It’s been a month, and your brain has been challenged.
There’s a reason why you feel more tired than usual at the end of your days during this time of quarantine and shelter in place. You might think you have less to do and fewer decisions to make, but in reality, your brain has been going through more changes than it has had to potentially in a very long time. Sure, you don’t have to consider what to wear, or when to be someplace, or making plans for an upcoming event, but the very lack of these things is harder on your brain than you know. In fact, you might have begun to sense it.
Connection: It’s a natural anti-anxiety cure.
Our brains have a helpful chemical response when we see someone we care about. Have you ever felt a little anxious or uncomfortable at a conference or party while making small talk with acquaintances and strangers? Then, someone you know well and care about enters the room, and you suddenly feel more at ease? Studies have shown that at the moment your eyes alight upon a “known and felt” person, your brain releases a shot of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that reduces fear and anxiety and increases both your eye contact and your feelings of trust and generosity.
During this time of isolation, while you have been around your immediate family, you have not had direct eye contact with many close friends and family. Also, there is a lack of contact with those who are like you, and understand what you are going through at home with a special needs individual. You have been starving your brain for that oxytocin fix, and that means anxiety and loneliness are left to grow.
And let’s face it, this is a new world for you and parenting.
You woke up one morning and went from being a full time working parent to becoming a full-time stay at home working parent who is homeschooling.
What can you do?
It’s time to go beyond texting and phone calls. It’s time to put more time and energy into finding ways to have a visual connection with others.
Even while holding fast to ‘shelter in place’ you, there are opportunities to see the faces of other parents just like you, to hear their stories, and just be present with a supportive group.
Sharing common struggles in a time of crisis is that bond that helps you to see that you are not alone, and that is a wonderful feeling.
So how about joining us for one of our many weekly meetings via Zoom? You’ll find a listing of them just below. It’s not an immediate cure-all, but it will go a long way toward encouraging and reminding yourself that you do have the strength to get through this.
Your brain will get a little dose of oxytocin, and who knows, you just might find yourself smiling a little more.