Hello March

Hello March

Hello March!

If there is one month that I never liked it has to be March — although this year I am having a different thought about March.

Why did I hate on March so much? Probably because it has 31 days in it and it feels like the longest bridge between winter and spring. There is still a need to wear winter clothes and gear outdoors – ugh! More often than not, when I look out my windows, I see gray, rain, maybe even snow flurries! Ugh! I am ready to be done and there March stands in my way!

I am feeling a little different this year and maybe this has to do with how long proper winter has felt — i.e. December, January, and February — talk about dragging on. This year as I see March dawn, I see on the calendar where we are going to “spring ahead” with our clocks (more light!) and warmer temperatures even as we experience atmospheric rain rivers in Seattle. As I look further into my calendar, St. Patrick’s Day is almost around the corner — time to make some Irish Road Bread – and, if you are a Christian, Lent begins where it truly is 40 days of waiting.

Waiting. I suppose that is what March represents to me — whether I am waiting impatiently for spring and can’t stand March or breathing a sigh of relief that I can see some hints of spring even as I wait it out — this is a month about waiting for me. Waiting for warmth, for long days, for summer fruits and vegetables, for vacation days, for BBQs, for everything that is not winter.

Do you wait with active patience or passive patience? I was reading a little note about this recently. That one can just be passive and not do much as one practices patience for whatever she is anticipating to come. One can be active as she practices patience as well. In this case, perhaps buying some seeds and beginning to plant them in cups, buying flowers for one’s self, layering in lighter clothes, changing over one’s closet from winter to spring, cooking up a spring recipe — and I am sure there are more active ways to practice patience through this long bridge to spring.

Oh! And let’s not forget that the spring equinox is in March! It really is just around the corner — that’s what I keep telling myself!

Dear Therapist: Running Out of Patience

Running out of patience and time
Running out of Patience?

Dear Therapist,

I am at the start of Month #2 of Shelter in Place in my town. My heart fell to the floor when the order was recently extended another whole month. At first, it was novel to work at home, bond with my family, and have more time to myself without the running around, but now I am running out of patience! How do I keep it together at this drags on — and on?

Sincerely, Running out of Patience

Ah! What a feeling! What a situation!

I think many people are in states where the people have been sheltering in place for weeks by now and are about to enter into not week, but month two of the situation. I hear that you, at first, appreciated the change in your life that this order originally had on your life, but it’s now worn off and you want to get back to your life as usual.

I am sure you are not alone with what you are feeling. There is definitely a desire to want to get back to work, to errands, to sports, to events, to coffee with friends, to networking chats, and everything else that took us out into the public to connect, produce, enjoy, and live each day. Being grounded as a kid was never fun, and now the entire world is in this state.

One thing, we know our neighbors and everyone else is in the same boat. One way to grow patience is to recognize you are not alone. Everyone in your community is in the same place and most people are probably wishing this could all be over yesterday. Knowing you are in good company can help ease the feelings.

Next, recognize that staying in is for your safety and the safety of others. It is literally the staying put that is saving lives. How can it be? Something so simple — stay home and save lives. Yet, it is so foreign and strange to stay in the majority of the time for weeks on end. Still, holding in mind the purpose that this is for something much greater than yourself may help you tolerate these days.

I would also suggest creating a list of all that you want to do once this time is over. I know it helps me to write these items down – both mundane and fanciful items – to keep my hopes up that this time will end and I will be prepared to move on to things that have been put on indefinite hold during this time. It is important to have a list in mind as to what you are looking forward to when this is over.

Finally, try to be present to this moment. It is an unusual, strange time, but one that will not last forever. Take it in as fully as possible. Use the time to learn about yourself, the ones you live with, and what about this time is realy good and what poses challenges. There is much to be learned by slowing down and observing one’s self in this unusual space.

How do we grow patience? There is no magic answer, but, in time, it will all pass. Find ways to structure the days, find meaning within, and be present to what is unfolding in the now to not get too ahead of yourself, but to find the good in here and now. Today.