When is the last time you truly rested like my Hannah Beth is in the above picture? I mean truly deep down in your soul rested and relaxed. I don’t think I am the only one who is having a hard time resting these days. It feels like the world has gone a bit crazy. I am not a medical professional, nor do I play one on TV. I am simply a single mom trying to make sense of the chaos that is unfolding daily in the world around me and, if I am honest, I am confused and bewildered at what I am watching. The no-nonsense, commonsense child of the ’70s in me say,s “Take some extra precautions, wash your hands more often. If you are sick or your child is sic,k stay home. Be cautious, but not fearful. Keep a watchful eye on things, but carry on with life.” But then I pick up a newspaper, see something in passing on TV, scroll through my social media feed, or try to buy toilet paper at Walmart, and that tight feeling starts in my chest, and uneasiness hits me in the pit of my stomach, and before I know it, I have spiraled straight into fear, uncertainty, zombie apocalypse end-time scenarios, and want nothing more than to have everybody I love at home with me, lock the doors, pull the shades down, and binge on Netflix and Disney+ after buying all the toilet paper, Diet Cokes, and Pancho’s Cheese Dip within a 25-mile radius. And as much as I hate to admit it, the latter has described me more than the former lately.
Rest seems like a distant dream, something that just isn’t possible in today’s world—worrying about a sickness that we don’t understand attacking our children while we are helpless to do anything. Watching our retirement and savings disappear over the fear of something we can not comprehend. Trying to calm a child in the middle of the night after they have come into your room after having a nightmare about getting sick, or even worse, having their momma get sick with something they are watching all the adults in their life panic about. And trying to console the older child as sport’s tournaments they have worked so hard to earn a place in are canceled, and graduations and even weddings hang in the balance. And none of this is conducive to rest, is it?
All the while, watching my nation, the nation that I have pledged allegiance to, cheered for, defended and been proud of for all of my 52 years become more and more politically divided in a time when we desperately need to come together, to work together, and to love and encourage each other more than ever. It’s pretty easy to begin to feel hopeless, fearful, and maybe even angry and bitter. Since long term hibernation is not feasible, we need a game plan to overcome all those negative emotions. To find our balance once again in a very unbalanced time. To take control of what we can change, to release what we can not, and to do these things moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, giving ourselves and those around us the grace and compassion to regain our equilibrium and move forward in these very uncertain times. And since you have read this far, can I offer a few suggestions (in list form of course!) to help in the process?
- Unplug– I am not suggesting we completely turn a deaf ear to the situation, but the amount of media that we are consuming is just not healthy. Find balance in this area, and remember the younger members of your family need to get their news from the adults in their lives that they trust, not the news media.
- Get Outside-Take some walks with those you love, breathe in the fresh air and sunshine, it can’t hurt. Maybe playgrounds aren’t the best idea right now, but climbing trees in your own backyard can provide a good diversion.
- Enjoy Home-It may not be the beach or an amusement park, but you can find ways to make staycations fun as well. Learn a new card game and have a tournament….winner gets to pick the next dinner and movie night!! Or have a good old fashioned board game tournament for the same prize. Maybe it’s time to do that home project while you have more hands-on-deck….or help your child re-arrange their room and let them pick the way they move the furniture around.
- Have a Movie/TV Marathon-Find a TV show that you loved as a kid and introduce your kids to it. Or have a movie marathon…back to back Toy Story or Back to the Future complete with popcorn and M&Ms.
- Take Time To Teach a New Skill-Maybe you can do handi-work, play an instrument, make a new shelf or bookcase, cook a fancy meal, or, if they are old enough, teach them to drive!
- Organize Your Photos-Take time to walk down memory lane with your child. Tell them the stories from their childhood, stories about relatives they never got to meet. Help them understand what an important place they have in that history. They are probably feeling a little uncertain about things, and having concrete moments of certainty in their past will go a long way to help them navigate an uncertain future.
These are just a few to get you started. Providing a place of calm in the middle of a stormy time is an invaluable gift you can give your family and loved ones. Keeping a positive spirit is one of those things we can take control of and change. And taking time to check on family and friends is a way we can show grace and compassion during this time. If each one of us does our part to help alleviate fear and bring a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day, maybe, just maybe we will find that rest our heart and soul so desperately crave.