How do you like that word? A smash up representing the crazy historical weather event, the never ending Covid event and the sense deep inside of that this is the beginning of the end.
Or maybe it’s not so deep inside of you. Maybe it’s right under the surface and you feel like your camel’s back can’t handle one more straw. You’re not alone if that’s the case. Every woman I talk to right now is on the brink of a meltdown. Sure our social media may show our “grin and bear it” side. We may have cute pictures of our kids making snow angels on Instagram but turn the camera on us and you might catch some tears over the kids arguing over the sled yet again.
We are all experiencing this new level of baseline stress together. Our entire country is feeling it. We are all collective frogs in the pot of water that’s become so warm we are starting to really stress and we can’t figure out how to jump out. But there are still bills due and kids to be fed so we slap on a smile and put one foot in front of the other and stay at the work of life. Life seems to be moving on-it has to-but the stress level is not going down. The week of subfreezing temperatures brought it up a notch or two (more if you’re a parent of a little one, have outside animals or livestock, are new to town and don’t have local connections yet, have a strained marriage, are taking care of elderly or sick family members…you get my point).
Because I’m experiencing this right along side of you, I don’t have any expert advice. We all have “normal” things in our lives that make this unprecedented time (aren’t you sick of that phrase?!) especially hard. Mine is becoming a new midwife. My best friend’s is recovering from highly invasive breast cancer, my daughter’s is starting college…but there are some things we’ve found to keep the meltdowns at bay:
Lean into your faith practice. If you don’t have one that supplies refreshment for your soul, talk to one of us at the office and we can point you to a local church.
Give yourself grace. How would you advise a good friend who is struggling? You’d be gentle with her and tell her to take time to breathe. The advice is good for you, too.
Exercise. You need the endorphins and with all of us hanging out at home around food more, your body will thank you.
Nourish yourself with healthy food. Our house was 42 degrees one morning during the rolling blackouts so we headed to my parents. Because they aren’t used to seven more people in the house, I brought ingredients that were easy to transport and cook, i.e. potato soup. When we had power for 15 minutes every few hours, we raced to make instant mac and cheese or ramen noodles (yuck, but you do what you have to do). Somewhere in there, for my sanity more than my health, I ate a grapefruit and today I made NORA tea. Survival mode doesn’t need to become the norm.
Journal. Think about your grandkids’ reaction to your entries on Covid and the once in a lifetime low temperatures in Texas! It will help you process and dump your brain, too.
Read something fun. I’m drawn to heavy books on deep subjects or books related to work. Give your brain a break and read something you can’t put down (unlike a book on thyroid health that’s on my bedside table).
Laugh. Laughter helps brighten your day and bond you to those you’re laughing with. Life is an accumulation of activities-both positive and negative, so don’t wait until things get better to laugh, do it right in the middle of the news of the grid going down. Because if you don’t laugh, you’ll…
Cry. If you need to, let it out. I cried at least twice during the four days of rolling blackouts. It let of some of the pressure building inside. Today which is day two of having heat back, I cried to again, this time to a friend for a minute over something unrelated, but I’m sure it’s just shear exhaustion from the last year’s events.
Sing. I went to a conference called Linger at church the weekend before the bad weather hit and downloaded the playlist they complied. If you’re interested, it’s on Spotify. Meanwhile my kids are singing something about chicken wings, hot dogs and baloney from TikTok. Whatever music makes you happy, get it in your brain and heart.
Get to know your people better. Snuggle and chat with your kids. Find out their favorite things-honestly I’ve given up keeping track of all five girls’ things but I’m going to work on changing that. I suggest the game Hygge off Amazon for older kids, friends and family. It’s not a game as much as discussion questions. Some are serious and some are funny but you’ll enjoy the insights you gain as you chat it up on various topics you’d never think to cover in regular life.
I don’t think this blog post is unique. I think you could write the same thing but with your own life examples and that’s the point. You are not alone but because we’re all carrying on with life the best we can, it may appear you are. While working through this time, lean into your tribe and if you don’t have a tribe, talk to me, I’ll hook you up (my kids say I can use that phrase because you know I’m old and I don’t mean *that* kind of hook up, ya know?).
Seriously, be in touch if you need something. We’re all in this together-for real.
Content generously provided by Wendy Fowler, CPM