Ask any woman you know and she is strung out from making decisions. From a single corporate attorney to a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of five. Decisions all day. Every day. For me personally this heaviness didn’t really hit until motherhood. Sure, I always had some level of anxiety over large decisions and worry surrounding major change. But nothing compared to the agonizing over seemingly menial choices that new motherhood, sleep deprivation, and probably some undiagnosed postpartum anxiety will bring. Will my children end up in therapy because I chose the wrong preschool program? I mean honestly, I hope they do therapy because everyone could benefit, but I doubt that will be the culprit. Now with the advent of Coronavirus, everything has changed.
But, Now EVERY Choice Is Heavy
As states across the country open up for business as usual vs. new normal decisions that used to not give us a second thought all of us sudden become a big deal. Should we see our friends? Have they been taking social distancing as seriously as we have? What if some one posts a picture on social media? Can I handle the ridicule? Am I going to stay in social isolation until there is a vaccine? What about seeing family? What about school in the fall? Am I a sheep then? Is that a bad thing? Sheep are actually kind of smart. I like cotton. And round and round we go. All the uncomfortable conversations. Right there. In the open.
Social Media: Friend or Foe
With all of this “decision fatigue” resting on our shoulders, not even broaching the economic and health ramifications of this insane time in our history, many of us have stayed connected via social media. I am both incredible grateful for it and saddened to see the polarizing it allows. I have had beautiful zoom meetings with friends and family that I otherwise would not have done. I also have gotten into some squabbles on social media about my opinion that, I’m sure, wouldn’t have happened in person.
I have witnessed people I know to be kind, caring individuals be horrid to others. I have seen blatant selfishness and self-righteousness. But also genuine displays of human decency. Something about the screen and keyboard combination breaks down any sort of social norms we’d previously learned. Combine that with an overwhelming sense of disruption caused by the pandemic fallout and people will say just about anything to one another online.
Some Relationships May Never Recover
Overall, I am grateful for the connection social media and technology allow, especially during the times of social distancing. But I do believe some relationships will never recover from the harm done during this time. A portion of them, needed this time to establish good boundaries and well it was time to call a spade a spade. Others however, sadden me to see good people pitted against each other by anxiety dressed up in different costumes. So one person manages their fears of job loss one way and another their fears of illness with pre-existing conditions another. We are all actual much closer than we realize. Everyone. I mean everyone is experiencing some kind of anxiety surrounding the pandemic in one facet of another.
Shades of Grey Are More Difficult
I most certainly believed that there was “a” way to do things a few weeks ago. My mind, though anxiety filled, could much more easily comprehend the dichotomy. Now that things are moving to a more grey area each choice is hard. As previously mentioned, once I make a choice it becomes not only about it being right for me, but about being right for those around me. Should I care what others think about my choices less, probably. But they just resumed elective surgery here so I think the waiting list for a personality transplant is gonna be a bit lengthy. People I love and respect are all along the spectrum of comfort. This is a hard place to be. And one I think we may float in for a while.
So What Should We Do About It?
- Make decisions we can live with.
- Once we make a choice give ourselves grace and move on from the choice.
- Have meaningful conversations with those that matter even if we don’t agree with them.
- Use the snooze function on Facebook.
- Assert your opinion where you have influence.
- Read back anything you type as a comment to yourself before hitting reply.
- Apologize if you hurt someone.
- Show common courtesy in public spaces.
- Learn how to source information.
- In debates disagree with ideas not the content of someone else’s character.
- Rest. Like actually take breaks. Especially those working from home.
- Build in small things to look forward to since so many big plans are on hold.
- Make gratitude lists, but avoid comparative suffering traps.
- Set good boundaries.
Here’s hoping when we look back on this time in history books, we can all make a list of what we learned. The pause in our lives that made us take stock of what we cherish. Yes, parts of this have been a real bitch, but we are making it through.
To anyone that has lost of a loved one to Coronavirus, I have you in my prayers.
To anyone facing financial hardship due to the economic ramifications, I am also praying for you.