You’ve got a lot on your plate right now—your husband and his colleagues have been called on to fight an unprecedented worldwide pandemic.
Yikes! That word “pandemic” alone just sounds so dooms-day-ish.
It kind of feels like the equivalent of sending a soldier off to war given these current circumstances.
He’s on the front lines of this battle.
The thought may have crossed your mind–How do I support him during this crazy time when I’m barely hanging on for dear life myself?
As a life coach who specializes in working with women who are married to doctors, can I offer three tips to help you support him while he’s supporting his patients?
1. Take care of yourself. I know it sounds cliche, and you’ve probably heard the whole “put on your own oxygen mask when the plane’s going down before you help anyone else with theirs” idea–but it’s cliche because it’s true. You can’t draw water from an empty well, so don’t forget to care for yourself. What kind of self-care am I referring to? I know pedicures and massages are nice (though not really feasible during “Shelter in Place”), but the following ways to take care of yourself are even more important (and can be done while social distancing):
*Get enough sleep each night.
*Eat foods that fuel your body well.
*Meditate or Pray (preferably both)
*Get dressed and make your bed. This feels even better than all-day yoga pants. Promise.
*Write your feelings down in a journal—it does wonders for loosening up those negative emotions.
*Move your body at least a little every day. It’s good for your body and great for your mental and emotional health.
When you take care of YOU, you have so much more to give to those around you, and you don’t have to expect your husband to do it for you. He’s not always really good at it anyway, have you noticed? You, on the other hand, are an expert at knowing what you need.
2. Allow him to handle the pandemic however he chooses to handle it. Do you wish he would talk to you more openly? Not bottle his feelings up inside so much? Or maybe you wish he would STOP talking about it. If he didn’t worry so much, you wouldn’t have to worry so much, right? Not exactly…did you know that he can be upset (or closed off, or worried, or stressed) and you don’t have to be? It might look like this—you can listen to him and support him without wishing he were just a little bit different than he is. Here’s what I know about people–they don’t want you to change them. They want you to love them exactly as they are. So choose to love him. And choose to love him for YOUR sake, too. Because loving him feels better than trying to control him or change him. I Promise it does.
3. Understand that you don’t have to be in charge of his feelings. Whatever he is feeling is coming from how he’s choosing to think about the pandemic, and it’s all ok. You don’t have the power to control his thoughts or his feelings, and this is great news, because you don’t have to. The only thing you have power over is what you are choosing to think and feel. So what do you want to think about your husband during this time? Can I offer some suggestions?
*Give him the benefit of the doubt.
*Get curious about what might be going on for him.
*Be patient with him.
*Be patient with yourself when you lose your patience with him or anyone else.
*Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end.
Know this: you are doing a great job. You really are. You have done so many hard things in your life (i.e. medical school/residency/fellowship), so while I don’t know you, I do know that this isn’t your first rodeo with uncertain times (hello, match day!). You are strong BECAUSE you went through all of that, not in spite of it.
You will be stronger BECAUSE of COVID-19 as well.
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