Are You at Your Wit’s End? (Part 1)
Are You at Your Wit’s End? – Part 1 of 2
Staying home and staying healthy has everyone spending a lot of time together. Are you at your wit’s end? Watch to see how you can adapt to the new normal.
This video is part of the “Start the Conversation: Taking Care During Tough Times” video series created for Nebraska Extension’s Wellness in Tough Times project. The videos, led by Dr. Christine Chasek, include various strategies to improve your well-being and reduce stress during this challenging time.
Watch more videos at https://go.unl.edu/ruralwellness.
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[00:00:21.050]Hello, everybody, my name is Dr. Tina Chasek
[00:00:24.030]and I'm coming to you from my kitchen
[00:00:27.350]on behalf of the Wellness in Tough Times' team
[00:00:30.580]through extension at UNL.
[00:00:32.500]And we are doing a series of webinars and podcasts
[00:00:38.000]to kinda help us get through this pandemic
[00:00:40.090]and this difficult time.
[00:00:41.800]And so I'm here to start the conversation.
[00:00:45.200]And today we're gonna start the conversation with asking,
[00:00:48.710]are you at your wit's end?
[00:00:51.020]I think this whole COVID-19
[00:00:52.640]somewhat we've been in it for a while now
[00:00:54.530]and I think it's just starting to kinda wear on us
[00:00:57.700]and we're a little bit at our wit's end.
[00:01:00.590]And so I'm just gonna tell you a little bit
[00:01:02.630]about who I am and what I do
[00:01:04.980]and why I'm coming to you to talk to you about this stuff.
[00:01:08.240]So I am an associate professor
[00:01:10.090]at University of Nebraska Kearney.
[00:01:12.710]That's where I work.
[00:01:13.960]And I get to do some really cool things.
[00:01:17.980]I get to teach students.
[00:01:19.820]And I also have a practice in Kearney
[00:01:22.690]where I do behavioral healthcare services.
[00:01:24.920]So I'm a licensed clinician.
[00:01:27.610]And then I also get to work at UNMC as the Director
[00:01:32.380]of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
[00:01:36.730]And so I get to expand
[00:01:38.520]and provide behavioral health education
[00:01:41.160]to all kinds of people.
[00:01:42.720]And my favorite audience to be able to talk to
[00:01:47.110]is my rural agricultural people
[00:01:49.770]because I grew up as a rural girl,
[00:01:52.070]and that's really what I've always wanted to be.
[00:01:55.780]I always wanna be in a rural area,
[00:01:57.750]work with folks who are rural and just kinda continue that.
[00:02:02.040]My growing up town was a town of about 900 people.
[00:02:06.620]And when I came to college in Kearney actually,
[00:02:10.620]it was the big city for me (laughs)
[00:02:12.610]so when I was done with school and my husband and I
[00:02:16.440]was time to find a place to settle down,
[00:02:18.530]we really wanted somewhere rural.
[00:02:20.410]And so we moved to a very small town
[00:02:22.630]in South Central Nebraska.
[00:02:25.510]My town is about 300 people.
[00:02:27.220]So definitely very small, very agricultural based.
[00:02:33.508]We have a cornfield out of our front door,
[00:02:38.200]my back door is the city hall.
[00:02:40.310]And the city hall is kind of the hub of the community.
[00:02:43.920]So we have a library and lots of activities go on there
[00:02:47.210]for kids and families actually,
[00:02:50.960]and lot of stuff that happens in the community.
[00:02:54.790]We just voted over there not too long ago. (laughs)
[00:02:57.420]And then there's also the fire trucks
[00:03:01.780]and all the city equipment that's there.
[00:03:05.700]And we also have a coffee shop,
[00:03:07.690]which is only to open to the local farmers
[00:03:10.510]and only like at six o'clock in the morning
[00:03:13.130]and they all come and they all support each other.
[00:03:17.110]Although that's not been happening since we've had COVID.
[00:03:19.580]And so a lot of our normal daily routines
[00:03:23.309]have been disrupted.
[00:03:25.060]Life has really changed throughout this whole pandemic.
