Finding Stability During Instability

#StayAtHome

It’s a hashtag that is all over the place on social media all around the world. And yet, it’s something that many people are struggling with. Changes happened so quickly that we’ve barely had a chance to adjust.

Many students and teachers (myself included) left school thinking they would be leaving only for the week of Spring Break. So many plans were made, so many thoughts of looking forward to some relaxation in the sun, so many ideas of how we would return and what the rest of the school year would be like.

Well those ideas quickly had to change. In what can be a scary time, we are also learning how to cope as we enter uncharted territory. Many schools have already cancelled for the rest of the semester, moving to online only learning. Some schools have ever extending timelines of when they might return to the classroom. Parents are having to facilitate learning from their kitchen tables and living rooms. Everyone has questions – often it seems like there are more questions than answers.

However, we can’t let those unanswered questions and uncertainties bring us down. I say, take a moment: feel sadness at missed moments with friends and family, feel anxiety at the unknown, feel fear at the ever changing information and rising numbers.

But don’t stop there! Take the next moment to find inspiration, find a minute to reconnect with people who got lost in the harried pace of life, learn a new skill, rediscover a passion, think outside the box as to how you can help others.

We are so used to living in a society that is always turned on, always on the go, always looking to the next step, always being connected (both in person and online). This idea of social distancing becomes difficult because we have lived in a society that has not valued quiet time (except for parents), has not valued time for reflection. We have a difficult time distancing from others because, as a society, we are not comfortable with being “alone.”

Instead of not being comfortable with it though, find a way to embrace it. Take time to meditate – allow yourself to recenter and work through the stress and anxiety of today. Take time to journal – it can be a blog post, written on paper, a video, audio recording, or any other form you can think of, but find a way to record your thoughts and feelings to help you work through them. Take time to read – often we complain that we “don’t have enough time to read a book” in our normal lives, so now you have been given this gift of time. Read with your children or with a sibling or on a live video on social media (think bedtime stories), but find a way to read.

What I have learned is that I need to find a way to create a routine. If I don’t have a schedule for my day to follow, I all of a sudden find myself not having accomplished much and it’s 3 in the afternoon. Give yourself structure – even if that’s as simple as scheduling time for cleaning, for reading, for journaling, for meditating 10-15 minutes at a time. Give your brain structure and that will help bring clarity to your day.

In fact, I’ve struggled with finding motivation, finding purpose, find a way to stay focused while worrying about my students, being inundated with information, wanting to help but not knowing how to…
These thoughts have derailed my idea of structure I want to keep. So I thought of ways I can bring stability during the unstable time: I messaged my students (and we might be using Zoom soon!), I’ve reached out to friends, I have volunteered to foster a dog since all of my work is now being done at home, I’ve joined a couple virtual workout groups on Facebook, I’ve joined a virtual book club (since we can’t meet in person), I have found ways to laugh because we all need that right now.

It’s these little things that can help us to start getting back to normal. I’m interested to know what ways you are finding to help you find normalcy in your lives. And if you haven’t yet, I have found some great articles I’m happy to share!

Stay healthy, practice proper social distancing, and stay at home!

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