Stress, Wellness

Finding Peace in an Uncertain Time

walking through the woods

It’s tough to write this week, since everything feels so insignificant compared to what’s happening in the world. But I’m just trying to do my best in finding small bits of normalcy every day. At the risk of sounding cliché, I’ve grown to appreciate little moments that I’ve taken for granted. On the other hand, I’ve also caught myself overreacting to trivialities that don’t matter in the big picture.

I try to find humor in things like watching my dog circle her blanket 20 times in an attempt to build the perfect nest. Or the fact that my at-home wardrobe consists of alternating four sweatshirts and three pairs of sweatpants. I find myself filling my days with worry as I think about the cashiers, delivery drivers, sanitation workers, healthcare employees on the front line, and all the other essential employees who don’t have the luxury of staying home. This often leads to intense feelings of guilt as I sit at home. And, of course, I remain hopeful that we will get through this.

Suffice it to say, I—like many of you, I’m guessing—have been all over the place emotionally. But no matter where we fall on the spectrum of emotions right now, the last thing we want to do is judge how we feel. Our lives have been turned upside down and, no matter what you’re feeling, it’s okay.

It’s important to seek out the little things that bring you comfort and peace. For me, that’s calling my sister every morning and checking in with friends. This week, I want to hear how you’re finding moments of calm. What do your days look like and how are you coping? How have you remained connected to your TOPS family in place of weekly in-person meetings? Tell me about it and remember, we’re all in this together.

41 thoughts on “Finding Peace in an Uncertain Time

  1. Yesterday, through zoom I attended class 6 and last of Intuitive Eating which I started through FSU Lifelong learning program. The last three were by zoom.

    1. I just started TOPS one week before all of this started. Sounds strange but I’m reading and highlighting the book Real Life. It keeps me focused and being healthy and not sidetracked with all the happenings around me.

  2. I find calm when I sit with one or two cats on my lap or on the arm of the chair. That is a time to just relax and find comfort in their warmth. I do feel periods of sadness & actually let the tears fall when I see/read/hear something touching, frequently when things are done to help others or when there has been a loss. It is a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances I think and I just let it be.

    My TOPS chapter is using ZOOM for weekly meetings. Most of our members join in but we have a couple without computers so in those cases phone calls and cards keep them in touch.

    Thanks for sharing your experience as well.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Eleanor, and I love that your cats are bringing you such comfort. My dogs have certainly gotten plenty of walks and cuddle time 🙂 And I’m so glad your chapter is finding ways to stay connected!

  3. I have personally kept my sanity by walking 3-6 miles per day. It really helps me clear my head, as well as spending time outside and of course keeping up with my activity. As an Advocate, I have been sending weekly “virtual meetings” to all my members. Trying to keep us all focused and in touch. Take care all – stay safe and healthy. Virtual TOPS Hugs

  4. Jan Harris, April 8, 2020

    I’m program manager for our chapter. Don’t knows when we’ll meet again — governor of NC hasn’t announced when our stay at home will end — prepared a program for our first meeting back together encouraging everyone to be glad to see one another & be happy even if they have experience a gain during our time apart.. We can all get back on track & move forward to good loses going forward. I walk outdoors once or twice daily to keep my KOPS going. TOPS hugs,

  5. Love that you’re staying active, Ilene! I agree that daily walks have been so helpful to clear my head. Thank you for sharing and for everything you’re doing to support your chapters! We’re in this together.

  6. I have been comforted by pets and long walks, too. I miss seeing my students (I work at an elementary school) and I am concerned about family members that are working (nurses and a fire fighter) on the “front lines”. I haven’t been going to my online meetings as I was planning on trying in person meetings with my membership renewal – guess we’re all online for now! Take good care!

  7. If I couldn’t get outside I think I would have lost my mind by now. I have trouble with anxiety and this to has been challenging. My walks and petting my cats has been comforting. Our pastor is live streaming everyday. It’s either worship service, prayer meeting or Bible study. It has really helped me. Talking to friends on the phone. I miss my children & grandchildren very much, but am able to FaceTime. That’s a really big help.

    1. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve found ways to stay connected, Wendy! We will get through this. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. So very well stated Maggie! It’s good we can’t judge our feelings because mine are all over the map from day to day. I agree with your thoughts and enjoyed picturing you at home watching your dog, comfortable in your sweats! Enjoy that small comfort while you can! Warm hugs to you my friend.

  9. I find peace in our yard where the plants are growing their new leaves for the summer. For me the new green is a symbol of hope.

    1. I was just thinking that same thing this morning, Carol, as I looked out at our little green plants starting to grow in our garden.

    2. I planted peas, corn, okra, squash, tomatoes, and peppers. The deer destroyed everything, but left some squash and tomato plants that were in planters. I am just having to stay content watching the deer, and knowing that I got ALOT of exercise hoeing in that garden until the plants got big enough for them to devour.

  10. I’ve been using the April Inspiration Calendar as my daily dose of encouragement to stay focused on the TOPS to KOPS journey. I post each day’s inspiration on our chapter’s Facebook Group page hoping to do the same for other members. Yesterday it was “Keep your hands from snacking by putting together a puzzle.” Then I added a picture of the puzzle I put together. I too am trying to do my best in finding small bits of normalcy every day. There is comfort in routine. Be blessed, Maggie. Your consistency is a blessing to all of us!

