Are your children experiencing increased anxiety right now while being forced to stay at home...? In this video, I share with you some ideas about how to support your children's mental health needs during this COVID-19 pandemic.
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Monday morning. 8:30am. It happened...
Our first major collision.
Up until then, at least to that point, my family had been handling the quarantine fairly well, working around each other and understanding that these are unprecedented times that require extra patience and understanding.
That lasted until Monday morning, the first day of work for both of us under “official” quarantine.
It was like we were sudden enemies, jockeying for power, control and space, while desperately trying to cling to some semblance of “normalcy” for a work day, pre-COVID19.
Gone was the patience, understanding and gentleness from before.
Now, our home looked much more like the scene of a car accident, where both parties involved were vehemently trying to get the other side to see our point of view. Whew.
My partner and I both lost our minds for a minute as we came face-to-face with our newfound reality that we will now be sharing the same space, both of us trying to do our jobs as thoroughly and professionally as we can, while displaced from our everyday work routine and environment.
We’re gonna be in the same space.
OH MY GOODNESS.
It feels almost like being in a snow globe that is still shaking.
At least the “work from home” part does.
I am a homebody by nature, so being forced to stay home isn’t that much of a stretch for me. Perhaps it is my “introverted” personality or perhaps it comes from growing up in a small town where there wasn’t a whole lot to do.
Either way, being forced to stay at home isn’t a huge challenge for me.
But being forced to negotiate space 24/7 with my family, for an indefinite amount of time, while trying to work my job (and do it well!): well, yea, that’s a whole new ballgame.
It’s really difficult when the natural boundaries that come from everybody going their own way during the day to work, school and other activities, are completely erased.
This sudden and huge change in personal space is forcing all of us to wade through the necessary process of renegotiating boundaries with our children, partners, spouses, parents and even pets.
Yes, even our pets.
I notice that even my cats are a bit thrown off from having their humans around all day long, sitting in their favorite spots, making noise and just generally taking up space.
They sure don’t mind the extra treats though!
Face it folks, in these strange times, pain is inevitable. Growth is optional.
Thankfully, after a few minutes and some deep breaths, my partner and I were both able to back up and remember that these are unprecedented times that have thrown everything in our world upside down.
We started over.
We love “do-overs” here in my house...you know, being able to “start over” and try it again a second time based on what we learned from the first time.
We remembered that these are unprecedented times. And that we’ve never been here before so we are NOT expected to know how to do this perfectly, really how to even live this situation at all. And that we are on the same side in this. We’re #alonetogether.
And that it’s going to be a HUGE experiment in sharing space a different way.
And that to the best of our ability we are going to be patient with each other and when we cannot, be sure to come back and repair the connection when we feel ready.
So, we basically gave ourselves permission to live this as best as we can, not perfectly.
This is the grace that we all need right now.
You’ve never been in this situation before, so you are not expected to know how to live it.
Right now, discomfort is inevitable. That’s what happens at the edge of our comfort zone and ‘boy howdy, this COVID-19 outbreak is stretching all of us right now!
Do the best that you can. Reach out for help negotiating when you need to.
Let yourself be human right now and avoid perfection or high expectations for yourself and everyone else.
We all need gentleness and compassion right now as we work through this strange new normal.
I am grateful that you are a part of my community and am here to support you however I can. I am just a phone call, a message or an email away.
We’re all in this together. Keep your heart close and you’ll get to the other side. I promise.
(What strange times these are…!!!)
I can remember just a few days ago when the idea of having your therapist in your house was not only odd, strange and uncomfortable, but highly unethical as well!!!!
Well, folks...what strange times we are living in!!!!!
This is the new normal now… online mental health therapy through video and phone sessions.
I guess in some ways, this is one of the wonderful benefits to being such a technologically advanced society: we can maintain connection even in the midst of a pandemic sweeping the world.
Even better: we can still get the emotional help and support that we need, especially during trying times like these. (How cool is this!!!!)
I’ll admit: seeing my therapist by video each week is NOT the same as being with her in person. But you know what… it works!!!!!!! Every. Single. time.
