Finding Grace in the Chaos
By Elizabeth Kahn, LAC
You think about your day when you first wake up.
Laundry. Groceries (ugh, I forgot to wash my mask). The email reminder staring at you about the report that was due 2 days ago that you haven’t started. Your partner isn’t getting out of bed when they said they would, and you just remembered you forgot to feed the dog the night before. Thank goodness you fed the kiddo.
You haven’t even gotten out of bed yet. You can feel the tightness in your chest, and it’s hard to put your feet on the floor.
I had this moment this morning and the day before. How do we find grace for ourselves while trying to hold it all together? How do we breathe when the to-do list keeps getting longer, and there feels like there is no end in sight to this quarantine.
Well, the first thing I did was take off the repeats on my to-do list app. I found it to be quite terrifying to have 15 “clean-the-toilet” reminders.
Friends, we have to take a minute to reset our expectations of ourselves and of others. This is an unprecedented time, and our brains are in constant fight or flight mode. This means that our body knows that this is not normal, so our reptile brain kicks in to desperately find something that makes sense. Our normal just can’t look like it did before, and the more we fight to make it look like it was, the more impossible it feels.
No matter your situation or family circumstance, this is hard stuff. Whether you care for a child (or three) or care for an elderly loved one, single or in a relationship, we are all impacted by this utterly unexpected change.
I have read many lists from Pinterest, read some scholarly articles (that I somewhat understood), and talked to many folks on what has been working for them. Here’s what I can come up with for you and me.
- Step away from social media and the news. Whether you are a morning or night-person or neither like me, I implore you to give yourself a break from the relentless reminders and intensities. This will also help with the Instagram comparison fatigue (this is not clinical, but it should be). Instagram is not real life.
- Focus on quality, over quantity. We find some days we just can’t give everything we did before. This is ok. This is when we say, “I have this much in my cup to give today.” Then, we give it.
- Your typical to-do list? Cut it in half. Right now, we are scarce on resources. You may not be using childcare or don’t have access to it. You may not have had that option and are working double shifts to serve the community. You may be feeling extremely isolated because you’re afraid to go out. We are not existing at full capacity right now. Whatever your circumstances, we can’t do it all (we couldn’t before, but that’s a different blog post).
- This was hard for me because I needed the ideal Instagram set-up with the burning white candles and the perfect Buddhist monk soundtrack. I forgot the actual purpose of meditation is to quiet your mind. Take a moment, sit on your bathroom floor (only if you’re on the fifth cleaning reminder), and let your mind breathe. We are flooded with to-dos and responsibilities, all the time. Reconnect with your own self-energy, even if it’s for 20 seconds.
- Remember what brings you comfort and give yourself more of that.
- While finding compassion and grace for yourself, give that energy back to others. Yes, your partner didn’t get up, and the cat is screaming to be fed, but they also stayed up super late the night before to get work done so they could watch the baby in the afternoon.
We can find balance by taking some of that intense pressure we put on ourselves and place it where it belongs. Sucked up in the vacuum with the dried peas on the rug, leftover from dinner the night before.
If that burden that I’m speaking of just seems to linger or the above strategies seem impossible to even try, we are here. We at CFCE are here to help ease that stress and remind you that you are enough. Sometimes, it all feels like too much. That’s when reaching out to us may be the most important thing “to-do”.