I keep deluding myself into thinking I know the best formula for getting through these difficult times. I meditate twice daily. I make sure I don’t make plans more than once a week, except in special circumstances. I go for daily walks. I work. I try to make easy dinner a few times a week. I like doing all these things. While I’m doing them, I feel perfectly fine. But in other moments I am short-tempered. I am impatient. I long for more assistance. I understand how fortunate I am to have supportive people in my life. But we all need extra scaffolding, and since most of us are depleted, we have less inner resources from which to give.
When I get heated, lash out, or feel deflated, I know I am far from being balanced. I was never athletic, and I could barely do a cartwheel in gym class, but throughout school I felt comfortable on the balance beam. Not skilled, but able to stay upright. Now at a more advanced age, I feel at ease with balance stances on my yoga mat. But feeling steadied after a full day of work and a few minutes facing my to-do lists is not an available option these days. I am off-balance.
For months on end during the pandemic I was keen on regaining whatever balance I had before. That wasn’t working so I tried to find a new balance. Perhaps for some that’s a possibility, but I can only speak for myself, and I was nowhere near anything I could call balanced, beam or no beam. Now I’m not quite embracing the collective destabilizing forces, but I am doing what I can to live in it.
Yes, walking helps. True, carving out alone time makes a difference. Saying no when I don’t have the wherewithal. And saying yes when opening myself up to something out of my routine gives me renewed joy. All simple, but not always easy. I am grateful for laughter and art as balms in this uncertain storm. It allows me to come back to myself. A place in which I can be kind to myself and others, understanding most of us are a bit wobbly as we try to regain our footing.
· Have a private Karaoke. Turn up a song and sing along loudly, releasing your inner artistic spirit.
· Get a small plant while practicing loving discipline. Choose a commitment level by picking out a plant you can easily care for.
· Read a short story. It gives you a sense of accomplishment without a long-term reading commitment.