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Let the Light In

March 30, 2020

Stay Home Order? As a homebody and an introvert I feel like I’ve been training for this my whole life. I have my little family home with me (all of whom I happen to really like), I have my dogs, I have my books, my house has a home gym and a screened-in deck and plenty of space for everyone to spread out. I’ve been handling this whole thing pretty well if I do say so myself.

Until yesterday, that is. There was nothing wrong with the day itself. The sun was shining, the temperature outside was balmy, I even got to see my original family from a safe distance and “share” a meal with some dear friends who happen to live across the street (we each made half of a family meal and shared it via front porch drop off). For a day under quarantine it actually kinda rocked.

Unfortunately my mood didn’t care about any of that. I missed hugging and spending quality time with extended family and friends. I had tweaked my back and skipped working out for three days. I was filled with anxiety about the future and the people I love who might be impacted by the virus. My house wouldn’t stay clean for ten minutes with everyone living in it all the damn time. Despite all the enforced isolation I was craving an hour to be truly alone.

I was also doing something I normally try my best to avoid: comparing. It seemed that everyone I knew was doing a better job parenting, creating fun memories for their children and maintaining schedules and routines. Other women posted selfies with hair and makeup done and sporting comfy yet stylish quarantine-wear. Half the people I knew were taking advantage of their down time to improve themselves and the other half were contributing to the world in some meaningful way. “Everyone else” was living their best quarantine lives and here I sat on my couch, surrendering my parenting to iPhones, wearing the same ratty t-shirt I had on the day before, stress eating and spending way too much time scrolling through Tiger King memes.

So I got mopey. I was impatient, gloomy, and grouchy. To my kids, who are grieving the loss of contact with friends, adjusting to online learning, struggling with all of unknowns surrounding this whole situation. To my husband, who is working his tail off sunup to sundown keeping his business running smoothly and making sure his employees are taken care of. Even to myself, buying into the notion that I wasn’t being or doing enough.

About halfway through today, when I’d made some negative comment or muttered under my breath about something dark, my husband called me on it. He suggested I do something to reset my mood. He knows me well enough to know this was the kind of darkness that I would be able to illuminate myself. So, grudgingly, I agreed.

I laced up my kicks and made myself exercise. I stretched and meditated when I was done. I cleaned the kitchen, dusted, vacuumed, and mopped. I showered. I hugged my kids. I got some fresh air. With my body pleasantly exhausted, my environment clean and tidy, and my center reset, I felt strong and calm again. Did it change anything about the situation at hand? No. But it helped me get back to myself.

If you find yourself needing a reset, you’re not alone. This is a weird, hard time to be a human. Let’s all do what we know to be true and right for us and ditch the comparisons and the guilt. There is no “right” way to live through this time. There are going to be dark days. Just remember the things that bring you light and choose them intentionally and often. I’ll try my best to take my own advice.

Love and Light ~Ashley

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