I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone when I say that we are living in very interesting times right now. Terms like social distancing, quarantine, and flatten the curve have become part of our regular vocabulary. Super heroes have taken on a new look and can be found in the halls of hospitals and care centers - doctors, nurses, and med techs all relentlessly providing care in spite of the danger to them. Parents are having to figure out how to do their full time job while also making sure their children are following along and engaging with this new world of remote learning. And that just scratches the surface to all of the many, many changes we as a society are learning to adjust to.
Today, I’d like to share with you a phrase that we could all embrace during the ups and downs of quarantine and social distancing. Full disclaimer, this phrase is not original to me. So first, I’d like to virtually introduce you to the work of Shauna Niequist. Shauna is an author, amazing cook, and someone whose body of writing has had a deep impact on me personally. (Her book Present over Perfect was one of the first things that nudged me towards taking the big steps of opening this private practice!) I, of course, follow her on Instagram and you can find her posts here. A while ago, before COVID-19 was even a thought for most of us, she posted about a phrase that she and her family were embracing after moving to New York City…
"I guess I just haven't learned that yet."
There are several reasons why I think this phrase and the idea behind it can be helpful to us right now! It helps us flip the script and re-frame the big, overwhelming feelings that can come with not knowing how to do things or how to handle something. For example, and this may sound silly, but having to, all of a sudden, cook all the meals for my family is something that was seriously stressing me out! But, when I could flip the stressful thoughts to, “well, I guess I just haven’t learned this yet” my stress lowered. How about juggling working from home full time now and turning off my brain to be able to focus on being a mom and wife...I guess I just haven’t learned that yet. The list for each one of us could legitimately go on for a while. And that’s okay right now!
Also, this phrase gives us the space to learn how to do whatever it is we haven’t learned how to yet. For example, my husband and I have (loosely!) figured out that if I make lunch, he’s in charge of dinner. Again, somewhat silly example, but it’s honestly one of the things that has been a hard adjustment! You can give yourself the grace & space to figure out how to manage working remotely full time and be a parent with kiddos whose education still needs to be happening. For me, learning new things looks a lot like calling or texting my people and asking how are they building routines in their homes, how are they encouraging movement in the kids to help get energy out, and is it really okay if they watch more TV right now?! (The answer, by the way, resounding YES). It’s also giving myself permission to not have the answers.
Most importantly, this phrase has helped me to pause and acknowledge that I’m getting ramped up. Pause my stress. Pause my anxiety. Pause the overwhelmed feeling. When I can remind myself that living through this crisis is something we all haven’t done before so we all haven’t learned how to do this, it reminds me that together, we can and will learn how to do this. It also helps me pause and pray for the many medical heroes helping the hurting and sick. It helps me pause and think about the loved ones we haven’t seen in a long time (and then pick up the phone to call them). It reminds me that we are better together because we absolutely can learn how to settle into our temporary new normal.
Tell me, is there a phrase, song, mantra, or thought that is helping you right now? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Stay safe, wash your hands, and most of all, be well!
I'm JoEllen and I'm so glad you're here. Thanks for visiting and let me know how I can best serve you!