You’ve Got the Power!
You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond.
Hello, Practice community!
This has been a long, difficult year. If you are finding yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, or down, you are not alone. Let’s face it– those feelings likely are driven at least in part (and maybe in LARGE part!) by external factors– the demands of parenting during the pandemic, the stresses of juggling kids and work and life, of being trapped with our nearest and dearest for months on end, the anxiety about our own health and well-being and that of the people around us.
Obviously, we can decrease our stress if we can change the contributing external factors– shift the way in which the situation is set up or reduce the demands and challenges posed by our day to day life.
There is usually some degree to which these external stressors or factors do fall within our control– in the context of the pandemic, we potentially could have had conversations with our employers to navigate a reduced workload, we (maybe) could search for childcare options offering more coverage, we could (and many parents did!) opt out of the workforce altogether. But these sorts of self-driven changes in response to challenging external structure generally come at a cost (for example, our jobs!)– and focusing our efforts entirely on external change, while important, misses the fact that many external factors generally are systemic and/or otherwise outside of our direct control (hello, pandemic).
Where we DO have more control is around the internal factors contributing to stress– the ways in which we respond or react to external situations that are challenging or triggering to us. Let me be clear– trying to exert some control here absolutely does not mean that we have the power to make it all OK– terrible, horrible, stressful things are terrible, horrible, and stressful, no matter how many breathing exercises we do or to what degree we try to shift our thinking and look for silver linings.
Indeed, implying you can fix systemic problems through positive thinking and breath work is infuriating and invalidating, after the year that we’ve all had. There is so much here that is out of our control, many pieces of this picture that deep breathing is just not going to fix. This is all true.
AND simultaneously, it is also true that even in the midst of the most terrible, horrible, stressful, impossible external circumstances, you have opportunities to turn toward feeling better– even if that movement is possible only in the tiniest of fractional, incremental ways. And ANY movement is better than no movement at all.
This week, see if you can find space to pause for a moment, feel your feet on the floor, take one breath when you know you are breathing– not because this will FIX what’s happening, but because maybe it will offer just a tiny bit more space. Ask yourself, what do I need? Is there any way to turn TOWARD what I need, even if I’m not going to get there all the way?
I’ll close with a reminder that this topic is exactly what we’re covering in Mighty Kids tomorrow morning (Tuesday, June 29, 10-11am Pacific)– how to check in with yourself to notice how you’re feeling, how to leverage the power that we do have to shift and change how we feel. If you have a student in your family who recently completed kindergarten to sixth grade, sign them up to join us here ($35, or a lower per class rate if you register your student for more than one class!).
Sending warm wishes, from my crazy household to yours.
Pssst, don’t forget– also along these lines, we’re running Mighty Moms again in September!