Don’t ignore how you’re feeling emotionally

The week of Thanksgiving felt pretty crazy.

Because of the holiday, our newspaper deadline was a day early. That meant that Monday felt like Tuesday; Tuesday felt like Wednesday; and Wednesday felt like Thursday.

Because I stayed at home alone all day on Thanksgiving and did my normal Sunday activities, Thursday felt like Sunday.

I worked on Friday so it felt like Monday. I celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday with some extended family, so Saturday felt like Thursday. Sunday felt like Saturday because my church didn’t meet.

So if you’re scoring from home:

Monday felt like Tuesday
Tuesday felt like Wednesday
Wednesday felt like Thursday
Thursday felt like Sunday
Friday felt like Monday
Saturday felt like Thursday
Sunday felt like Saturday.

Notice what’s missing?  I didn’t get a Friday; just two Thursdays.

But the holiday week was even more out of sorts for me than that, I think.

For a couple of weeks I have experienced more anxiety than normal. Yes, weeks where all the days seem jumbled can cause that, but I think it’s something else. I think it’s been my lack of contact with people. Physical contact.

It isn’t that I haven’t seen people, I have. It’s just been a lot less.

It’s great that we can stay in touch with people through technology, but it just isn’t the same.

I paused to think about the way I was feeling, which led me to the following discoveries. I hadn’t done an in-person interview in at least three weeks. Until last Friday, the last in-person story I covered was the Sedgwick City Council meeting on Nov. 16. All my other interviews had been over the phone or by e-mail.

My church took a couple of weeks off of meeting because of the rising COVID-19 numbers. While I supported the decision, I’ve missed seeing and interacting with my church family. We’ve sent numerous texts encouraging each other and I’ve stayed connected through Facebook with some of them, but it isn’t the same as seeing them face to face and having a conversation that includes direct eye contact and body language.

My church met last Sunday, but I wasn’t feeling well so I’m staying at home for a few days, just in case. That means more isolation.

I did get some family time over Thanksgiving weekend and that helped, a lot. And I’m starting, at least a little, to feel better.

Because of the rising positive COVID-19 numbers, I’ve been trying to work at home a little more than I normally do. I honestly don’t know if my working at home instead of from the office helps in the big scheme of things, but I’m trying to do at least a couple of things that might help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

It’s easy to focus on things we can measure, like active cases and accumulated deaths. What isn’t as easy to measure is our mental and emotional health. While not everyone has been directly affected by COVID-19, we have all been indirectly touched by it, and everyone has experienced added stress and anxiety since March.

I didn’t start to feel better until I paused to recognize what was going on inside of me. It’s a busy season, but please, pause, reflect, meditate, worship, and be honest with how you’re feeling. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s not okay to ignore it.

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