Coping During a Crisis

Coping During a Crisis

Coping During a Crisis

Coping during a crisis takes thought and intention, which might be in short supply when a crisis hits. Ten years ago, we had one of those years. You know the type; the tough, painful type. Maybe you can relate. One Thursday morning, as we were all getting ready to leave for work and co-op, we discovered that our house was on fire to the point of being totaled by the insurance company, although it did not burn down. A day later, our college-aged daughter, several states away, landed in the ER. Four days later, my 47-year-old sister died. My husband contracted bronchitis and then pneumonia, and then back again. We threw away around 90% of our possessions, but we had to inventory it all first for insurance purposes, an exhausting and laborious process. We went from an extended hotel stay to a rental to an unfinished house during the worst flooding in our area in a century and had to walk through 4″ of freezing cold water to our only working shower for the first month after we moved back into our house. My Dad died a few months later.

Yeah. It was one of those years. It was stressful. We learned a lot. Including, set up and clean up are at least half of every project, it’s o.k. to rest and take breaks as needed, huge jobs don’t get done in one sitting, laughing and crying are good for the soul and sleep is cheap medicine. We had to let go of things we treasured. We had to embrace the new – even when it felt scary and uncertain.

Maybe you are needing some help coping during a crisis, even when we aren’t exactly sure what the emergency is or when it will hit.

Here’s a shortlist of helps as we all get through one of “those years.”

  1. Stick with your routine: When in crisis, do the familiar habits, as much as possible. This will lend a sense of normalcy and familiarity in otherwise unusual circumstances. This is especially important for younger children who rely on the familiar to tell them that the world is safe and all is well. My kids listened to the Story of the World CD’s for hours after our fire- to the point my son memorized portions of it. Jim Weiss’s voice was familiar and kind in a year of loss and upheaval.
  2. Create a new routine: when and if the old one is disrupted, create a morning time with Mom, Dad, and whoever else is home where you share a cup of coffee and cocoa, and chat. Create rhythms to your new normal- read for an hour after breakfast, walk the dog after you read, make lunch, do laundry, etc. When we were living in the hotel, after the fire, we spent hours, literally hours, at the hotel pool doing what I called “Pool school.” It was fun, easy, and relaxing.
  3. Rest & laugh: stress is exhausting. Give yourself permission to take a nap or take a break. Do something relaxing, like watching a movie, going on a walk, taking a warm shower. Something to get your mind off of the current situation and settled. Lower your cortisol levels and breath deeply. Did you know that 15 minutes of laughing is equivalent to a 2-hour nap, releases endorphins into your system, lowers your cortisol levels and gives everyone around you permission to relax? Not sure what to laugh at? Dick VanDyke’s re-runs are a great place to start.
  1. Realize that you really don’t have that much control over things in life anyway: your paygrade, no matter what your position, is not that high. So, take a breath and realize that God is in control, and He is a good God who loves His people well. You don’t have that much power, but you can know the One who does. And that is great comfort and great joy, regardless of whatever upheaval or frightening circumstances we find ourselves in.
  2. Be thankful: no matter what the stress, there is so much to be grateful for. The sun comes up every morning. Spring is coming. We live in a time with hand-soap, modern medicine, and paved roads.

And for those of us homeschooling, life continues, in many ways, as usual. My Orienteering class and I had a great live on-line meeting today, with students from coast to coast participating in an excellent discussion and break-out rooms.

What were we talking about? The Life Skill of Self-Care.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the term- I prefer the term “stewardship” because it recognizes that some things are beyond our control, but we can steward well regardless. The kids went around our Zoom room and shared what was happening in their part of the world, which ranged from school shutdowns to advised homestays.

We then broke into break-out rooms, and they came up with lists of ways to cope during a crisis, utilizing four categories: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional. Here’s what they came up with:

Ways to Cope During a Crisis

  • Spiritual – Stay in the word, pray, listen to worship music, and go to on-line church. Keep talking to God; keep connecting with Christ. Work on creating fellowship with others, even during a time of quarantine.
  • Social – Call and text people, set times for FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Zoom meetings. Write letters. Check-in with friends daily, if even with a simple text message, and make chat and coffee dates on-line!
  • Emotional – Do something that makes you happy; eat cake, take showers, limit your news intake! Stay informed, but keep good boundaries to avoid depression and catastrophizing the situation. Read something inspirational. Celebrate the everyday.
  • Physical – Get outside, walk the dog, and teach her a new trick or two, work-out. Don’t neglect yourself; practice regular hygiene (which can be disrupted due to change of schedules or depression). Hot showers are a great way to relax and unwind.

And while class was in session, one student put on a crazy St. Patty’s Day Hat (Celebrate, y’all!) and they all made plans to meet up outside of class via google hang-outs! Which is precisely what we’re talking about!

coping in a crisis family emergency COVID 19

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Need support as you cope during a crisis, or even when you’re not? We love to come alongside fellow homeschoolers, those who planned to homeschool, and those homeschooling as an emergency measure! Check out our FaceBook page and groups for fellowship and occasional freebies for moms and kids- a great place for a little self-care.

