Parent Tip of the Week: Rest
I had an anxiety attack last week.
A heartpoundingheadhurtingchestaching anxiety attack.
Here’s what happened.
Things had gone very well with my Naomi the previous week. It had been our official Spring Break from school, so we had gotten to set a routine and spend a lot of time together. We enjoyed our leisurely pace of life. There were lots of snuggles, hours of play time outside, and super fun activities.
My husband and I had engaged in ‘tag team’ parenting. She and I had done our thing in the morning/early afternoon, and then Ben took over in the late afternoon and evening, which enabled me to do what I needed and wanted to do without interruption. It had worked beautifully!
During this time, I had done my best to prepare Naomi for the following week. The week that I had to start back to being on my computer and phone in the morning, as school would be back in session, and I was required to be available to my students at certain times. We discussed that there would be days where Daddy wouldn’t be able to get up early to help with her work because of his blood-sugar issues, (he is type 1 diabetic, and despite his best efforts, the stress of our current situation has reeked havoc on his blood sugars), so she would have to work independently sometimes.
I knew the day that I started back to work in the morning would bring some special challenges, but I wasn’t fully prepared for just how challenging it would be.
Monday rolled around, and it was game time. I set up my work area downstairs, thinking that I could work while Naomi independently completed her assignments. That was my first mistake. Suddenly, this girl who works by herself at her own table in her first-grade classroom acted like she couldn’t do anything without sitting on Mama’s lap and asking fifty million questions. The constant interruptions were getting to me a bit, but I was handling it. Then I was inundated with e-mails from work about the changing expectations for us teachers during this time and messages from students who needed help with their assignments. Additionally, I had a conference call with my team and multiple phone calls that I had to make to parents. I firmly told Naomi that she had to work without Mama for a bit. That did not go over very well. There was the whining and complaining. That was followed by anger.
It was too much for me to handle.
I ended up giving Naomi her i-Pad and telling her to watch some shows so that I could work. But it was too late. My anxiety level was so high that I could barely concentrate.
I knew I needed rest.
Once Ben was up and able to take over with Naomi, I went upstairs to my bedroom.
And I rested.
I laid on my back, closed my eyes, and stayed that way for 2-3 hours. I reminded myself that it was ok if I didn’t accomplish anything else that day.
I just laid there. Silently.
Matthew 11:28-30 states, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.“ And in Isaiah 40: 29-31 it says, He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
Friends, in this season that we are currently in, it is so important that we take time to rest.
Our brains are constantly working.
We are trying to help our children with their e-learning assignments.
We are trying to figure out how we will make ends meet financially.
We are thinking about the best ways to keep our families safe.
We are working through the mental health needs of our families.
We are missing our friends.
We are feeling concerned about our loved ones.
We are feeling frustrated with our children (and maybe our spouses too…).
So what to do? Here are some practical ways in which we can rest.
•Take care of your body.
--Get plenty of sleep. Eat well. Exercise regularly. (Check out YouTube and Pinterest for wonderful exercise ideas that you can do within and around your own home.
•Disconnect from social media and the news.
---Constantly hearing about terrible things makes us feel terrible. Turn it off. Unplug for while. This will give you a chance to clear your mind.
•Get involved in a hobby.
---What are some activities you always wanted to try? Now is the time to get started! There are an abundance of resources at your fingertips. Make time for your hobby each day.
•Don’t overwhelm your schedule
---Some of us are in a very difficult situation. We are trying to balance quality time with our children while helping them with their work and completing our jobs. Try focusing on just one thing at a time. Perhaps we can engage with our children for an hour and then work on our assignments for an hour. Trying to do too much at one time causes stress for all involved.
•Connect with others.
---There are so many groups that you can join. One is our TRC Connect group. We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays (via Zoom) at 7:00 p.m. There are also many groups that you can join via Facebook and other social media platforms that will help you stay connected to others.
Friends, you are not alone. Take time to rest. It will make a significant difference.