Coronavi…yesss!? Do You Find You’re Saying “Yes” More Often?
“Yes, Elizabeth, you can have some more cookies.”
I said that exact statement yesterday and, in turn, received a look from her that said…Ok, that is not how this usually goes, but, I like the answer. Then she headed for the pantry to get what she wanted (there is usually a limit to sugar intake around here, so my kids kind of know to ask for treats).
I know that holding to certain limits during the quarantine is crucial. I cannot imagine life with no bedtimes or unlimited Xbox for my son, Michael (sorry, buddy). For us, being “scheduled, but flexible” is what works.
So, we have our schedules and our goals, something that gives us some grounding during this uncertain time. Schedules, by nature, provide a feeling of control. During a time when so little is actually in our control, that makes us feel good. It also helps us complete goals, which, again, can provide a great sense of accomplishment and control. Two emotions that are quite welcome during days when getting out of pajamas can seem “gold star worthy.”
BALANCE IS KEY
On the contrary, too rigid of a schedule can actually start to increase anxiety. If you’re not careful, it can become a list of things that HAVE TO BE DONE. After all, we don’t want to work at exactly 10:00 am every day, but that does not mean we don’t work that day. We do need to move our bodies every day, just not at the same exact time each day.
If it is not done, it can make you feel let down. We certainly do not need to create, and feel, negative emotions in a time when putting on any news show can do that for us all by itself.
So, balance is key.
The best advice that I am using to help balance all of this is to put something that makes you happy into your day. Recently, during a really stressful time with Elizabeth, she told me how much she missed her school and friends. It was in that conversation that she and I talked about making sure to put something positive in every day. It will be different for each person, but the trick is to find it and make sure you do it. To help my kids, it means I say, “yes” more. Maybe I say “yes” to the things I typically would say a hard NO to before, maybe a firm, “We’ll see.”
Yes, you can have a second dessert today…. or, “we’ll see, maybe you can have a second dessert if you’re good.”
Yes, tonight, bedtime can be 11:00.
Yes, you can have extra Xbox time.
Yes, an extra game sounds good.
Yes, I will sit and watch YouTube, no matter how much I don’t get the memes.
Yes, Yes and Yes.
Don’t get me wrong; this is not a free for all, just some well-placed “good things.”
Because now, we all need to find the thing that makes us happy and put it into a day that can otherwise consist of…well, the same thing as the day before.
Elizabeth just had pizza and a Diet Coke for breakfast today. Why? Because I said yes.
Please stay safe!
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This post originally appeared on our May/June 2020 Magazine