As I write this, it’s been nearly a year since this whole pandemic started. A year of stress. A year of chaotic childcare. A year of uncertainty. A year of not seeing the people we love and a year that’s been hard. Really fucking hard. I won’t sugarcoat it. In all my years as a person, mom, doula, and offering parenting coaching services – I’ve never lived through anything quite like this, and I’m sure you haven’t either. No one has. 

I think we’ve all collectively hit an invisible wall. When this started we told ourselves that we would have to endure for a few months to keep everyone safe. But a year later, it’s still going and it’s harder than it was back then. This blog is for anyone who doesn’t want to be strong anymore. For anyone who doesn’t want to do it all another day. This letter is for you. This letter is for me. 

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve all found incredible strength we didn’t know we had this year. We endured. We sacrificed. We stayed home. We made jokes – you know I made lots of jokes. And we did it. I mean, we did the hardest shit and we’re still here. 

I learned to become a virtual doula, something I never thought I’d say in my wildest dreams. I acted as a mom, grandma, friend, and have offered my parenting coaching services from afar. You taught your children and learned to work remotely. You learned to navigate parenting without help and you cared for those you love in entirely new ways. And omg, many of you became teachers which in a million years was not your dream.

But even still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that you might have hit your limit recently. I know I did. So what do you do when you don’t want to be strong anymore? 

As a doula in Northern Colorado and as someone who offers parenting coaching services, I’ve had to dig far into my toolbox to pull myself up. Here are a few practical tips that I’m working on incorporating into my own life right now. I hope they help you, too.

  1. Feel all the feels. First of all, let’s start with the obvious. It’s perfectly okay to feel these feelings. Allow yourself to grieve. This has been exceptionally hard and it’s perfectly normal to feel like you’ve lost a whole year and a whole lot of people because we have. Take a moment and sit with these feelings. I’ve been trying to journal more. Meditate more.  And give me space to process all of this.
  2. The 10-minute rule. There are so many times when I don’t want to get out of bed – to clean, to do work, to move my body. But I’ve implemented the 10-minute rule. It’s simple; let me explain. Instead of hemming and hawing about what I need to do for an hour, I just make myself start. I tell myself that I must do it for at least 10-minutes. After that, I can take a break. But you know what almost always happens? Once I get started, I keep going! It’s just the starting that’s hard. The 10-minute rule has worked for me.
  3. Practicing gratitude. I know this is hard right now when things are so hard, but I have to remember that I have so much to be thankful for – my family, my husband, our dogs, my clients, my friends, my business, my health. It goes on and on. Taking some time to write these out and think about them a few times a week has really improved my outlook.
  4. Letting go. I have to remember that nothing about this is ideal. This isn’t how I imagined my year going and none of this is what I had planned. But you know what? It’s not what anyone had planned. I have worked hard to release my expectations about when this will all end and just trying to enjoy the moment. It’s easier said than done, but I have zero control over this, so I might as well try to let it go. 
  5. Spending time outside. We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful place with so many opportunities to spend time with nature. Every time I force myself to get outside, I’m so glad I did. There’s nothing that a little vitamin D can’t help. Take a walk, move your body – you’ll be amazed how good it feels.
  6. Back to the basics. As a parent coach, I cover all kinds of things like communication, disciple, boundaries, and the science behind it all. Sometimes I have to go back to all of that in my own life. These are all important life skills that we need at every age, including mine. I try to remember to communicate clearly, voice my concerns, set healthy boundaries, and say no sometimes.
  7. Reaching out. Even though we’re all feeling Zoomed out and fatigued, communication is a two-way street and I realize I have to do my part to stay connected to my people. Scheduling FaceTime calls, sending random texts, and connecting with people on social media does as much good for my own health as it does for my friends. It can be hard for me to break out of my little bubble, but I’m always so glad when I do.
  8. Making time for me. And finally, I know, especially for parents of little ones, it’s hard to do. But making time for alone time is key. There’s a lot of togetherness right now and many of us need some space to recharge. Be sure to communicate those needs to your partner and make time for yourself. 

This is all so hard. And if you’re feeling like you don’t want to be strong anymore, know you’re not alone. This month feels especially heavy and triggering for so many. But know this – spring is coming and vaccines are rolling. This too shall pass. 

As always, I’m here to help you in whatever capacity I can. If you need doula services because your family is all far away (or they’re not the supporters you need right now), please reach out. If you need parenting coaching services to guide you through this exceptionally hard time, I’ve got you. Or if you just need a friend, I’m here for you, too. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Julianne Curtis is a Northern Colorado birth, postpartum, and bereavement doula. She offers a wide variety of related services including belly binding, lactation support, and she also offers parenting coaching services. Julianne serves Fort Collins, Windsor, Timnath, Loveland, and beyond. Click here to get in touch to learn more about any of her services.