Self Care For Moms OR How to get everything done.

Self Care For Moms OR How to get everything done.

Self Care for Mom

You can’t. It’s impossible.

The end.

Self Care for Moms

Self Care for Moms or: How to Get Everything Done!

You’re still here?

Listen, no one gets everything done. We have finite time and a larger, seemingly infinite amount of work to be done (it, too is actually finite, but repetitive and redundant). Whether we work outside the home or inside the home (or some of both), whether we homeschool or outsource (or some of both), whatever we do there is always more to do than the time in which to do it.

So, we must prioritize … or … muddle. Or, ahem, some of both.

There is a level of “self care” moms need, sure. But mostly what we need? It’s the same basic things we’re providing for our children: food, shelter, clothing, cleanliness, healthcare, living ideas, and time with the Lord. Maybe even exercise.

Everything else is gravy.

Let me say that again: Everything else is gravy.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I do like some gravy.

I like to paint my nails from time to time – but I’ve rarely had a manicure and not since I’ve had kids. I think the manicure straw-man is just that. No one is really arguing for manicures as a mainstay of self care. However, most people have some desire to care for their appearance; it matters to them (and their family) to dress appropriately, have coiffed hair, and not look dowdy. But, it doesn’t have to be an all-encompassing pursuit, either. Simplify, my friends.

A Snack, A Shower, A Sleep

Susan Wise Bauer used to say of children who are struggling with self control they may need a snack, a shower, or sleep (in that order). I thought it was interesting that a shower was in there. Now, when you have all littles, a time to shower can be a challenge. But, a shower can often improve a mood by helping us to relax just that little bit. Can a quick shower be a bit of self care in the midst of a fraught day? How about you clean the stall while you’re in there?

I like good food, good drink, and good books. Sometimes we order pizza and watch Netflix at the end of the day.

I like to go to the bathroom by myself on most occasions. I’ve yet to figure out a solution to this. I do know that if I want to find my kids – ages 11-13, I can go to the bathroom. So there’s that.

Expectations

Time with the Lord is important and my continued learning about His world is too, but sometimes I can double up and listen to the Bible as a podcast, other podcasts, or a book on CD while I walk the dog or vacuum the house.

Sometimes choosing ‘getting it done’ is the better part. Multi-tasking when multiple tasks can actually be accomplished together is the better part; but multi-tasking when tasks don’t go together is disastrous. The trick is figuring out what pairs well.

Another part of self-care is prioritizing our health. That means dentists, doctors, and other health care providers. Don’t shirk off seeing those people. Which reminds me … I really should make a doctor appointment or two – for the next school break.

As moms we can really get by on very little and sometimes we have to put things we want to the side and rest in the things we need.

Sometimes.

Sometimes self care looks like training a young child how we want the dusting to be done. Or an older child how to load the dishwasher (or wash the dishes). By taking jobs off our plates, we exercise self care. You cannot feel guilty about this. These are things that must be done and things which our children must learn to do. It will seem hard in the midst; it will seem like it’s not worth it; it will seem like it would be better to just do it yourself. It isn’t. Keep training.

Sometimes self care means you need to talk to your husband about what you need to do the job you’ve taken on. I need a stretch of time each week to pre-read and plan. This is the life our family has chosen, and so we need to work as a team to accomplish that. I don’t need to do my pre-reading and planning at Starbucks (if you can, that’s great!).

Sometimes self care means quiet time in the afternoon for everyone and Mommy takes a nap because the day has been too people-y and she needs to introvert. But sometimes it looks like, dinner’s on the table, honey, I need to hide for a bit. Or I’m meeting a friend for a glass of wine.

Sometimes self care means you let things you would like to do go because the need elsewhere is greater. Jesus told us that “He who would be first must be last.” Now, I’m not talking about being a martyr to your desires. “I gave this up so you could do that.” That’s not pretty for anybody. But there are things to prioritize when you’re a grown-up and there are things to give up because you’re the grown-up.

Sometimes self care means you recognize that you’ve prioritized the wrong thing and you must repent. Sometimes you have to fix mistakes, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do the next thing anyway. Self care means when you’ve repented, you don’t recriminate.

Self care isn’t about spa days or extras. It’s about being reasonable and knowing your limits and doing the best you can within those limits – whether they’re time or money or emotional energy. They’re setting your expectations at a level that can be achieved. They’re about finding contentment and joy in the everyday and not expecting the world to fall at your feet.

How do I get everything done? I shrink my expectations of “everything” to what can actually be done and am content with that.

Dawn Garret Scaffolding and Homeschool

Dawn Garrett lives in Central Ohio with her husband Jason and their three always-homeschooled children, ages 13, 12, and 11. In her homeschool, she and her children learn about God and His cosmos by studying the seven liberal arts in order to know Him better, imitate Him and His ways, and share about Him with others. She follows the AmblesideOnline curriculum. Her home blog – about books school and life – has been at ladydusk for more than 15 years.

She is the author of the free ebook: I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will: Charlotte Mason’s Motto Explained for Upper Elementary Students.