[00:03:29.840]And one of the things that's changed
[00:03:32.560]that I just never even thought about,
[00:03:34.670]is that I have to match my mask now
[00:03:37.100]to my outfit, if I go out into public.
[00:03:40.866]Just never thought that would ever have to happen.
[00:03:43.570]And I've also discovered that those things
[00:03:45.377]are not very comfortable. (laughs)
[00:03:48.550]I wear glasses and so it fogs up my glasses
[00:03:50.940]and then I end up messing with it too much
[00:03:52.890]and probably totally defeat the whole purpose
[00:03:54.930]of wearing the mask.
[00:03:57.500]But the other thing that really has changed in life is
[00:04:01.230]that we're not going and doing things like we used to.
[00:04:04.260]And, we're not able to go shop or be in crowds of people
[00:04:09.550]or be able to go to church or kids are not able
[00:04:12.770]to do their sports or all of those things,
[00:04:17.286]go hang out with friends when they're the teenagers.
[00:04:21.060]And so life has just drastically changed.
[00:04:23.360]And it really felt like it changed pretty much overnight.
[00:04:27.710]One day we're kinda hearing about the COVID,
[00:04:30.447]and it's going on over in China, and I don't know about you,
[00:04:34.390]but me I'm like, well, that's a long ways away,
[00:04:36.560]that's not really, anything I need to worry about.
[00:04:39.940]And then it happened in Italy,
[00:04:41.026]and then all of a sudden hearing about oh my gosh,
[00:04:43.330]it's coming here.
[00:04:45.740]And even up until recently,
[00:04:47.744]kind of Nebraska being in the center,
[00:04:50.900]we didn't have the big outbreaks like New York
[00:04:54.113]and California and some of the bigger cities
[00:04:58.270]and so now that it really has hit home
[00:05:01.430]and we're having more and more cases.
[00:05:03.490]And especially, it's hitting home
[00:05:06.100]for the agricultural community with the problems,
[00:05:10.306]of outbreaks in the meat packing industry,
[00:05:14.840]which has then now disrupted,
[00:05:16.460]a lot of the financial supply chains
[00:05:20.420]for farms and agriculture.
[00:05:22.750]Just really life has changed
[00:05:24.580]and it's kind of turned upside down.
[00:05:26.460]And I think one of the biggest changes,
[00:05:30.298]that's been hard is to be away from family and friends.
[00:05:35.590]Maybe you're in a situation where you can't go visit,
[00:05:38.830]maybe your parents or, you're worried
[00:05:41.310]about giving them the,
[00:05:46.254](mumbles) exposing them to to COVID.
[00:05:49.050]Or in our case, we have a brand new grandbaby
[00:05:54.460]that was born on St. Patrick's Day, actually March 17th.
[00:06:00.010]The day after he was born,
[00:06:01.800]they shut down pretty much the hospital
[00:06:03.770]and nobody could go in.
[00:06:05.280]And so it's impacted our ability
[00:06:07.730]to be able to go spend time with him,
[00:06:09.980]which has been hard because you really want
[00:06:12.150]to celebrate those things.
[00:06:14.720]Or you may be in a situation where it's elderly parents
[00:06:17.470]or nursing homes that you can't go into.
[00:06:22.910]It is hard for us,
[00:06:25.953]we would always run off to the city ranch, we call it
[00:06:29.470]'cause that's my daughter and my son-in-law's place
[00:06:33.150]that they have, where they raise chickens and some sheep
[00:06:36.720]and mainly do milling of lumber, actually (laughs)
[00:06:41.580]right on the outskirts of Bellevue.
[00:06:44.090]And so, that's really changed for us,
[00:06:47.100]and we're not able to go visit them
[00:06:48.670]and I feel a little cheated,
[00:06:51.310]and maybe that's kinda where you're at,
[00:06:53.020]like you're feeling cheated (mumbles)
[00:06:54.500]but angry that you can't do some of the things
[00:06:56.860]that you've always done.