I am undoubtedly amazed each time in session, when I experience an incredibly huge piece of growth or release around something painful- it really confirms the power of connection and how essential support (in any form) is if we are going to keep growing and healing.
Not to mention that by now, my therapist giggles at my bed-head with me each week. (Sometimes I put on a hat, sometimes I do not. Depends on the day.)
And here’s the best part: most days I do therapy in my pajamas with a sweatshirt for good measure. And a cup of coffee and a cat or two photo-bombing my sessions.
In fact, one of my cats has now officially earned the name “Therapy-Cat”. He just seems to know when to join me in my session at the exact time that I need more safety and comfort. It’s uncanny. (It’s really not though...animals are BRILLIANT!) Especially Gus.
Did I mention that my partner and I occasionally even do couples’ sessions by video with a therapist out of town…? We do and it is amazing!
It really is a delightful way to get what I need emotionally, when geographical distance (or a pandemic!!!) gets in the way of being together in person.
So to those of you who might be struggling with this adjustment to this new way of being in therapy: I hear you. It is different. It really is.
It’s going to take a little bit of time to adjust to this new way of being together. I want to invite you, though, to give it a shot.
If there are ways that I can support you during this adjustment, reach out. I’m only a phone call away.
Video sessions are a powerful way to connect with others, especially your therapist, when we are being required to social distance, quarantine and “shelter-in-place”.
Again, I want to let you know: I’m still me. I’m still with you. I will just be with you in therapy via remote, online sessions.
Oh, and if you’re lucky, Gus will join too. He’s a pretty wise cat.
I am grateful that you are a part of my community and am here to support you however I can.
I’ll see you online!!!
You may or may not know this about me: I am a HUGE Star Wars fan. I’m talking about the original trilogy, A New Hope / The Empire Strikes Back / Return of the Jedi. I have a deep fondness of them.
I remember going to the movie theatre (movie theatres were not NEARLY as fancy as the theatres today) and getting my 1 box of Jawbreakers (remember those tiny little sugar pellets that could break your tooth if crunched down in the wrong way…?) and crunching my way through the movie. Inevitably, I remember that one of my siblings would accidentally spill their jawbreakers out onto the floor (sometimes it was me) and we would hear them all drop, one by one, onto the floor of the theatre and roll down to the front of the theatre, disrupting every single person whose chair they rolled underneath, until they finally came to stop at the front of the theatre.
Ah, those were the days.
I am not so much a fan of the newer movies that came out that are actually prequels to the original trilogy released in 1977, 1980 and 1983, but still watched them as a dedicated and loyal Star Wars junkie.
After recently seeing the latest release, The Rise of Skywalker, it was hard to believe that I had watched the final movie. So, I decided to watch The Mandalorian to see what the buzz was about.
And afterall, I love Star Wars so what’s a little more storyline…?
I have two words. Baby Yoda.
Did I say, Baby Yoda??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
I had been hearing about Baby Yoda on the internet and in the news, but didn’t understand the appeal until I saw this series and fully understood. Not with my head, but with my heart.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched this series yet and intend to watch the series, then stop reading here! Come back after you’ve seen it and finish the article!
The storyline follows a bounty hunter who had been hired to kill an “asset” that was a “threat” to the order. This bounty hunter, the Mandalorian, who has his own profound storyline of transformation and softening, found the asset and upon seeing that the asset was actually a very young baby, could not bring himself to kill Baby Yoda.
This started out a beautiful attachment process between this soldier and this vulnerable Baby Yoda, during which they both saved each other’s lives in a variety of different ways.
As it happens in “good bonding”, there grows a bond between an adult and a child in which the child’s needs, especially their need for safety and protection come first.
The child begins to know (not in their head but in a much deeper internal place inside) that they are “safe in this world” and that this caregiver would put their life on the line to protect them if needed.
This series illustrated this process of bonding and attachment beautifully when time after time, the Mandalorian found himself in the middle of a battle or changing his plan so that he could come back and rescue Baby Yoda from the bad guys.
The story shows the Mandalorian lovingly making a space for Baby Yoda in the cockpit of his ship, and gently redirecting Baby Yoda whenever he tried to chew on pieces of the spaceship as toys.