    1. What a great idea, Bonnie! And there is absolutely comfort in routine. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

  11. I fill my days by sewing quilts for abused children, veterans in nursing homes and quilts for hospice patients in the hospital. I also sew quilts for Smoky Moutain Service Dog group. I got my fellow TOPS group to meet at local park and walk 4to5 days a week for 45 minutes a day. We are allowed to do this. We stay 6 feet or more apart from each other. We all enjoy seeing the dogs at the park. We are hoping this will help us since we can’t use our church for having our meeting and weighing in. We are all getting a lot of exercise. We will soon be back to what may be a new normal for all of us.

    1. Wow, Linda, what a kind and heartfelt service you’re doing! That’s amazing. And I’m glad to hear that you’re able to get exercise and fresh air. This is one of the things that has helped me find peace. Thank you so much for sharing!

  12. I am retired but was always on the go. Staying home was difficult at first but I have adjusted. Like to get out & walk every day weather permitting. Just finishing up my 1st jigsaw puzzle (it really passes the time). I try to keep in touch with family & friends daily, doing a lot of deep cleaning & pray a lot. Can’t wait for all this to be over so life can be normal again. Prayers & hugs to everyone.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Kathy! I’ve yet to tackle a puzzle but have been reading a cleaning a lot. We will get through this!

  13. Getting out and going for a walk every day is what’s helping me. I am a TOPS leader and have been emailing members twice a week, one of the day includes our normal meeting time. That helps me and hopefully is helping our members.

  14. I really love your comments help a lot. Rough week as my son having his 2nd surgery in a week put off going to ER till it was almost to late afraid of the Virus. Have a bad habit I thought I’d put away but this week with all things happening. NO more Jelly Beans thanks for putting things in order.

  15. Our group did a first face to face using messenger last night. Was so nice to see all the faces and share what’s happening.

  16. Thank you for an honest , uplifting message! It is a trying time but also a stop and reflect time. Staying in touch with family ,Tops members and friends is vital and fun! For the first time yesterday I got a chat call that had all but one sibling on the line!! I was so happy!!! Out of this pandemic has come good that we know is in our country and yet life crowded out that truth many times! Again thank you for your sharing!! Blessed Easter to you and yours!!

    1. Thank you for sharing, Florene, and for your kind words. I agree that it’s so important to find the light in dark and difficult times. We’re all in this together!

  17. I have been filling my days doing some embroidery and just recently making face masks for family. Emotions are indeed all over the place. Trying to focus on better eating. Time spent with our outside dogs is a place.

  18. I have been filling my days by going for a 5+ mile walk every morning along with spring cleaning our home. Also, being the leader of my chapter which consists of mainly seniors I have been making cards weekly and snail mailing them out as most of the members don’t have a computer. I also, phone each member weekly as well because I Care! Sewing tote bags, placemats etc. to use as gifts/awards at chapter also uses up any spare time that I may have as I am one who needs to keep busy. One of the most difficult things we have to contend with is that we cannot visit our special needs son who lives in a group home or have him home with us for a visit which was happening up until Health Canada put the home(s) in lock down due to COVID-19. This really pulls at my heart strings but we will get through it by staying strong!

  19. I am just now getting to read this. I should have turned here the day this came out. My emotions have been everywhere. I am an essential worker however I have the ability to work from home and do remote meetings,etc. while helping my kids navigate distance learning and keeping my disabled husband from feeling like we have stolen his sanity. Our group is doing FB Live meetings, Zoom phone calls and as the leader I jump on and do inspirational quick videos and chats with my group. I have two members who I am blessed with that reach out to encourage and comfort me! I don’t feel as my time has slowed down but I am more busy then ever worrying about my staff (I am HR of a Financial institution) however we have taken the weekends to clean/organize/strip wallpaper! LOL Thanks for sharing and being so transparrent.

  20. Ladies, bless you all as you stay safe and well. I pray for all our essentials workers and their safety and that of their family. Most of all I prayer for those loved ones and family members who can not be with a dying loved one. I applaud all your creative ways of getting through this and knowing you did your best. We are doing a Virtual Contest and will have a Zoom meeting next Tuesday.

  21. I have found grocery shopping extremely stressful – to the point of fighting tears of fear when I pull into the parking lot. While grocery shopping last week a lady collapsed in my proximity – tears of fear hitting again when I got back into my car. This week I decided to figure out how to do the shop online and pick up at curb. Talk about feelings of comfort! I did the process 1st time yesterday and no tears! The most comfort I have felt since the start of my state’s stay at home mandate!!!

  22. Hi Maggie: I just read your post today and want to thank you. It is very refreshing and nice to hear these words from you. We are all in the same boat… This is a very difficult time for everyone and reading some of the members’ comments helps too. God bless you all.
    TOPS Chapter 0545 Strathroy (Canada)

  23. I’m just reading your blog today. Not sure how I missed it before. I volunteer at our local hospital one day at Info Desk taking visitors/patients to where they need to go & a second day in Admin Office doing American College of Surgeons stats & database maintenance in the Quality Improvement Dept. (I’m a retired data base analyst). I can’t tell you how empty I feel not being able to be with my hospital ‘family’. I’m trying to help by sewing masks for medical staff & being in a program called No One Dies Alone for those Covid victims who can not have family there for them. It’s hard to stand back when so many have stepped forward to help us so I do what I can. I’m totally drained emotionally right now. I hope somehow I’ve done a bit of good. I tried to encourage my Tops chapter to help with masks but no one was interested. That was very disappointing.

    1. Bless you Barbara for what you are doing. Continue doing all the good you do. I also judged others when I felt they were not contributing as I was. They I realized we all have different gifts and abilities and life situations. They are contributing in ways that I cannot. You may wish to issue the invitation gently again in the future. You may be surprised by the results. Who knows you may end up with a learn to sew group!

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