Finding Grace in the Unfamiliar
What a shock for all of us! Is there anything of our regular routine that is still in place? Not much. Having each other and our families is about all that remains constant. Most everything else feels disrupted for the moment.
Our efforts in these first ten days have been to keep our routines and all of the pieces in place. We fight the changes with everything in us, while we listen to the warnings, guidelines, suggestions and the ever-changing details of the current situation. We don’t know what to act on and what to weed out. We keep looking for the familiar and it is not available. There are so many moving pieces. We cannot control so much at once. This heightens our anxiety, which short circuits our brain and ability to make effective decisions.
Breathing Helps Lower Anxiety
Remember to breathe. Oxygen to the brain is what will help lower your anxiety and allow you to think more clearly. Stay in the moment – the here and now. Listen for the facts – not the embellishments. Stick with the basic needs – not the wants. Avoid impulsive decisions – take a few minutes to think through the facts. Most of the anxiety we create is a result of the stories we tell ourselves about the past or the future. The “what if’s, "should or would," or the "if onlys." These common words lead us to the section of our brain where the shelves are lined with expectations, criticisms, scare scenarios and fantasies. These are what really “freak us out.”
Many of you are working from home with your spouse’s doing the same. Your children are at home at loose ends. Most of you are overwhelmed and unsure of what “the plan” is or might be. This will not last forever. It is for now. In reality, there isn’t a forever. Think about it: forever is a future laden expectation that cannot exist until time has passed, and then it has passed through the now, and the now has become the past. So, stay focused on the now.
Scale Down Expectations
Last thought for now. Scale down your expectations. Soften your goals. These times call on the many things you have read, studied and discussed about times such as these, relationships, parenting and faith. We are the most educated and well-read population in the history of humankind. In these circumstances, there is the opportunity to use what we know. A time to risk applying new ideas and behaviors in our relationships, we have put in the “someday” category. Sitting quietly and observing. Being curious about what you hear or see. Slow down the critical judgment and problem seeking. Look for what is going well. Look for what you, your spouse, your children are doing well. Allow for laughter and time together that is fresh and creative. Not task driven. How you choose to respond to the situation at hand, will be what you and those around you will remember.
Allow grace, compassion and love be your priority.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Theresa Moore, LCSW, LPC / School Counselor
Ms. Moore entered employment at SAA with the challenge of creating the first counseling department in the history of SAA. That was 23 years ago. Today, the counseling department includes a learning specialist and is a vibrant center for learning and problem solving. In addition to Ms. Moore's positions at SAA, she also is a private practitioner for individuals and families. She has served the San Antonio community for over 35 years with her counseling services, speaking and writing.