It happens in every family at some point. Something comes along, rocks your world, and leaves you trying to keep your child's world as normal as possible. But how can you do that when you are barely hanging on yourself? What tools and skills can you develop now so that you are prepared to stay level and stable during trying times? Read and be encouraged.
Families are vulnerable. People and circumstances you have relied on fail from one moment to the next. You experience a betrayal within your family or friend circle. Your only car needs hundreds of dollars in repair. Finances keep you awake at night. Your child's teacher calls. (why don't they ever call with good news?) Your supervisor is suddenly finding fault with your work after four years of good service. People you've been kind to return your kindness with scorn and abuse. What is this all about? Is there no joy left to be found? Why is this happening? How will we ever get through this?
Or maybe it is worse. Your husband betrays you to such a breathtaking extent that you are dizzy with the news. Your precious child receives a devastating medical diagnosis. These things have happened in families that I know well. Those of us in vocational ministry are called on to sit with these shattered souls in the worst moments of their lives. We have seen these terrible moments. We have experienced the betrayal of people we've poured love into. There are events that leave you feeling so lost and heartbroken that you can't wrap your mind around them. I know. I've been there. You will be whole again.
Remember that adult problems cannot be solved by children and it is cruel beyond belief to tell them the details of a crisis that they can not fix. In addition to frightening them and making them feel helpless, they will (take this to the bank) find a way to blame themselves for the problem. Keep the crisis to yourself. Keep their world as normal as possible.
What can you do in the moments of peace and calm to be ready when the next crisis arrives? How can you develop the strength to stand with strength and confidence during times of challenge? There are so many things!
You can develop all the habits that strong women have. When the world is spinning out of control I guarantee that if you have embraced these habits you will get through the storm with your heart and home intact. Here are my top suggestions to get you started.
The real advantage to these strategies is that when you practice them your children's lives will be steady. These habits will do more to help you help your children to be balanced and secure during a family crisis.
1. Eat to build strength. Choose healthy, light foods. Resist the powerful urge to over eat or to binge on junk. Twinkies will not strengthen your body or your mind. Maintain for yourself and your children a diet high in protein, vegetables, fruits, with moderate amounts of treats. Your beverage should be mostly water. This keeps our bodies ready for a crisis.
2. Be moderate with alcohol. More water, less wine. Alcohol contributes to making poor decisions and saying things you regret. Keep your head about you. You never know when something will happen that will require you to be clear headed.
3. Create order in your environment. When you are tempted to stay curled up on the couch for more than an hour, get up and clean the house. Throw out useless or excess stuff. Scrub the tub or shower. A clean, tidy living space is more comfortable and far less stressful to live in. This also provides a strong sense of control. Trust me on this. It works. If something goes badly wrong, you at least have order in your house. This helps.
4.Maintain relationships that are positive. Lose the rest. Do you have "friends" that are negative, critical, bossy, or tactless? Trade them in on some real friends. Find friends who speak words of encouragement and hope and lift you up. Find a group that will cheer you on. Find a positive crowd. Here is a link to a printable that is on my freebie page. Compare each of your relationships to the character traits on "The Love Checklist". Then check in with yourself. Do these traits reflect your character? Cultivate positive friendships. https://www.joyfulharborhome.com/_files/ugd/d6a184_2ca296bafd37442f985b16f10b398641.pdf
5. Keep a reasonable schedule. Ensure that your schedule has some margin in it. If you are booked to your maximum capacity you will panic when you have to turn your attention to an urgent crisis. Being overscheduled makes everything more stressful. In addition, make sure you are getting enough rest and at consistent times. Set a bedtime and a wakeup time. Set meal times. Set times for work and times for play. Your body and mind thrive on good quality routines and comforting rituals like evening meals around your table.
6. Watch your social media sites. Unfriend absolutely everyone that is negative or drama prone. People love to engage in social media drama when it has no bearing on their own lives. Find that unfriend button and go to town with it. Seriously. This is your social media account. Use it for your own benefit. Social media is a wonderful tool when used positively. Dump the negative, the back biting, the passive aggressive, the snarky, the mean spirited, and everyone else that does not make you smile. Keep your own photos and comments squeaky clean and filled with encouragement and positivity.
7. Most importantly, Gain control over your thoughts. This is the beginning of all strength and emotional readiness. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8 Your thoughts will either inspire you to keep going or drive you to despair. Become the master of your thoughts. What you think about is often manifested in your life. Keep it lovely.
I want to emphasize here that I am not speaking out of ignorance or a Suzy Sunshine place of rainbows and confetti. I have had some very dark times and these steps were truly the acts of control that I had in place to keep a strong footing on the path to happier days.
You can not control your ex spouse, your boss, your ex spouses new spouse, your parents, your siblings or anyone else. But you can control your own actions and thoughts. Choose healthy ones. Be your own best friend and hero. Prepare yourself by using good judgement, making major decisions only after seeking wise counsel from trusted village elders, and being level headed. Be ready to stand firm at a moments notice.