I Gave Myself a Mental Health Day.

If you read my last post…then it probably gave you an insight on why I’m giving myself a mental health day today.

I knew when I got the call saying that my work was open after the “Stay at Home” order, I knew that I was not ready to go back.

The anxiety and panic that I was experiencing was too overwhelming. And it’s not something new. But it escalated to new heights last week. To a point that it has never reached before.

So given the opportunity to use my sick hours (which expires next month on my 1 year), I used it to give myself a sick day or in my case… a MENTAL HEALTH DAY.

It’s not a day to be lazy in my pajamas watching movies.

I needed another day just to process everything.

I know that I have some anxiety and fear over going back to work tomorrow.

So I spent the beginning of the day being busy. I worked on my planners and bullet journals, cleaned, made my lunch for the next day and made a peppermint chocolate loaf (from a mix that I got from Trader Joes back in December and didn’t have time to bake it until now). I watched Disneyland vlogs/shows/fireworks online to boost my mood.

In a couple of hours, before I start winding down for bed. I know that my anxiety will start asking me loads of questions starting with “WHAT IF..”, and will provide scenarios in my head of the worst possible outcomes for tomorrow. I’m going to write it all out, so it won’t pop into my head as I’m falling asleep.

And right now, my mindset is… whatever happens, happens.

I have been looking through this entire situation with FEAR & ANXIETY.

The fear and anxiety that was transferred by social media, the news and my co-worker.

And I just saw this one post on Instagram that basically said THANK YOU to all those helping with this situation. Looking at this entire situation with gratitude.

Be thankful for those medical professionals that are going to work everyday. Be thankful for all the grocery stores and other stores open that are providing us the opportunity to buy food and whatever we need. Be thankful for the teachers that are not at schools, providing lessons online at the drop of the hat.

I’m missing so many other people and professionals.

But THANK YOU.

As much as anxiety will probably affect me in the next couple of hours or tomorrow morning, I need to look on the brighter side of things.

When I’m at work probably frustrated with whatever is going on, I need to think that I am getting paid. Others were not that fortunate with their jobs.

I have the option of going to work. Others going to work probably don’t have that option. My mom and brother work in the hospital, they don’t have that option.

I’m glad that I was able to take this day off and gain a different perspective on everything that is going on.

I felt like if I went straight to work, I would probably feel stressed right away and continue on that negativity train.

If you ever get an opportunity to give yourself a Mental Health Day, take it and live it to its fullest.

-MEL

Negativity Energy is Powerful.

I wrote an entire post a couple of days ago of how this virus has affected me mentally all of last week because I still had to work. But I felt like I was complaining too much and being way too negative, so I deleted it.

In that post, I explained how each day brought a new or different fear and anxiety trigger. Being a Pre-K teacher in a preschool we were still open and we didn’t know when or if we were going to close. If we closed, the question “will we still get paid?” arose. While still open, we were fearful of the germs that were coming into our facility. I admit that along with some co-workers, I was upset for the fact that some parents took advantage that we were open (because many told us at least one parent worked from home). If these parents had no childcare at all and had to work outside of the home, I wouldn’t mind being open and providing that service for them. But there are many people that are working at home, plus having their children at home as well.

As much as I was angry that we were open, I was still grateful that I was able to work and earn money. Some people weren’t that fortunate.

But I was working alongside a negative energy. A good person. A good co-teacher. But all that came from his mouth were negative statements. I was trying my best to keep positive throughout this entire situation the world is experiencing. But negative energy is powerful and can transfer their energy to others. I found myself getting frustrated and having a negative mood due to his energy.

A couple of days ago when the “stay at home” order began, we were closed. I felt great and wrote that post I was talking about. As I was writing the post, I get a text from my co-teacher saying that our director was going to call each of us.

And another day of fear and anxiety began….

The call instantly triggered anxiety and fear because we were going to be open the following week ( because preschools were deemed “an essential” to those parents whose work places were still open and essential). We were asked if we wanted to work, not go to work but use our sick hours or not work without pay. My heart immediately began beating fast and I couldn’t breathe (like it has been all week due to my anxiety…not the virus). I couldn’t give an answer during that time. And I talked to my co-teacher and of course his negative energy transferred to me. He was going to take the week off without pay and I was going to do the same thing.

At the same time, I was talking to a friend who I used to work with at my last job. And gaining another perspective on this situation helped decrease that negative energy. I asked her what she would do if she had the choice to work or not. She said that her class was low, so she would work. She also talked about her friend who was recently laid off. Also teachers from another preschool were laid off. And from that text, I gained a new outlook on the situation. As much as I didn’t want to go to work, I was fortunate enough to still have a job, still have the opportunity to work and earn money.

(I can’t escape work, got another message today from it. And I wanted this day to be stress free and not think about work).

The amount of stress and anxiety from this entire situation has affected my body physically. These symptoms are not new and have been with me for months. My heart is beating fast, real fast as if it’s running a race. Alongside my rapid heart beat, a symptom that causes more anxiety. I felt like I haven’t been able to properly breathe in months (not because of the virus) but due to the amount of anxiety and stress from work. I’m not breathing heavy or have breathing problems. The stress feels like I’ve been holding my breath in and haven’t been able to breathe out and relax.

There’s a lot of unknown, uncertainty, fear and anxiety in the world right now.

But the best thing we can do is be healthy and not let the media and negativity trigger our minds.

Everyone keeps on saying that we are quarantined. But we should look at it in a different way. Here in California, our order is called “Stay at Home” and it’s for safety reasons. We are keeping ourselves safer by staying at home. I’m perceiving this order as “MORE TIME!”. I have more time to get things done that I didn’t have before. I was able to deep clean my room, clean my junk drawer, search graduate programs. There isn’t an excuse to get things done now that we have the time to do it by staying inside.

I am actually excited to have the time to paint and draw.

When this situation started appearing, I told myself not to give in to the panic. We should be aware. Be safe. It’s hard for me sometimes, but BE POSITIVE.

Negative energy is powerful and can transmit itself to others, if we allow it.

We will get through this (insert heart emoji).

-Mel