Anxiety, community, and free things! OH MY.

March 27, 2020

I cannot tell you guys how many times I have positioned myself at this computer to write a blog post. A steaming hot coffee to my right, and my fingers hovering just above the middle row of my keyboard, but no words come. What could I possibly share with you guys that would have any significance? It isn’t much, but I want to give ya’ll a look into my anxious heart the last few weeks. At the encouragement of a friend, reminding me that many of us may be walking this season, crippled by anxiety.

Many of you have followed me for a while, and have heard me speak on being anxious and finding ways to manage it, etc. I’ve also been very vulnerable about my struggle as a hypochondriac. Illness is a trigger for me, because I can’t control it. I can’t make enough lists or wake up earlier than illness. I lost my dad at as a toddler to cancer, and I think I grew up sort of associating sickness with death. It took me years after Liam was born, and walking through surgeries with him, before seeking guidance and support. The guilt that I wasn’t doing enough to prevent him from getting sick was all consuming, I lost a drastic amount of weight, I couldn’t sleep, I was exhausted. (and I had two babies under 2!)

Learning of a global pandemic sent me into a true panic. I felt doom everywhere. This doom felt like it was wrapping me around my rib cage in a bear hug and squeezing as hard as it could. The uncertainty was too much for me. I increased my evening anxiety walks, walking miles at a time. I read three books, trying to focus on each individual word so intently that no negative thoughts could penetrate through. As an Enneagram 7, I do traditionally think positively and with the future in mind– but I could not find a single positive. I tried writing, using this time productively, no words came. It felt dumb. I felt restless. I felt numb. I tried to round up kids activities, knowing many of us would be extending Spring Break and possibly switching to an e-learning format. I couldn’t stop shaking to use the computer mouse.

I felt surprised by my response, as we still had so little information about the magnitude. I felt that I had let my guard down.

I had to step back, I had to stop trying to outwork or push through. I disconnected from social media and turned off the news. I ask my husband to just share key details with me, and I relied on the boys’ school to email me academic updates. I stopped trying to push myself to use this time productively, and started focusing instead on giving myself GRACE.

I hope you are giving yourself grace, too.

The most amazing thing started to happen though, friends reached out. I did finally turn on the news — and I found it was filled up with upbeat cheerful stories of people helping each other. Stores offering the elderly special hours, brands providing free shoes and donuts to our healthcare workers, children making sidewalk chalk art, bears in windows to be spotted by neighbors, communities walking alongside one another. The doom that had engulfed me a week before was being replaced by hope and light. In fact, the friends that reached out to check on me, I asked them to send me memes, positive stories, and to help me focus on the light in this world.

My kids actually started elearning immediately, as their Spring Break was scheduled for April. I cannot tell you all how grateful I am for the teachers who have prepared lessons and responded to panic emails. I’m so grateful for my fellow bloggers and creative friends who have put together beautiful supplemental free printables (I’m working on a Pinterest board for ya’ll.) during this time.

I am far from 100 percent, but each day I’m finding my stride in this new normal. I am grateful for friends who have called and said “girl, I know you’re a hypochrondriac.. you doing okay!?” I’m grateful for the DMs on Instagram, the “me toos!” and the “you are going to get through it, I promise!”

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I am so inspired by the actions of so many. The musicians blessing us with their live streamed concerts, Mo Willems teaching my boys to draw each other, and I’m thankful for Facetime. We have made it a priority to spread cheer when we can. We found these beautiful free printables from Katie Corley, and delivered those to our neighbors. The boys added the superhero costumes for effect.

I wanted to take a minute to share of the brands they have graciously prepared resources for our families during this time, hopefully some of these are new for you. I will be sharing more freebies and free printables on my new deal focused Instagram page! Come follow me over there, and share with your friends as I know many of us will be tightening our budgets in the coming weeks and months.

Disney has put together some amazing resources for families– especially their Imagineering in a Box program through Khan Academy. My boys took each lesson so seriously, and it was so cool seeing their responses to each question.

The boys have also enjoyed learning to draw Disney Characters, I have learned this week my boys are really into drawing.

Disney also just released an amazing library of free printables on their blog so we can create more #disneymagicmoments Head over here and print things from National Geographic, Disney, Pixar, and some of your favorite characters from Disney books!

They are also really into the show LEGO masters. They’ve been enjoying watching it on HULU (I got a free 30 day trial) and then recreating the challenges they’ve done on the show.

Peloton Digital App Is offering a 90 day free trial! I am loving this app right now, you don’t need a bike to participate. I’ve done a couple strength classses and a dance class!

Cosmic Kids Yoga— wonderful thing to do with the kids during this time!

Audible stories is currently offering children free audiobooks, my boys have enjoyed listening while they build with their LEGO bricks,

Comcast has a package called Internet Essentials for qualifying families. I also noticed on their site, if you qualify for the internet essentials package– it looks like you also qualify to purchase a laptop or desktop computer at a discount.

Amazon is also offering free streaming of some kids programs and some movies with commercials.

There are many restaurants offering kids eat free promotions, I have to tell you we have absolutely turned on an audiobook and just driven through the drive thru for a change of scenery, haha! Sonic and Burger King are participating.

On the same note, be sure to follow your favorite local restaurants as many are offering takeaway promotions.

Be sure to follow me on social media, as I’ll be sharing links to more freebies and budgeting resources!

More about This Messy Season

This Messy Season is a blog serving families through practical tips for nurturing their families, emphasizing quality time and adventure. Helping young families bloom where they're planted, embrace their mess, and thrive through a series of honest, blog posts highlighting realistic travel tips, favorite products that simplify the work load of families, and family entertainment.

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