To Those that need to hear from a mom right now,
When I was a little girl, my mom would stop by my room before I went to bed to shut my light and say goodnight. On occasion, I needed more than just a kiss on the forehead. Whether it was a bad grade on a test, a fallout with a friend, or a crush who didn’t reciprocate, there were nights she would sit on the edge of my bed, giving me sound advice and confirmation that all would be OK.
Similar to many others across the world, I haven’t seen my mom or my dad since February. Like most mothers, my mom regularly worries about my well being. While I always tell her I am OK, her concern is certainly heightened during the pandemic.
The other night we talked on the phone about the sense of loss we both felt from the pandemic – the loss of freedom, a social life and time with family and friends.
Mid-conversation, I said to my mom, “It’s amazing, no matter if you’re sitting on my bed or hundreds of miles away, I can still feel comforted by the words, warmth and wisdom of my mom.”
I realized whether you have a mom, you are a mom, or you miss your mom, as the pandemic stretches into its eighth month, we all could use a little motherly advice.
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So, I asked my mom to share all the advice that she would give my brother or me to ensure we come out of this pandemic better and stronger than we went into it. Here is what she told me:
First, take stock of what you do have in life. If you are reading this letter, you probably have a roof over your head and access to the internet. If you have caught Covid, think about how lucky you are not to have to deal with the ravages of this virus. Learn to find a sense of peace and calmness through gratitude.
Many of you are home or out of work for the first time. It is crucial to start your day as if you are going to work. This will put you in a can-do mindset, which will help you accomplish more tasks and reach more goals throughout the day. Learn to wake up each morning with a ready-to-go attitude.
Use any extra time to start that business you always dreamed about or redo your resume. Write letters or emails to people you lost touch with over time. Take an online class and set up weekly zooms to connect with the people you miss. Teach yourself to cook or just try new recipes. Learn to stay productive, even when your routine is disrupted.
To manage any feelings of stress, stay physically active. Exercise releases endorphins that energize your spirits and make you feel good. If you need motivation to workout, form an exercise team with friends or family. Hold each other accountable and encourage each other. You may even want to create a little competition to make it challenging and fun. Learn to balance a healthy mind with a healthy body.
When your day starts to wind down, limit your media viewing time. Whether it’s politics or the virus, there is a lot of negativity on TV and online. Pick just one news program a day to stay informed and then switch to a show that provides pure escape, like a comedy. Learn to create a safe space from the weight of the world’s problems.
If you are a parent at home with children, know that it is OK to feel overwhelmed. You are being asked to do much more than ever before. Find time for yourself and express how you are feeling to other adults in your life. Ask for help if you need it. Your child’s teacher can provide suggestions on keeping your children happy and stimulated not just during school hours but after as well. Learn to use all the resources available to you.
Start making plans for the future. Make a dream board or have visualizations in your mind of what exciting possibilities are down the road. It is important to place some focus on the adventures you would like to experience when we return to a more open way of life. Learn to let your mind revitalize your zest for life.
Lastly, if your stress level starts to affect your ability to function, never, ever feel afraid to reach out and seek help. Stay connected to your support team of loved ones and try to speak regularly, sharing your feelings. Look online, where there are resources that can help you. Learn to be proactive in finding who and want you need to stay positive.
Growing up, my mom’s advice always helped me to have more grit, toughness and confidence. Hopefully, her advice about the pandemic will help you realize whether it’s an unknown virus or any other life challenge, you do have the fortitude to adapt to unsettling and uncertain circumstances.
And for the days that are extra hard, don’t worry. My mom always told me, “If it is not a happy ending, it’s not the end.”
So keep pushing!