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  • How To Keep Your Family Sane During An Insane Year

    One of the few conclusions on which people agree is that 2020 has been a very challenging year. We are living in a pandemic, a highly contentious political climate, in the ugliness of racism and are still experiencing the usual hardships that accompany life. Lots going on! Lots of turmoil!

    There are a lot of question marks, and when that occurs, there is a lot of doubt, stress and tension. Will My family get ill? Will the economy recover soon? Will I have a job? Will my benefits run out before I can get back to work? What kind of school year will my children have? When will COVID end? How long will I need to wear a mask? Why do some wear masks in public and some do not?

    You can’t control nature. You can’t control other people’s behavior. So what can you do to navigate these crazy times? Here are three tips.

    Tip #1: Control what you can control.

    You cannot control other people’s beliefs and behaviors. To try to do so can easily lead to anger and disillusionment. People are going to do what they are going to do regardless of your passion and logic.

    There are social media battles between Trumpers and Anti-Trumpers, maskers and anti-maskers, proponents of in person education and those who promote virtual education.

    It is best for our own emotional health if we accept that different people have different perspectives and therefore convictions. Social media battles put people into camps of right and wrong and good and bad. That leads to putting people in boxes and it is never that simple. Some media outlets also add to the problem by dividing people into camps.

    A road to peace is seeing people as people, not as bad or stupid for having a particular belief. What you may term as a bad belief doesn’t mean it is a bad person who holds that belief.

    Tip #2: Don’t worry about what you can’t control.

    I don’t want to over simplify legitimate fears. We all have them. I have them. Worry doesn’t better our circumstances. It doesn’t lesson our fears. It increases them.

    It starts with admitting that worry isn’t constructive. Some people have magical thinking that if they worry enough their fears won’t come to fruition. All worry does is make us miserable. It doesn’t give us any control over the situation—only the illusion of control.

    Replace worry with gratitude. Gratitude reminds us of our strengths to handle what could happen if we lost a job, got ill, etc. It also reminds us of what we have. It improves our physical and emotional health. It is more difficult to feel anxious or
    depressed when we are feeling grateful. We are happier and more resilient.

    Self care isn’t just getting physical rest. It is giving ourselves emotional rest. Try worrying less and being more grateful.

    Tip #3: Take positive steps to help your family.

    Set goals for yourself and your family. Just do something. One of my friends plans to learn a language and another wants to be able to run 3 miles.

    Do puzzles, play cards and board games. Listen to an audio book together. Take walks. Ride bicycles. Write portions of the book you have always said you wanted to write. Even achieving small goals will send positive messages to your brain.

    COVID 19 doesn’t have to be something that forces you to put life on hold and just get through it. You don’t have to lose a year of your life. Just do something

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