Balance is my happy place. While I do enjoy some spontaneity from time to time, I also thrive on routine and being in control of my days. My empty calendar makes me anxious, and not knowing what to expect from day to day leaves me desperately off-kilter. Finding emotional balance in times of crisis has become critical to my survival, and I’m learning to walk that tightrope with my head up. As the saying goes, “the greater your storm, the brighter your rainbow”, and I am looking forward to the other side of this calamity.
Focus on the “right now.”…
When I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring, I try to set my sights on the now. My focus is on the moment right in front of me. I can control it. It’s in my hands. Whatever I can do it that moment, I try to make it so.
…But keep moving forward.
When that moment has passed, I find myself in the next. And so it goes, linking together this chain of moments to keep myself progressing. When I am seeking my emotional balance, it’s ok to go minute to minute, but overall, the best direction is forward. That’s the way I try to push myself every day.
Have yourself an ugly cry…
I’m serious. There is nothing wrong with crying and sometimes, in a world of uncertainty and unknowns, it’s exactly the answer. Don’t be afraid or ashamed of displays of emotion. There are days when it’s just hard to see the silver linings and there’s no indignity in that. It’s not being weak or vulnerable to need to get it out, and some days, I really just let myself boo-hoo til I’m spent.
…But don’t get lost in wallowing.
Our mental and emotional health is being tested in every way right now. There’s just no getting away from it and it’s very easy to lose yourself in sadness, grief, and hopelessness. Cleansing cries come to an end, and then I have to adjust my messy bun and get on with it. My family relies on me as part of their team and when I’m off my game, it doesn’t work.
Worry about the things you can control…
As much as I hate it, I am in control of so few things right now. I’m in charge of getting up in the morning and hugging my family. I’ve got a handle on helping my son with his school work and virtual lessons. It’s up to me to show him outpourings of love to help him feel safe and secure.
… But don’t overshoot your expectations.
Balance depends on certain of gravity, and the lower that center is, the more steady my footing. Right now, I’m not worried about color-coded agendas or Pinterest-worthy feasts. Just because I’m at home (and typically an over-achiever) doesn’t mean I need to learn a language, teach myself how to play an instrument, or make the grandest of efforts. I’m focused on getting through each day, and if it means Pop-Tarts or cereal instead of three-course meals, then so be it. That’s emotional balance.
Indulge your rage…
Yup. I do it. I scream in the garage and punch all the pillows. Sure, I even yell curses into my closet at the top of my lungs. Anger is so justified right now. There’s no getting away from it: work, distance (or crisis) learning, stress over keeping my family healthy, or worrying about the sustainability of my husband’s business. It’s too much for one person to bear, and yet, here we all are, forced to bear it. Part of finding that emotional balance is knowing when you’ve had enough.
…But take care of yourself.
And when I’m done hulking out, I have to remember to take care of myself. I can’t help anyone if my own oxygen mask isn’t in place. I go outside in the fresh air for walks and bike rides. When I can, I try to do some yoga. I read to keep my mind sharp. Eating and hydrating is fuel to keep me going. I try to go to bed at a reasonable hour and actually sleep. Sometimes, I even remember to breathe.
Information is important, and it’s always good to stay on top of it. This community, country, and the world are all in the balance right now, and it’s essential to stay educated and up to date on the latest changes to what’s going on around us.
…But don’t get crushed by information (and mis-information).
I admit to waking up at two or three every morning and hopping on Twitter. It starts innocently, checking in with news sources, and then quickly spirals into conspiracy theories and ugliness. While it’s good to have a handle on all sides of a situation, it can be hard to shut out the destructive noise. Set those boundaries and know when to say “when.”
Our struggles might not be the same, and we might not all be in the same proverbial boat, but we are in this together. How are you finding your emotional balance as we navigate this crisis?