK. I often get stuck in my head with anxious thoughts. I follow @anxiousmoms on Instagram, and on March 13th she posted, “I’m just so used to worrying, it’s weird watching everyone else worry.” Yes. It felt weird, and I felt oddly calm amid the unfolding craziness.
But one thing brought on anxious thoughts--thinking about what the COVID-19 crisis would look like next week, next month, etc. Too many possibilities, no prior experience in my lifetime of what we were collectively experiencing. Then all of a sudden a little voice that sounded a lot like my counselor took up residence in my head. One day at a time.
I do not know what will happen in the future, and mentally playing out all the possible outcomes causes me pain. So these became my healthier thoughts:
Where is this crisis going, and how long will it last? One day at a time.
Will my husband and I lose our jobs? One day at a time.
Will anyone I know get sick or die? One day at a time.
Will my daughter watch Disney+ for a good chunk of every day for the next several months? Yes. Yes she will.
As my counselor has taught me, it is normal to integrate a helpful strategy into our lives only to see it fall by the wayside over time. Lately, my mantra only pops into my head once or twice a day. I am starting to feel more anxious. I feel stir crazy, numb, and I’m note sure what day it is. It’s all taking a toll.
I need to dust off that truth and consciously practice saying it. I’ve only ever been able to make strides in my mental health when I practice, practice, and practice some more. So here we go. Life is less painful when I take it one day at a time.