The world is a confusing and scary place right now. Nowhere feels totally safe and secure. Even inside of our own homes, even inside our own heads. Most of us feel like we are on an emotional roller coaster hit with another loop after every turn sending us emotionally upside down all over again. 2020 has quite literally been a roller coaster. Who knows what will come next?
In March, we were informed of a lethal global pandemic with skyrocketing cases in the United States. Our jobs changed, our children’s schools closed, our grocery stores ran out of essential household items, and we were ultimately ordered to stay at home. When we heard about the Coronavirus here in the U.S., we began our climb to the top of our first big drop on our roller coaster this year. With each new step in the process to physically survive the pandemic, we have been taken on inversion after inversion from what we once knew as normal. It has taken so much emotional energy to simply ride along on this emotional roller coaster 2020.
And then in May, while remaining socially distanced from most of our friends and families, a Black man was murdered by a police officer sparking an overdue national movement for racial justice. Enter the next phase of Roller Coaster 2020 to include introspection at overload speeds with a 205-foot drop at the realization that more change has to happen and that change has to start within us. We begin a descent into the depths of ourselves, asking hard questions, having difficult conversations, and acknowledging our fears, insecurities, and injustices.
On any tumultuous ride with twists and turns, our emotions inevitably trickle down to all other areas of our lives. We can try our best to compartmentalize, but when we ride roller coasters there is no denying that we are on a roller coaster. Our marriages, our jobs, our role as parents, our sleep, our physical well-being, our mental health are all impacted. There is so much to process right now and there is pressure coming at us from all angles to process immediately, act now and make the right decisions, have the right conversations, say the right things, post on social media, and educate our children. So much so fast with little time to breathe and absorb the emotional depth of what is happening around us. Pause for me; just for a minute. Many of the tough conversations we are having have not occurred before now and it takes more time to figure out how we feel and what we want to say. Allow yourself that time to process. Sometimes we need to give ourselves the gift of time. I have a friend and colleague who made a point to rid herself of external pressures by taking a break from social media and made a disclaimer that this did not indicate in anyway how she is feeling or where her alliance stands, but instead she is prioritizing her own mental health by stepping away from being inundated with negativity, confusion, and pain. I want to encourage you to remember YOU! While riding this roller coaster, remember to prioritize yourself, educate yourself, and pull down your own safety harness. Only then can you educate others and help them be safe too.
It is now June. We are halfway through 2020 and our emotions are still all over the place; up, down, fast, jerky and inverting everyday. We are scared for what is to come and excited at the possibility for change. We are yearning to return to calm, even if that calm looks a little bit different than what it did before. Similar to when you are coasting toward the end of the roller coaster when you can lift up that safety harness and take a big deep breath of relief that it is all over. We are not necessarily nearing the end of Roller Coaster 2020. But even still, allow yourself that big deep breath right now. Feel all the feelings and do not forget to breathe. We could all use some fresh air right now.