2020 was hard. Harder than most.
I realized a number of things about myself as I adjusted to quarantine and the new-normal life we’re all having to get used to. In the beginning of Covid shutdowns I honestly didn’t think much about what Covid was or even its severity. Like most, I figured it was just a very strong strain of flu and that the people it was most affecting was those with health conditions or who were elderly. As a teacher who was sent home March 13th to what was originally just a two week period, slowly it became more uncertain when we would be returning to class. I, along with my colleagues, had to quickly figure out distance learning and Zoom and somehow finish the year without seeing my students. That in itself was enough stress to last me a while…
Then quarantine continued into the summer. Businesses shut down, neighborhoods were quiet, and grocery stores were experiencing shortages of the most basic items (toilet paper, anyone?). I felt as though we were living through an apocalyptic movie. It was then I realized that Covid was much more serious than I had originally thought – where articles and the news shared images and stories of hospitals, nurses, and other frontline workers in their PPE and bruises from wearing their masks and shields all day. Families who were losing family members and the pain of not being with them in their final moments.
It would be that summer where I learned the most about myself. Here’s what Covid taught me.
My mental health
- I didn’t adjust to isolation and quarantine as well as I thought I would.
- I learned that I have underlying triggers (like quarantine) that cause bouts of mild depression.
- Being cooped up inside but scared to go outside was a difficult feeling to get used to.
- Everyday felt like Groundhog Day. It made it difficult to look forward to anything.
- Having to close my lettering shop and step away from blogging due to Covid was also really hard – they were my lifelines outside of work and home life.
- I learned to rely on my husband to help me through my more emotional and sensitive moments.
- We focused a lot on helping Greyson adjust to his new life at home and the newfound rules we all had to live under (i.e. virtual preschool, wearing masks, hand sanitizer, not playing near people, etc.).
- Teaching Grey to “stay on your dot” while out and about (the 6′ markers on the ground at stores).
- Since Grey wasn’t receiving services at school (they went virtual like everyone else) we had to regroup and find a way to get him the assistance he needed for his ASD.
- Helping Grey adjust to virtual classes – no easy feat for preschoolers (or their teachers, I imagine!).
- We learned to communicate…a lot. Whether it was mundane or something we needed to express, talking through our feelings helped day-to-day.
Pregnancy during Covid
- What a light in a dark period?! We were beyond excited to find out the good news that we’re expecting.
- Doctors visits this time around have been solo – my husband and son were able to attend our first sonogram appointment, though. The rest I’ve had to do on my own.
- My husband is missing out on those shared moments.
- Wearing masks during appointments. It’s such a small thing, but one that will never be easy to get used to.
- The fear of having to deliver while wearing a mask or not being able to have my husband there.
What I’m taking with me moving forward
Although quarantine did a number on my mental health and I have been just as eager to return to normal life (as much as that’s possible), I recognize this time at home proved to be one major learning opportunity. I could sit here and share that the time spent at home helped bond us as a family – it did – but it was also full of moments that were really hard…and that’s okay, too.
We’re only in the beginning stages of that trajectory of getting us back to somewhat normal. It’s going to continue to be a long road, but I’m confident that as a country we’ll eventually get there. Knowing what I know now about myself I’m better equipped should we experience another shutdown.