Opinion: Gottman’s Four Rules and the Need for Diversity

Listen to the women. Listen to the people of color.
The post Opinion: Gottman’s Four Rules and the Need for Diversity appeared first on The Gottman Institute.

Circus of Books—How One Couple Became LGBTQ Allies and Advocates

Being stuck in quarantine has meant I have lots of free time on my hands and what better way to spend it than on Netflix! When Circus of Books showed up in my recommended list, I didn’t know what to […]

The post Circus of Books—How One Couple Became LGBTQ Allies and Advocates appeared first on Sex, Etc..

Hookup Culture and the Impact of COVID-19: An interview with Lisa Wade, PhD

Gabriel LeãoDue to the Coronavirus pandemic, many higher learning students are having to put their sexual lives on hold. To talk about casual sex in college life and the effects COVID-19 might be having on it, Scarleteen spoke with sociologist Lisa Wad…

Seven Things to Do If You’re Alone During COVID-19

Lasara Firefox Allen
Being single or otherwise on your own during the pandemic can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be awful or without benefit to you. There are probably lots of things you can do right now to help yourself cope and make the most of this time.  Here are seven ideas to get you started.

Being single or otherwise on your own during the pandemic can for sure be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be awful or without benefit to you. There are probably lots of things you can do right now to help yourself cope and make the most of this time.  Here are seven ideas to get you started.

Go Wilderness Camping

Head out into the wilds if you can and find yourself a place to fall in love with nature. Camping by yourself can be a gateway to wonder. Opportunities for serene communing with the out of doors may lead to deep revelations, or just some sweet rest and relaxation. No matter what your goal, be ready for some quiet times that become an auditory tapestry of birdsong, frog croaks, and cricket calls as you drop in and listen.

During the time of COVID-19, boondocking or wildland camping might be what’s safer (fewer folks in the area and therefore less chance of exposure) and more available (fewer restrictions on camping on federal lands). It is likely to be remote and rugged, so make sure you bring water, a camping shovel, a strong flashlight, and a camp stove at bare minimum – in addition to the obvious. (A tent or sleepable vehicle, sleeping mat, sleeping bag.)

Bring a book or two if you like to read. Bring a musical instrument if you like to play, or art supplies if you like to create art. Find a quiet place to sit and commune and create and play!

If you don’t own camping gear perhaps you can source some on a local buy-nothing group, or borrow some from a friend. If you’re urban and not able to access the wilderness, perhaps you can make a day trip of it to the biggest local park you can locate. While it’s not the same as wilderness camping, even a few hours of submersion in nature can be a healing experience.

Cat Around – Online!

While being in a relationship doesn’t mean you can’t play the field (hello, open relationships!), there’s nothing quite like the freedom of being single as far as exploring your individual sexuality goes.

You’re single; you can still play the field if you want! Just because you can’t meet up with people in person doesn’t mean you can’t engage with your sexuality or romantic interests. You can take this time to explore your sensual and sexual identity, desires, quirks, or kinks. During COVID-19, for the sake of everyone’s safety, this activity should be restricted to online fun – but that doesn’t need to infringe on your explorations.

A few ways to stretch your sexual and sensual edges while sheltering in place are:

  • Masturbating alone
  • Masturbating with a friend while sexting, or over a video platform (if that’s safe and within the law for you to do)
  • Exploring erotica or porn and seeing what you like or don’t like
  • Meeting new friends virtually on dating apps, and playing with them over text or video chat
  • Negotiating play scenes with lovers for after isolation is no longer needed

There are plenty of reasons to invest some of this solo time in sexual self-exploration. Taking this time to learn about what makes you hum will serve you well in both the short and long term, with or without a partner. Orgasms are also good for your immune system! They reduce stress levels and increase good feelings for many. And a handful of orgasms for sure helps to make the time in isolation go by more quickly.

Build Solid Friendships

Just because we’re sheltering in place doesn’t mean that we can’t work on building our interpersonal connections. Your friendships are going to get you through thick and thin. There are many ways to build and nurture community and connection while in isolation.

Some simple ways to build your connections while practicing safety include:

  • Zoom or FaceTime coffee dates
  • Take a walk and talk with a friend over the phone: enjoy a phone chat while you get outside and get some movement in
  • Dance parties with your besties on an electronic platform
  • Find or create a specific online support group for yourself and those with similar concerns, interests, or cares as yours
  • Accountability buddy agreements: these may be about any kind of self care (exercise, eating, taking a shower), work goals, or creative goals, and can be conducted by phone or text or chat. Choose a buddy and agree to an accountability check-in schedule. Whether daily or weekly these simple arrangements can really increase traction for sticking to your goals and commitments

We all need each other right now. Reach out! Support others and find yourself supported in the process.

