I tossed and turned until 3 am last night. I just couldn’t sleep. I can’t tell you why. Every so often I would wake up with my heart racing. Does this mean that I am more stressed than I think I am?

When I finally fell asleep, I was dreaming that I was at my friend’s grandma’s funeral in a Church. No one was wearing masks and I was panicking and looking for my mask. When I left the funeral, I got on a bus and was surrounded by so many people not wearing masks. I woke up in a panic realizing it was a dream.

I really don’t want to leave my house. I am staying home as much as I can. I am finding comfort in being home with my family. If we are all home in a bubble then I can keep them safe. My daughter Ella asked me to please go get her Chick Fil A at the drive thru today for lunch. My dog Tanner and I went for a nice drive in the car to get everyone lunch while my kids worked on their schoolwork. It makes me nervous, but I did it anyway. Every so often I am going through the drive thru for them. We have also gotten food delivered to us. We want to support the restaurants in our area who can only do take out right now.

A young boy took my order today and I laughed at myself for leaning away from him. It’s as if I think the virus is going to jump on me. I haven’t done enough research but maybe it can jump onto me. I would imagine he would have had to sneeze or cough on me. It is such a sad way to live to not feel safe around people.

One day we will walk the grocery store and feel safe. One day I will send my kids to school and feel safe. One day I will go on a date with my husband at a restaurant and feel safe. Today is not that day and I am finding comfort being home safely with my family.

I guess I don’t realize how stressed I am. I think I am getting through my days just fine. I think that everything is going well. My kids are all doing their schoolwork. I finished editing my book. I continue to write and help my kids with their schoolwork and clean and do laundry and make a million meals. However, when I was driving to Chick Fil A today, I almost had to pull over. My chest felt tight and my heart was racing as I drove. You see, I am home most of the time. Going out does not feel like a normal thing right now. I had to take a bunch of deep breaths and do some calming self-talk. As you can tell I don’t feel safe leaving the house. It doesn’t just happen when I leave the house. A couple of times in my house I have noticed that my heart was racing. Sometimes I am not aware of my feelings. I need to give myself some down time and do lots of deep breathing. I need more games and puzzles and less cleaning, cooking and helping with schoolwork.

My husband is my knight yet again as I write this. He spent the day working at home. He just ran to work to get his mail and ran to Wegmans to get a few things. He has been going to Wegmans for us to get our groceries. I think he tends to bottle up his emotions. Yesterday he opened up a little bit about some work stress and I think I did a good job helping him problem solve. He tends to be a strong rock for his family, and he tends to roll with things. I just hope I can get him to open up more as I think he is stuffing a lot of his emotions.

My heart goes out to every business that is closed right now. I worry about my friends who aren’t able to work right now. I am so very sorry to every single person who is financially stressed right now. I hope this is over soon. I am very thankful that Seth and his team are easily able to work from home. I’m also very thankful that I can write and do my work from anywhere at any time (it’s 10:30 PM as I type this).

I want everyone to know right now that you are not alone. We are all going through this together!

If you are having trouble sleeping, you are not alone.

If you find that your heart is racing, you are not alone.

If you are trying to work and teach your kids, you are not alone.

If you are wondering if you are doing a good job teaching, you are not alone.

If your emotions are all over the place, you are not alone.

If you are wondering when you will be able to go out into public and feel safe again, you are not alone.

If your business is closed and you’re stressed out financially, you are not alone.

If your business is a lot slower than usual, you are not alone.

If you are afraid to go to work, you are not alone.

If you don’t want to go to the grocery store, you are not alone.

If you find yourself meal planning based on what is available at the store, you are not alone.

If you are being stricter with your children about food, you are not alone.

If you are home with your spouse and kids all the time and trying hard to find some alone time, you are not alone.

If you want to wrap your family in a protective bubble, you are not alone.

If you miss your people and hugs, you are not alone.

If you feel guilty for enjoying some aspects of this crazy time period, you are not alone.

I like the slower paced life.

I like sleeping in.

I like staying up late.

I like movie nights with my family.

I like not living in my car driving my kids to activities.

I like being home for dinner together every night.

I like playing games with my family.

I like baking with my girls.

I like that they have 2-3 hours of school vs. all day of school.

I like my husband working at home.

I don’t like feeling afraid to go out.

I don’t like the bad dreams.

I don’t like the random heart racing stress I feel.

I don’t like my friend’s businesses being temporarily closed.

I don’t like worrying about my parents at work every day.

I don’t like the medical professionals who are putting their lives at risk every day going to work.

I don’t like the people who are suffering from this virus.

I have heard some people say that they are bored. I can understand that. Or just feeling antsy to get out. I have been taking two long walks a day to get myself out of my house. It is my greatest coping skill right now. I can also say that with a husband, three kids and three pets, I haven’t been bored in years! The dishes are endless, the cooking, the laundry, schoolwork, games, movies, writing, books…..Boredom is not one of my issues.

I don’t feel this pressure to get things done. I know that one way people have learned to cope with this time period is to get projects done around their house. I want you to do whatever works for you. People are painting, and organizing, and cleaning, and feeling like they need to get stuff done because they are home. If painting your kitchen will make you feel better, then please go do that. I am not feeling like I have extra time. I would say that having three kids home all day every day doing schoolwork is actually giving me more than my normal load. Let’s not forget the hot breakfast, lunches and dinners I am making every day! If you are looking for me, I am either cooking, teaching or walking!

I would like to make a plea to people to please stay home even if you are bored. Easter and Passover are coming up and I know how much everyone wants to be with their families and friends. Please stay home and help stop the spread. I don’t know when our lives will get back to normal if we don’t do this. I have seen a lot of teenagers hanging out together and it is making me sad.

I want to leave you with two amazing books that my book club read. Book number one was The Tattooist of Auschwitz and book number two that we read was The Nightingale. Reading both of these books have really helped me to keep things in perspective. We are being asked to stay home and to stay safe at home. These two books took place during the time period of the Holocaust. I am thankful to be safely home and not be in the middle of a World War. I am not downplaying the stress that families are going through right now. Some people are out of work. Some people have family members and friends who have died or are in the hospital. It is a very stressful time. I just wanted to share that these were two books that made me really appreciate my life.

Check in on your kids and how they’re doing. Check in on your spouse, your parents, your friends and yourself! I wish you all much health and safety.

Laughing, Loving, Learning,

Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R