Lightening up during these dark times… Little ways to pursue joy

How many of these feelings are you storing up?

Exhaustion.

Stress.

Overwhelm.

Lack of focus.

Burnout.

Grief.

Restless.

I hope you don’t have a cart full or a trunk full, but chances are, if you are like many Americans some of these have lurked in or are a part of your day. As parents, we often want to show up and be strong for our families. We put on a smile when we may actually want to cry, or we pretend that everything is okay when in reality the uncertainty is scaring us, too. Some of us throw ourselves into our work to ‘bury our heads in the sand’ and avoid our surroundings. Some of us unknowingly take things out on other people around us. The feelings don’t usually just evaporate for us or for our children.

So what do we do? Well, there are a number of things that we can do.

Check-in

Everyone copes in a different way, but acknowledging that we are having a tough time is half the battle. Allowing this space for yourself will help you to allow this space for others in your family. Check in and express yourself with friends you trust or even in supportive online groups. Help your children check in, too. Share your feelings with them so they understand that they are not alone. Ask them how they are really feeling and help them name the feelings.

Take a break

If you are able to take time for yourself, even for a fifteen-minute meditation or tea break, try it! Break up the monotony of the day. Having a structure and a schedule is helpful but sometimes you have to add some spontaneity to keep things interesting. Give yourself and your family something to look forward to.

Find the joy

Some of us are already back into activities and safely moving forward with life. Others of us talk about and dream of the day, “when we return to normal” or “when outside opens back up” but the truth is that there is no hard date and we are still dealing with some level of uncertainty. You can cope with this by finding the joy in the present. Many experts share the benefits of expressing gratitude every day. This practice trains you to look for the positive instead of emphasizing the negative.

Although optimism can be difficult these days, I do pray you will hold on for better days. Some positive news is on the horizon, it feels like we can breathe a little bit again. Things are opening back up. We are on the path to numbers decreasing and safer methods of operating. I certainly am not an expert but I do hope to be a resource. As you continue to press on through these times, I hope you can find the methods that work best for you. Remember, you are not alone in this!

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