(Learn To) Cook!

Maybe you never had a real interest in cooking before now, or maybe you were interested but never felt you had time to learn. Well, now not only is there more time available for many of us, there are also fewer opportunities to eat out.

To start, find YouTube tutorials – or better yet, have a community elder talk you through a recipe you have always loved. Ask your mama to walk you through the recipe for your favorite childhood comfort meal. Ask your uncle how to make his favorite. (Build community while learning new recipes!)

Feeding yourself can be a nourishing and empowering act. Embrace it. Explore it. Enjoy it!

Solo Date Night/Day

What do you love to do, but rarely get around to doing? Set aside some time to rediscover and enjoy it. Dinner and a favorite movie is an easy one, but why not get creative and enjoy a guided art session online, or a hike and picnic, or a  long bath and self-massage?

It’s easy to let one day bleed into the next in isolation, but there are things you love to do; schedule them in. Pick up that instrument you love to play and sing some love songs to yourself. Write in your journal as you savor a glass of sparkling wine or water.

Solo dates might seem silly at first, but give it a try and over time you may come to cherish the time devoted to nourishing your connection with yourself.

Get Some Therapy

Many therapists have moved their services to telehealth sessions during COVID. There’s no time like the present to dig in and start working on healing or dealing. When solo, you can commit to doing the work for you, and you alone.

There are a few things to remember when seeking out a therapist:

  • You are hiring them. Interview your prospective therapist. Have a list of questions that are important to you and see how they respond. (Is it important to you that your therpist is anti-racist and intersectional? That they are gender literate? That they understand the concept of solo-polyamory or relationship anarchy?)
  • You don’t need to work with someone you don’t like. And you don’t need to have a reason to move on to a new therapist. If the fit is not good, there are others out there.
  • Different therapists have different strengths. Figure out what modalities you might want to try, and what your goals are, and take it from there.
  • You can decide the pace for your therapy, and if you need to go deeper or stay more surface, it’s up to you. It’s your process.
  • Therapy may stir things up for you, but what better time to invest in some deep healing than when you are sheltering in place? For many of us, things are stirred up anyway at the moment. Prior traumas may be activated, or even just the stress and anxiety of dealing with the unknowns of coronavirus may be destabilizing. There’s no reason not to reach out for support.

Love Yourself

Now is the time to love yourself in all the ways you can. Build more trust in your intuition. Do some self inventory, and see if you can’t begin to allow identity factors that don’t serve you to fall away.

Where you can’t allow them to fall away, practice acceptance. We can’t always get to loving ourselves, but we can often at least get to accepting ourselves. Love and nurture your broken parts as well as your strengths. If it works for you, practice simple affirmations, like, “I love this part of me too.”

Give yourself hugs, little self massage sessions, and treats. Move your body, and when you can’t do that practice even more acceptance. Reward yourself for completing what under usual circumstances you would consider a minor victory, like getting out of bed and brushing your teeth.

For many of us these times are not easy, and being alone in isolation is a great challenge. Offer yourself as much grace, love, and acceptance as you can muster, and this may become a time of sweet self-nurturance.

Photo of a hawk flying with title

Parenting in a Pandemic: Strategies and Support for Young Mamas

Logan Levkoff, Ph.D.
If you’re a young mom, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed during this time. But I promise, you are not alone. Here are some strategies, resources, and affirmations to help you get through the challenges that come with parenting during a pandemic.

Before I dive in, I want you to repeat the following three statements:

I am more than enough.
I am doing a great job.
I am allowed to ask for help.

Terrific. I am going to ask you to repeat those statements again later on. Probably more than once.

It’s hard to do it all these days. (Okay, it’s hard to do it all when there’s not a pandemic.)

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during this time, but I promise, you are not alone. There are many people trying to juggle parenting, work, life, love, while not completely losing it. While I’m not sure if we share the same parenting stories, I can promise you that I am trying to juggle these things, too. I’m sure that I am not doing it perfectly, but perfection is overrated and quite frankly, perfection has absolutely nothing to do with parenting, so set those tired expectations aside.

Sometimes we just need to find our people, you know, the ones who we may or may not know IRL but can help us find strength and support during complicated times.