[00:06:58.640]And so the other the thing though we have to think about
[00:07:01.530]is that it's for a better purpose, it's for a good purpose
[00:07:04.750]and even though I can't run off and go see them,
[00:07:08.760]we do have technology that helps us stay connected
[00:07:11.900]and be able to see our little grandson Jack grow and change.
[00:07:16.650]And so I do
[00:07:20.610]just wanna share a little bit.
[00:07:22.340]I shared where I lived and
[00:07:28.520]it's not very populated,
[00:07:29.860]and so to do a physical distance is pretty easy in my town,
[00:07:33.840]because there's so few people.
[00:07:36.130]Although I do see a lot of people out walking,
[00:07:38.730]and I did when I was coming into town not too long ago
[00:07:42.510]from taking a little drive to get out of the house.
[00:07:44.620]There was a horrible traffic jam (laughs)
[00:07:46.700]in the street coming into town.
[00:07:48.690]And that traffic jam consisted of about eight ducks
[00:07:54.650]and about six geese and a whole bunch of chickens.
[00:07:58.330]That was the big one.
[00:07:59.163]I had to wait, wait for them
[00:08:01.510]and I just kinda got a chuckle out of that.
[00:08:03.580]That there's things that I think
[00:08:07.051]when we are in such a rush all the time that we miss,
[00:08:11.490]and what a cool thing that we can,
[00:08:16.290]just stop every once in a while
[00:08:18.140]and enjoy kind of our rural lifestyle.
[00:08:21.370]And so there is so many things that have happened.
[00:08:25.650]And I think one of the things that has been hard
[00:08:29.790]on families is all of this,
[00:08:32.870]all these new roles that we've had to take on since COVID
[00:08:36.050]and the schools have shut down
[00:08:37.580]and industry has shut down pretty much.
[00:08:40.240]And so we're being asked to do all kinds of things.
[00:08:42.970]So now not only are you
[00:08:46.650]a mother and a wife,
[00:08:49.460]or a husband
[00:08:51.775]and a father.
[00:08:53.970]Now you're also a teacher (laughs) if you have kids,
[00:08:57.640]and maybe your college-aged kids came home,
[00:09:02.310]and they're now living with you again.
[00:09:03.930]And so now you get to also do more laundry
[00:09:06.880]and take on all kinds of extra duties.
[00:09:09.420]There's so many things, all of these new roles
[00:09:12.610]that we've had to pick up, and new things we've had to do,
[00:09:15.670]because of the way life has changed.
[00:09:18.620]For me, I've had to learn how to cook again (laughs)
[00:09:21.970]because, we're all home and I have
[00:09:24.660]to cook all of these meals
[00:09:27.720]and remember what that's like to do that.
[00:09:31.424]And so the other thing, you know,
[00:09:33.780]we've also had to become technology wizards.
[00:09:36.680]And to get kids in school and get them on the computer,
[00:09:40.180]figure out the whole, internet Wi-Fi technology.
[00:09:45.760]And also, that's the way that we can connect socially.
[00:09:49.060]And so figure out how to set up meetings
[00:09:50.810]so all of our family can be together.
[00:09:53.410]You've had to maybe be a mediator
[00:09:56.350]between arguments that are breaking out
[00:09:59.300]'cause everybody's home together.
[00:10:02.060]And you've also maybe had if you had a job,
[00:10:04.530]outside of the farm in the ranch,
[00:10:07.290]you've had to learn how to do that from home potentially.
[00:10:10.810]And even for those who are still like going out,
[00:10:14.980]and working off the farm and such,
[00:10:17.200]things have changed there too.
[00:10:19.590]I know my husband has a job where he's considered essential
[00:10:22.510]and they've put all kinds of new policies
[00:10:24.620]and procedures into place
[00:10:25.950]and some things that, he doesn't necessarily agree with,
[00:10:29.840]and it's been kinda difficult and upsetting to deal with.
[00:10:33.870]Plus all the heightened stress and anxiety and worry.
[00:10:37.240]Are we transmitting,
[00:10:44.270]Am I at risk for catching the virus by being at work
[00:10:48.430]and being out amongst people?
