It's been a whole year since my last blog post. Eight days after my April 12, 2019 blog post I got engaged and the whirlwind of wedding planning took over my life! The only work-related task I did was actually seeing clients, but all the marketing and writing and Instagram-ing fell off the table.
Life update since you last heard from me: life has treated me really, really well! I've thoroughly enjoyed planning my wedding, and all the excitement that comes from getting married is honestly everything I thought it'd be. I'm nestling back into a healthy routine after a crazy couple of years, and I'm feeling much more mentally and physically healthy than I have been in a long time! My private practice has grown at a wild pace and I'm loving all the new clients I'm meeting and helping.
Fast Forward to March 2020
Like every single one of us, things were turned upside down last month. Slowly things started to get postponed: Coffee dates. Therapy sessions. Friendly gatherings. My bachelorette trip with my best friends. My bridal shower. My May wedding.
The day I had to postpone the wedding was one of my most stressful days I've had in a hot minute. After some sobbing...family phone calls...bucking up and reaching out to my vendors...and some more sobbing, I asked myself, "how am I going to handle this? With acceptance and forward-marching with a focus on finding solutions? Or sulking in self-pity while crying over circumstances out of my control?"
It's very stressful to be a #CoronaBride (who would have ever thought that would be a thing?), but I am well aware that so many people right now are having much worse days than I am. It can be hard to get upset or worried about what's going on in our own lives when we know there are others who have it so much worse. It can make us feel guilty or selfish when our personal struggles seem so trivial compared to everything else.
How do my everyday stresses and having to move my wedding even compare to the healthcare workers on the frontlines of this pandemic?
Or what about the family and friends who are in mourning of those who have passed away from this virus?
What about the individuals themselves who have died, or those who have contracted it and are now faced with their own mortality, facing uncertainty every minute?
I'm here to remind you:
It's okay to recognize and talk about your own struggles right now, even if there are people in more unfortunate situations.
The second we start to ignore our own struggles is the second we start to feel invalidated, and we inevitably create this aversion to actually experiencing and processing our emotions. We can do this while still acknowledging, empathizing, and helping those who may be struggling more.
Instead of getting bogged down by comparing my situation to everyone else's, I started to recognize that the radius of my own control only extended so far. Regardless of whatever was happening in the world, all I was in control of was my own corner.
Each of us have our own corner in this big, big world. It's the designated area that we have complete control of despite whatever restrictions or guidelines are placed upon us at any given time. Realizing this was a game-changer for me, so I began talking to my therapy clients about it and making it a therapeutic strategy.
COVID-19 Intervention: Craft Your Own Corner
So, what's it mean to craft your own corner?
There's all these things in the world right now that you have zero control over - and thinking about that can be super overwhelming.
So think about the opposite: what do you have complete control over?
What are the immediate issues you're personally experiencing at hand, and what are the possible solutions?
What are you feeling right now, and how can you manage those emotions?
What information are you taking in from social media or news sources, and how can you use that to your advantage to guide your own helpful thoughts and behaviors?
When you answer these questions, it helps you recognize what is in your own corner and how you can exert your own choice and control within that space.
Crafting Your Corner helps in two major ways.
It helps you focus on what you have control over, helping you to exert your own power of choice and solutions.
It helps you realize the things you have no control over - so you're better able to "let them live" without your constant need to change or fix them.
It's not that you're ignoring everything that's happening outside of your corner, but it's helping you focus on the things that directly impact you at the moment.
When in doubt, focus on your own corner.
When I started to craft my own corner in this really unpredictable and scary time, these are some of the thoughts and directives I gave some extra attention to:
I can't do anything about the progression of the coronavirus pandemic and that's okay.
I can limit my exposure of news media when I start feeling overwhelmed.
I have no control over the spread of this virus but I can be sure to keep thanking all my favorite healthcare workers (including my fiancé!).
I can't change the world, but I can stay home and keep my hands clean as a whistle.
For the safety of everyone, I can focus on my own personal efforts that are helping the bigger picture.
I can still provide therapy to my clients without risking transmission of the virus by taking my practice to online platforms.
I have plenty of time to figure out how to move everyone over to teletherapy.
Maybe there are a couple of fun projects around the house I could do during this isolation period.
I can be aware of when I might need more social connection, so that's when I'll FaceTime my family or Marco Polo my besties.
I can't change the fact that my wedding got postponed, but I have plenty of emails to send and details to update to ease the process.
Maybe I have some extra time now to think of other ideas for the big day.
There are certain aspects I can embrace about my new wedding date.
As long as I feel accomplished, stay connected with others, and have some fun along the way during this social isolation - I'll be okay.
There are so many parts to each of our corners - relationships, work, spirituality, physical and mental health, hobbies - the list goes on. It's up to you to put thought toward it and start making your corner into what you want it to look like. Think about the following to get started:
What you're doing to actively help slow the spread of the virus
Your exposure to news media and your perspective
How you can help those in need
What you can do with any extra time you might have
Ways you can support local businesses
How to stay connected with your loved ones, or reaching out to old friends
How to recognize when you might be feeling overwhelmed or sad, and when you need support
Setting up your work-from-home space to be extra comfortable
How you're maintaining your physical health by incorporating healthy sleeping, moving, and eating habits
Your own personal coping mechanisms that you know work for you
We're all in this together.
We are all being impacted in millions of different ways. Yes, we can help ourselves, but we can also help each other.
If you feel like you need some extra guidance in how to most healthily handle all of these big changes and the scary unpredictability caused by COVID-19, don't hesitate to reach out to a therapist! It can be as short-term as you want, because we want to help you in any way we can.
If you're in Missouri and want help crafting your corner (or just need some extra guidance right now): Give me a call! I've already gotten some new client calls specifically related to managing this new stress. Since doing therapy online I've realized how many more people I'm able to help as opposed to just seeing clients in my office here in Kansas City! It's been a great way to expand my reach. Visit my Contact page for ways to connect with me.
Hang in there, friends! Looking forward to sunny skies and finding our normal again, whenever that will be!
Sending good vibes,