Have you been isolated and anxious before, too?

by Holly Thompson, March 24, 2020


I was just thinking. I've actually done this before. Twice. I've been isolated and been anxious about the health of myself and one of my family members. Now it's not exactly the same, obviously - but I'm drawing on this example. Because it's so much easier to look back and know we have conquered hardship before.

The first time was when I was on bed rest with my daughter.  I had high blood pressure and gestational diabetes but felt totally fine. I remember that doctor's appointment on MLK Jr. Day - sitting on the bed and the doctor said I wasn't allowed to go to work anymore.  I still had 6 weeks to go. I had every intention of being at school that following Tuesday, but nope. Done. Not to return until May. I didn't say goodbye to my students, I wasn't allowed to go into my work and plan for my sub, and in 2012 - there was technology, but not like today. Getting into the remote server to get files was painful at best and I wasn't even allowed to sit up long enough to type on a computer anyway.

I didn't know or care about Audiobooks or Podcasts, and Netflix had streaming - but not everything. I signed up for the 5 DVDs at a time service and the Gilmore Girls Binge began. Since I had to lay on my side all the time except to make myself a little something to eat and go to the bathroom, I became pretty acquainted with Lorelai and Rory that spring and was definitely Team Logan! It was hard to read because holding a book up got tiring and I didn't yet have a nook or kindle to just prop up. A few people came to visit and I went to doctor's appointments, but pretty much it was me at home in Stars Hollow. It was boring, but I figured it out.  And it was all for the health of my sweet girl. I never once thought about disregarding her health so I could go have fun "like normal."

The second time was after brain surgery in 2017. I distinctly remember coming home from my 5 day stay in the hospital with a soft hat on my head and taking my daily "walk" to the end of the block.  I was tired, and on pain meds, but I wept inside as our neighbors were having a little get together across the street.  I couldn't go, so we just waved and said hello as I walked back into the house. It had been 5 days in the hospital with only a few family visitors, and about a week of isolation and anxiety before that. My last day at school in April was rushed because I didn't really want to face saying goodbye for the year. I wanted to be with people! But I just couldn't.

As the days went on, and a friend or family member would bring me lunch one at a time for about an hour because I was too tired and needed to lay down, I clung to those visits.  But it wasn't a bright bustling restaurant or a party or date with Marshall at the bar. I spent a lot of time those 6 weeks snuggling with my kids and watching cartoons (and dozing), listening to podcasts and audiobooks because using my eyes was hard, and doing my coach work for just a little part of the day from my phone.

In each of these times, I can look back and realize that I have been isolated AND anxious before.  I survived and found things to do and ways to keep busy.  I looked to the brightsides of everything and took advantage of the luxuries I could. Soft clothes, food that made my body feel good, TV that I felt connected to, and the people closest to me were around as possible. I also clung to a stable routine. I tried to go to bed at a consistent time and wake up and follow the same morning ritual every day.

Yes, this isolation is for everyone, and it's definitely more challenging with 2 bustling kids at home, but there are still ways that we can feel really blessed during this time. We can work on our soul, learn something new like a language or other new skill, get "shredded" like the coaches and I laughed about last week, start a home business, tackle projects or guilt-free binge Netflix.

What connections can you make with all of this? Have you conquered isolation or anxiety before? Can you look back and do some of those same things you did then to cope or maybe learned that those weren't the best ways (like all the wine and chocolate? ;)

These are some of the things that are keeping me sane right now.  Free home workouts, mindfulness, audiobooks, and I'm going to try the virtual field trips and zen coloring pages with my daughter - who is struggling with this so much right now.  Send me your email address here. My auto-bots will send the PDF to your email and maybe some of this will help you, too.

Much Love,

Holly
 

Treat yourself well right now.

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