[00:10:50.490]And so it's just, we have many, many more jobs,
[00:10:54.240]many more roles, things to adjust to,
[00:10:57.020]and it can seem kind of overwhelming and daunting.
[00:11:02.320]Now I will say, I think some folks,
[00:11:05.990]have had a bigger adjustment than other folks,
[00:11:08.360]which is totally normal.
[00:11:09.710]And so maybe our rural lifestyle
[00:11:12.790]or in the way that you've lived your life,
[00:11:14.840]like, on the farm and not a whole lot has changed.
[00:11:17.770]Maybe you don't go out as often into town or whatever,
[00:11:21.690]but you definitely have, maybe more responsibilities
[00:11:26.540]and things to think about, even in terms of the economy
[00:11:30.610]and some other things.
[00:11:31.630]And so, one of the biggest things that we hear,
[00:11:35.330]especially in counseling
[00:11:37.550]because we continue to do counseling,
[00:11:39.420]that's still available.
[00:11:41.030]We have telehealth that we can use
[00:11:44.780]to practice resources.
[00:11:47.830]One of the things that we've discovered
[00:11:49.640]is that there's been a lot more stress and family discord
[00:11:53.680]because we're all cooped up together.
[00:11:56.740]So you know how chickens are when they're all yelling
[00:11:59.050]in a coop that's too small.
[00:12:00.660]And there's too many of them in there
[00:12:02.740]and you have a dominant one.
[00:12:05.980]I experienced this at my daughter's not too long ago.
[00:12:08.610]I have a bunch of chickens I had way too many for the coop
[00:12:11.470]and I went out to let them out in the morning
[00:12:14.360]because they let them like roam around in their yard
[00:12:17.700]and their pasture during the day.
[00:12:19.860]And there was there was a big fight. (laughs)
[00:12:23.230]There was a big chicken fight in the coop
[00:12:25.860]and I just like oh this poor newer chicken
[00:12:28.920]was getting picked on and and we kinda do that
[00:12:32.350]when we get all cooped up.
[00:12:33.880]Animals do it and we do it as human beings,
[00:12:36.920]when we get too cooped up in a space
[00:12:40.380]and don't have kind of our own space to go to,
[00:12:44.747]and have a break from each other.
[00:12:47.200]Tensions run high and you start picking on each other
[00:12:51.160]and kids will do this a lot to each other,
[00:12:54.730]if they're all cooped up too much together.
[00:12:57.790]And so we can wear on each other
[00:12:59.550]and little minor irritations can turn into big things.
[00:13:03.110]And so maybe you're at your wit's end
[00:13:06.010]around that whole thing.
[00:13:07.300]Like, I'm just so tired of hearing the kids fight.
[00:13:10.810]And that really becomes stressful.
[00:13:14.470]And there's been more calls,
[00:13:17.379]the law enforcement have had to deal
[00:13:19.530]with more kind of domestic calls
[00:13:21.000]and such during this whole time.
[00:13:22.820]Just because people are getting on each other's nerves,
[00:13:26.850]so to speak.
[00:13:27.900]And so, we'll talk about what we can do
[00:13:30.320]to combat that in the second part of the talk,
[00:13:34.440]because there are things that you can do.
[00:13:36.710]And we know I'll leave you thinking
[00:13:38.491]that there's nothing you can do.
[00:13:41.140]But there's been some rough weeks
[00:13:45.010]and probably some rough weeks to come about pretty soon.
[00:13:50.750]But we gotta take one day at a time and we'll all get there.
[00:13:56.340]I think the other thing for us to remember is
[00:13:59.270]that we, as much as we feel stress and worry
[00:14:02.380]about all of the stuff that's going on as adults,
[00:14:05.870]we have to think about our kids too.
[00:14:07.950]And they're feeling stressed
[00:14:10.040]and they're feeling a little bit cooped up
[00:14:12.990]and kind of at their wit's end.
[00:14:14.890]And so kids have a different way
[00:14:17.983]of expressing it a lot of times (laughs)
[00:14:20.910]through their behaviors mostly.