Who are those people to you? Are they family? Friends? A group that you met on the Scarleteen boards? Are they a group of people online who share similar experiences and aren’t judgmental? Those are your people and the likelihood is that they, too, are experiencing the highs and lows of managing it all while staying at home or being an essential worker and taking care of everyone else except yourself. Hopefully, this will reframe some of these challenges for you.

Most people didn’t voluntarily sign up to be a full time homeschool teacher.

If you’re doing virtual school or homeschooling, don’t worry if you can’t do it all. Classroom teachers are trained. No one is expecting you to operate pandemic home schooling as if you had graduate degrees in education. So you forgot to turn in the homework. You forgot your kid’s Zoom session. Big deal. It happens.

Turn screentime into your ally.

If your kids are on screens more than you’d like (mine are!), take a breath. Most people have given up on their stringent screen time rules during Covid-19.

If you’d like to mix it up for them, instead of shows and TikToks, try putting on an art video. For example, Mo Willems (“Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”) does a great lunchtime doodle for kids and families, Sparketh has free classes for 30 days, and The Kitchen Table Classroom has free crafting and art classes. Virtually visit a museum or tour a place you’ve always wanted to go. There are so many places with online “tours,” including the San Diego Zoo, which has live webcams to watch the animals and the Georgia Aquarium.

Time to repeat those three statements again. I’ll wait.

I am more than enough.
I am doing a great job.
I am allowed to ask for help.

Okay, moving on. We often like to work things out ourselves and not bring anyone else into our problems. That’s nice, in theory, but it isn’t helpful. No one can do it (and by it, I mean parenting) totally alone. No one knows how to gracefully navigate these complicated times. It’s not something that comes naturally to us, so sometimes it’s important to call in for reinforcements and reinforce others.

Would you be your own friend?

When I teach, I often ask my students to think about whether they would befriend themselves. What I mean by that is: are we the kind of person that we would want to rely on? This is a time to remember that we can be for others the type of support that we really need. So what do you need? Chances are, you are not the only one.

Make a deal with a friend to do a daily check in. Set a reminder on a phone or even put a Post It somewhere to remind you to call/text/videochat with a friend at the same time everyday. Sending someone a “You’ve got this” note can make a huge impact. (You can have that person call or text you the same affirmation, too.)

Take a break – even if it is only for 5 minutes.

There are lots of free health and wellness apps that give you the ability to take a 5, 10, 15 (you get the picture) “class.” Maybe you need yoga, strength, meditation. Maybe you just need five minutes to dance. Put on your favorite song and dance it out alone (or with your kid). A little break goes a long way. Just as an example: Yoga for Beginners is free, Peloton has a 90 day free trial of hundreds of classes you can do at home (no bike needed), and Calm and Headspace have free meditation.

Conflict resolution stay-at-home style.

Whether we like it or not, conflicts are going to arise. Parenting is tough is the best of scenarios. Trying to do it while under the microscope that is a quarantine or stay-at-home order increases the difficulty tenfold. Coming up with strategies to combat feelings of self doubt or frustration is critical, as are finding language and tools to reply to the people in your life who may (or may not) have the best of intentions and insist on giving you feedback.

While I know that you want to scream at times, keep in mind that it only creates a more volatile and uncomfortable situation for you and your child(ren). Owning your feelings but doing so rationally can be very powerful for you (and ultimately very frustrating for someone else). Now, that shouldn’t be the reason for a rational come-back, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. We need to know how to ask for help and also let someone know when we’ve got this and don’t need the added criticism.

“I am working really hard to do trying to do this. I feel frustrated and overwhelmed. It would be great if you could help me with ____________.”

“I know that you have experience with this and I promise that if I need help, I will ask for it.”

“I am really trying to do this well and it may not be your intention, but sometimes I feel like you don’t trust my judgment.”

And if you really are having trouble communicating with the people you are sheltering in place with, walk away for a few minutes if you need to calm down. Sometimes taking a moment to compose yourself is better than escalating a fight or argument.

You have the right to find resources.

Perhaps the greatest part of a digital world is the ability to connect and gather information from people and organizations all over the world. You are not alone, and plenty of people are looking for tools to assist them. Sometimes, you are not looking for advice, you may be looking to hear someone else’s story. We always have an ability to learn from others. And know, sometimes, you really are looking for help and you are entitled to it.

Okay, one more time. Repeat the lines.

I am more than enough.
I am doing a great job.
I am allowed to ask for help.

It’s easy to be so consumed our feelings of inadequacy that we forget the most important fact. Our children love us for us. They don’t care about all the little things that we worry about. They just want to know that we are there to love them unconditionally. That love is a two way street.