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April Jeppson: It’s OK to not be OK right now

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson

 

So, how’s everybody doing? Seriously. How are you? I’ll wait. I’ve got time.

This whole thing is weird, right? It is. In the matter of one month, our whole world has changed. When my kids got sent home for spring break, I had no idea that they’d never go back to their classrooms. Or that I wouldn’t be able to go back to coaching. Or that I’d have to wear a mask. All of this is so weird. I am learning a lot about myself though, so I guess that’s a blessing.

I’m an extrovert. This whole experience has really solidified how much of an extrovert I am. I never realized how much I needed to be around people. I’ve done the math. I went from talking to about 200 different people a week, down to 10. I love the four people who live in my house and the six people I work with, I really do. However, through all of this, I’m learning that I need more. I miss coaching all those kids each week. I miss talking to their parents. I miss shooting the breeze with my gym buddies. I miss the hustle and bustle of a busy office.

These things, they filled me up. As an extrovert, I get my energy from people, and being around a lot of different people each day is exactly what the April ordered. So having to drastically downsize my social circle has hit me hard. I have found myself being angry, sad, distant, crying for what seems like no reason, eating too much and not being hungry at all. I was on day three of this non-typical behavior when it occurred to me that it’s because I’m starving for interaction. I thought I simply enjoyed being around people, but I didn’t realize I required it for my mental health.

I also need structure. If you tell me that I have all day to do something that takes 30 minutes, I’m probably not going to get it done. If you tell me that I have till 10 a.m. to get that same thing accomplished, I’m all over it. Having my hours cut, my kids at home, helping them with school work, working from home, trying to figure out what to feed all these people for all these meals — it’s a lot. Every person I know is dealing with a lot right now. Trying to juggle all these different things is not easy.

I’m not naturally good at creating and sticking to a schedule. I kind of hate being told what to do even if it’s me telling myself what to do. I enjoy going with the flow and just seeing what happens. What I’ve learned is that all these different part-time jobs and activities are my schedule. It helps me accomplish more and get everything done. So now without all this external structure to guide me, I’ve had to create my own. It has been hard for me to get this figured out, but the days that are more structured, I’m definitely more productive.

I love people. I love staying busy. I love being positive and optimistic. This past month has been very trying for me. It has been hard to stay positive. There have been days when I just couldn’t make myself do anything. This is hard for everyone. We are allowed to grieve the changes that are happening. It is normal and totally OK to not be OK right now. Call a friend. Text someone. Get out of the house and go for a walk. If you’re like me, you’ll find it’s best to undertake a project to occupy your mind. Whatever you need to do to get through this, it’s OK. Figuring out your own mental health strategy is just as important as washing your hands.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.