I would be willing to guess that for most of us, this pandemic season has been bittersweet. The sheer gift of spending time at home, balanced with the disruption of not being able to go and do.
The opportunity to indulge in our hobbies tethered somehow to stir-craziness. The luxury of empty calendars wrapped in a cobweb of guilt.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was incredibly concerned about how all this would affect my husband and children. I didn’t want my husband to feel claustrophobic by the sudden restrictions: no more office, no more pick-up basketball games at the gym, no more gym. I didn’t want the children to be afraid. So much changed, and so fast.
I got busy. I was all-in. I visualized Rosie-the-Riveter from the famous World War II poster. “I’ve Got This” became my mantra.
I made cards and construction paper artwork to send to front-line workers. I grocery shopped for older friends and neighbors. I made the bread. I instituted family game nights. I mailed care packages to family members.
Easily distracted by all this self-constructed activity, I didn’t stop.
That is, I didn’t stop until one rainy afternoon after I’d finished a conference call. I was sipping an Earl Grey with lemon when my littlest climbed up on the couch to snuggle a minute.
“Mama, do you think Santa Claus can get COVID-19?” he asked while nestling his head in my lap. “Well, what do you think?” I asked.
“Probably not?” he asked. Before I could say anything else, his big brother chimed in, “There is no way Santa can get COVID-19, Buddy. Santa is magic, and memory, and all good things.”
I was aghast at how easily that wise answer fell from the lips of my teenager. Comfort. Reassurance. Love. Full disclosure, fifteen minutes earlier, these two had just been all tangled up in what they called “play fighting” but what looked more to me like a WWE match.
Suddenly, like lightning, the thought occurred to me, that must be how God feels about me.
So often I go to Him all tangled up in frustration, fear, even fury. I fuss and fret. And almost always, He answers my wild tumbleweed of emotion with comfort, reassurance, and love.
Suddenly, I was crying. The impact of this whole weird, beautiful, nightmarish, fantastic pandemic just spilled out. “What’s the matter, Mama?” he sat up from my lap, concerned.
“Nothing at all,” I reassured him, “I think I just need to cry for a little bit.”
At that moment, I realized I had not taken one hot second to think about how any of this had affected me. Not one. The husband and children were managing beautifully, but I was a little worse for wear.
I don’t know that many of us ever really stop and think about what we can do to love ourselves. Yet, God tells us that he wants us to do exactly that: Love ourselves. Be gentle with ourselves. Allow ourselves time and space to ponder. We find plenty of evidence of God’s hope that we will actively love ourselves in Scripture, so it is important to read bible verses about loving yourself.
So where can we start? I was thigh-deep in pandemic before the idea of self-care even crossed my mind, but this has worked for me so far. Related.
- Time & Space
Carve some out! If we can’t find a half hour right now, I don’t know that we will ever be able to. I don’t mean squeezing in a ten-minute hot shower either. I mean some actual, private time sacred only to you.
Maybe go to bed a little earlier and at that time, don’t look at your phone or turn on the television. Just sit amongst the pillows. Breathe deeply. Acknowledge this is YOUR time. It’s ok. I mean, even Matthew had a prayer closet!
- Health & Happiness
I have always wanted to try yoga. But, for 1000 excuses I never did. So, I downloaded an app that I love and allow myself time during the day to work it in. (I mean, I’m in yoga pants all day anyway.)
This one tiny change has been a gateway to trying other things. For example, I’ve always wanted to serve my family vegetarian meals. So, I just did it. Didn’t even announce it. Just presented a hot meal – and WE ALL ATE IT. The end.
There is something to the idea of nourishment. Yoga and working in a few more veggies have made a difference in my outlook. I feel more centered and in control.
Nourishing my spirit is important. Quiet moments. Hot tea. Favorite playlist on Spotify. All those small things, make a big, important difference.
I’m being kinder to myself. I’m listening to the quiet spaces. I’m leaning into how I’m feeling. I’m loving myself through God’s word, and I’m learning something new. Every. Single. Day.
About The Author:
Blake McDaniel is the co-founder and owner of Rooted and Grounded. She conceptualized Rooted and Grounded with her husband on a cross-state move. Now the company has grown, as has her family. Blake McDaniel highly values love and faith, the foundation upon which Rooted and Grounded was built. When Blake isn’t working, she is continuing her growth through reading, listening to podcasts, and spending time with her new baby, Erin.