March 16, 2020 – In a crisis, we all respond differently and our responses will change over time. There is no right or wrong response to the coronavirus pandemic, no one best or “right way.” How we cope with this next weeks and months will be as diverse as our communities.
Still, there are things we can do to help us not only get through this current crisis, but to emerge wiser, stronger, and more connected. For our children, this crisis and aftermath may form lifetime patterns for what it means to be resilient.
Recognizing and naming our feelings will help us move from being trapped by our emotions, and give us a sense of control
Understand the normal emotional responses to a crisis.
All of these feelings are normal responses, and they may play out differently for each of us:
- Fear: Is my family safe? Will we be okay?
- Anger: Why didn’t they prepare us for this? Why isn’t our country better prepared? People just don’t understand!
- Confusion and Frustration: I have no idea how I’m supposed to juggle all of this! What should I do right now?
- Guilt and Self-Blame: I’m not comfortable with digital technology and I feel guilty that I can’t help my kids keep up with school work. I’m not being the kind of parent I’d like to be right now. I should have had a better plan.
- Shame and Humiliation: I see others online who are thriving, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I am not. I feel humiliated because I’m not sure how much longer I can financially support my family under these circumstances. I’m embarrassed to say that I’m weary.
- Sorrow and Grief: I miss my routine, my neighborhood, and my community. It’s just not the same here.
All of these emotions are normal. There is nothing wrong or weak about you if you feel these ways. Remember to be compassionate and understanding of yourself. Have forbearance of others–your children, your partner–who are also experiencing these feelings. With mutual support and intentionality, we will get through this. But we need to exercise patience with ourselves and others in the meantime.