[00:14:22.830]But if you think about the disruption in the kids' world,
[00:14:29.220]they were in school, they had a routine,
[00:14:31.080]they were doing their things
[00:14:32.010]and all of a sudden, that's all gone.
[00:14:34.220]And they are trying to figure out how
[00:14:37.590]to learn on the computer,
[00:14:40.300]how to get their schoolwork done
[00:14:43.452]in their home environment which is a little bit weird.
[00:14:46.620]And they've really had a lot of changes too.
[00:14:49.890]I know my college-age kid who had to come back,
[00:14:54.640]he went on spring break and then he just never went back
[00:14:57.087]and he didn't get to say goodbye,
[00:14:58.880]he didn't get to have a lot of closure with friends,
[00:15:01.490]and his life went from running at about 100 miles an hour,
[00:15:06.730]doing all these activities in school,
[00:15:08.760]to coming here and being at home,
[00:15:10.900]and not having a lot to do
[00:15:12.230]and try to figure out how to learn on the computer.
[00:15:14.800]And it's just very stressful and very worried
[00:15:17.130]about how that's gonna affect their grades.
[00:15:19.966]I know the neighbor girl we were talking,
[00:15:22.830]she's trying to figure out how to be a teacher
[00:15:24.690]and make her kid do his homework,
[00:15:26.340]and he doesn't wanna do homework.
[00:15:28.700]There's lots of arguments and fights in the home,
[00:15:30.690]because I shouldn't have to do schoolwork at home
[00:15:34.290]and this is hard.
[00:15:35.550]And parents try and teach them how to do that new math
[00:15:38.430]and has no clue on how to do it.
[00:15:41.060]So we're all like, kind of have
[00:15:43.120]to remember that there's lots of changes
[00:15:45.360]and anytime there's changes, there's stress.
[00:15:49.680]Even good changes cause some stress.
[00:15:52.540]And so, what we don't wanna have happen
[00:15:55.240]is that we get into a place where we get
[00:15:58.130]into a negative spiral or a negative downward kind of thing.
[00:16:04.392]Nobody's gonna get hurt,
[00:16:05.620]if they just follow, toe the line here, right?
[00:16:08.300]And you maybe start getting a little shorter with your kids,
[00:16:12.640]with yourself, with your spouse and things can kinda seem,
[00:16:18.640]even worse than what they are because we get
[00:16:20.740]into a negative mindset.
[00:16:24.609]There's no kind of really right or wrong.
[00:16:28.720]I mean, we've never been
[00:16:30.300]through a pandemic like this before.
[00:16:32.120]Just trying to figure it out.
[00:16:33.980]But I know that we want to also come out of it,
[00:16:37.430]with our relationships intact,
[00:16:39.430]with some of the gifts that we're gonna get out of this
[00:16:43.820]because believe it or not,
[00:16:45.740]even though there's been a lot of negative,
[00:16:48.140]I think there's gonna be a lot of good things
[00:16:49.720]that come out of this.
[00:16:51.000]And one of the things that I think a lot about,
[00:16:54.470]is that I hope that it helps our world slow down
[00:16:57.530]a little bit and maybe even get back
[00:16:59.990]to that more rural way of life,
[00:17:02.430]where we are a little bit, more slowed down
[00:17:06.230]and able to enjoy things a little bit more.
[00:17:11.310]We all have been guilty of kind of letting things get out
[00:17:15.260]of control and out out of hand.
[00:17:19.100]It's just, we're all really, really busy.
[00:17:21.490]And so maybe this gives us a chance to kinda stop
[00:17:24.860]and assess and figure out how we want things to be
[00:17:28.880]and how we get to a new normal.
[00:17:31.060]And so that's gonna be the focus
[00:17:32.910]of our next talk here coming up,
[00:17:34.380]which is what's the new normal and how do we get there
[00:17:36.650]and what does it look like and aargh I'm at my wit's end,
[00:17:39.730]what do I do?
[00:17:41.290]And so stay tuned to part two of this talk.
[00:17:46.450]And you will find out how to create that new normal
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