You need to protect your mental health now more than ever
There’s nothing like a global crisis to give people in your lives the excuse they have been looking for to touch base. Right now we are scared, anxious, and nervous and because we are emotionally vulnerable, it can cause us to allow outreach from people that we wouldn’t normally tolerate.
In the past few weeks, I have seen and heard examples of the following types of what I would call “quarantine inspired outreach”.
“I’m so bored, let’s shake things up.”
A coworker told me that she had become so bored while trapped indoors that she thought about texting her ex-boyfriend over the weekend, just to create a little excitement.
Although this may seem like a good idea after too much time and a little too much wine, don’t do it.
You need to respect people’s boundaries and remember that just because you think it’s funny to text your ex, his new girlfriend is probably not going to think the same thing. No one needs to be instigating fights while people are trapped together in a 500-square-foot apartment.
“Hey, it’s been a long time. How has the past decade been treating you?”
I have found that old “friends” I haven’t spoken to in years are feeling the need to reach out.
Some relationships run their course for a reason without the blame lying with either person. People grow apart and that’s completely normal and part of life.
You don’t owe anyone anything more now than you did before. You can choose whether you want to respond to unwanted outreach but you have no obligation to explain your reasons for no longer having them in your life.
Some relationships run their course for a reason without the blame lying with either person.
“I deserve to know why you cut me out of your life.”
Recently, an ex decided that even though we haven’t spoken in years and didn’t leave things on necessarily great terms, that now would be a great time to reach out demanding an explanation for events that transpired over five years ago.
I read the message and part of me wanted to respond to explain why I had created such firm boundaries and cut him out of my life.
Then, I realized that I didn’t owe him anything.
I didn’t need to get upset and type out a novel about all the ways he had mistreated me. I didn’t owe him an explanation, in fact, I didn’t even have to type a single word in response.
I decided to let it be — I moved on and I deleted the message without replying.
“Why can’t you jump on Zoom? You have nothing else to do.”
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t want to be on video calls 24/7, even though I love my friends.
However, I have found that when someone asks me to chat, I feel like I need to have an elaborate excuse in my back pocket so I don’t offend them.
That’s simply not the case. Just because our lives have shifted doesn’t mean that we aren’t busy. It doesn’t mean that all of us suddenly have unlimited free time.
And even if you do, that doesn’t matter. You get to decide how you spend your time. Even in this time of isolation, you still need alone time.
Hold firm to your boundaries throughout this uncertain time.
It’s ironic because this morning I got a text from a friend saying that this quarantine is really raining on her “Sorry I’ve been busy” excuse for people that call her out for not responding to her immediately.
They are under the impression that she has all the time in the world.
I told her I was writing about that exact topic and reminded her that she still has every right to have boundaries and that also: “Most people don’t want to be on Zoom all damn day.”
I’ll leave you with this thought. If you let your boundaries fall by the wayside now you won’t be able to automatically put them back in place when this situation subsides.
You will need them when it’s all over and I promise that even if you may not realize it, you need them now.