It was a beautiful and heart-touching example of the love that underlies good bonding, between a parent, who had a hard time opening up to his feelings and heart but not being able to resist the pull of this child and its dependence, and a sweet, complex, vulnerable Baby Yoda.
I mean after all, Baby Yoda is not full-grown yet; he’s only 50 years old...he’s just a baby!!!!
I finished watching this series feeling myself doing work around Baby Yoda in my own therapy process and what this character touched inside of me.
And here’s where the story gets really incredible.
The other day, I was talking to a nephew of mine about Baby Yoda (in fact, I had my Baby Yoda hoodie on and he saw it) and he immediately said “Aunt Kate, wait!!!!” and proceeded to pull up a video on YouTube about… you guessed it… BABY YODA.
Check it out here: Baby Yoda YouTube Video
Oh my gosh. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I felt a strange mix of admiration, heart break, wonder, sadness as I listened to the song.
People are going nuts over Baby Yoda!!!! I am mesmerized by it and I love it!!! And I’ve figured out why this is happening.
Baby Yoda represents the Inner Child inside each of us.
What makes Baby Yoda such a sensation is that he is a “safe” symbol for people to soften and feel tender towards. I mean again, after all, he’s related to Yoda. It’s acceptable to show heart in this way.
Even the hardened bounty hunter, the Mandalorian, softened and supported a connection to Baby Yoda.
So, I want you to go back and listen to the song again. This time, listen to the words that this person sings in this song. Imagine that he was talking about his own inner child.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
This is why we love puppies, kittens, babies...anything young and vulnerable. And is also why some people absolutely cannot stand the idea of puppies, kittens, babies and anything young and vulnerable.
Our relationship to the child inside of us is a direct mirror for how we were supported for our own heart, vulnerability and softness from the world, society, family, and caregivers in our life.
When we received support for our softness and vulnerability, it makes it easier in the here and now to support this part of us.
In the ways that our heart, softness and vulnerability were met with painful experiences, we try to stay away from this part of ourselves too, unconsciously, as a way to avoid further pain.
And when we live in constant disconnection from the child inside of us, we become disconnected from our inner strength, our inner wisdom, our inner power.
In a nutshell, we ensure that we will stay disconnected from our own inner Baby Yoda.
So here’s the deal folks… go look for Baby Yoda. Watch the series. Google it. You might just find that you end up bumping into your own inner child along the way.
This child needs your fierce protection and deep presence. It’s time.
And here’s the best part about that: you’ve got a wonderful example of how to begin bonding with your inner child- the Mandalorian gives you a spectacular roadmap for how to begin building better bonding inside for this part of you.
Thanks for reading.
It’s true. The relentless pursuit of happiness is a tricky thing. This is because happiness, itself, is fleeting.
In order to really get to a place of deep satisfaction (not just temporary happiness), we have to be able to go back and reconnect to our spirit. We need to work through all the old places of trauma and wounding that keep us stuck in a place of dissatisfaction.
If we want to experience this satisfaction, we have to work through these places of suffering, sadness, and hurt. It’s not easy work – and it’s oftentimes uncomfortable – but it’s what is necessary to create lasting impact in our lives.
In fact, when someone is longing for happiness, it often signals that person is in a place of spiritual impasse. They can’t quite get there, but they also don’t have the internal supports needed to really begin healing the wounds of their past. When those internal supports aren’t in place, they simply won’t be able to ever get to that feeling of satisfaction.
When we do have enough emotional supports inside, we move towards happiness, satisfaction, and growth. It organically unfolds inside of us, and that’s a beautiful thing!
I recently sat down with my friend and colleague, Valerie Kolick, to further discuss this idea of Spiritual Bypass or the “Happiness Myth.”
I think it’s a discuss you’ll really enjoy, so I encourage you to check it out!
Head to the podcast episode here: https://valeriekolick.com/healtotransform/56
And if you’d like to continue this discussion, join us over in my Facebook group. We dive into ideas just like this one – all centered around healing, growth, and satisfaction. We’d love to see you there!
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.