| Family Reflections |

Off Balance

We can’t control what happens around us. But we can help ourselves through it



veryone is dealing with a different coronavirus-related situation, depending on where they live. But the common factor everywhere is the sense of being off balance:

“There are backyard camps opening up. I know my kids need to see other children again and relearn their social skills, but is it safe to send them?”

“My husband has been home with me for four months. Now that his business is opening up, he’s going to be leaving every day like he used to. I feel like I just got used to him being in my space, and I was actually enjoying having him here. Now I have to lose him again.”

“In our area, school will open up in September partially for some grades, fully for others, and not at all for others. I can’t picture my day at all. How can I continue to do my work at home when now I’ll have childcare responsibilities and carpools at irregular schedules and be neither here nor there all day?”

It’s hard to make decisions in this off-balance state. There are a lot of unknowns. People aren’t even sure who or what to believe.

“The doctors still recommend social distancing, masks, and frequent handwashing. I want to do it all. But no one in my community is doing any of that. I don’t want to stand out, so I do nothing, just like everyone else. But I worry all the time.”

There’s a lot of stress from the uncertainty; it’s with us constantly. The world hasn’t returned to normal, and our bodies and minds are struggling to keep up.

“Every few days they change things. We’re making a wedding, or at least trying to. A couple of weeks ago, the government said we couldn’t have more than five people attend. We were trying to figure out how on earth to make that work. Then, a week ago, they said we could have 10 people. Then a few days later they said 50 people! But the wedding is in a week, and we don’t know if things will change again. What if they make it 150 people like it is in some cities? Honestly, is this a normal way to live?”


The Consequence of Living Off Balance

The background noise of confusion, uncertainty, constant change, mixed messages, social unrest, and all the other of the off-balance phenomena causes stress and strain to the human nervous system. Stress and strain cause physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion and irritability.

“My kids have not seen the best side of me for a long time. I wonder if they even remember the nice mother they used to have. The endless work, the unstructured days, the mess and chaos — it’s gotten to me. I honestly can’t take it anymore. I’m done.”

Unfortunately, even if we are “done,” the situation continues. And while it’s understandable that many of us are burned out and depleted, our loved ones still need our love. In order to give it, we need to do whatever we can to set ourselves straight. We need to tend to our nervous system, healing it and nurturing it, and strengthening it so it can carry on.

Here’s one simple way to accomplish this. Once or twice each day, we can lie down, close our eyes, and imagine that we’re resting on a sandy beach or floating on a water raft under a gentle sun. For just a few minutes, we can picture large waves washing over us, scooping up our stress and carrying it off into the ocean where it will be cleansed, the waves returning to scoop up our stress and carry it off into the ocean, and returning again, and yet again, to scoop up our stress and wash it all away.

We can’t control what is happening around us. But we can help ourselves through it. When we do that, we not only heal our own battered psyches, but we also help heal those of our family members. Surprisingly, large results can be obtained from very small efforts. The trick is to make those very small efforts.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 701)

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