It’s hard to ignore the political strife in the world right now, with the cost of living crisis affecting just about everyone to some degree or another.
The one thing that makes humans unique among other species is the ability to visualise and make plans. This becomes difficult if not impossible when the future looks unstable, causing us stress.
But while things may be out of control in the wider world, it is your inner family world that holds the key to building the resilience you need in uncertain times.
Start by quitting your own unnecessary suffering
Nowadays, I refuse to stay in a situation that is uncomfortable or not making me happy. But I wasn’t always that way.
There will probably be something in your life that you are ‘putting up with’ right now. Whatever it is that drains your spirit, it is time to flush it out. This is all about conserving energy for more important things, like facing turbulent times. Talking of which, on a plane, there is a reason why parents are told to put their oxygen mask on first, before tending to their young ones.
Find out where your energy is being spent
Kick overwhelm to the curb while you’re at it
Is it time to review your agenda and cancel a few things that are not mandatory or urgent?
A feeling of overwhelm is a signal to sit down and plan, but you don’t have to think about the next 5 years. Making a one month plan is all you need to calm the mind. I have created a Happy Month Planner to guide you and make ‘overwhelm extinction’ your new hobby. Download it here.
Rituals stabilise us
It’s not just kids that need a routine, adults do too (we just add meaning and call it a ’ritual’).
It took me a long time to establish my daily micro rituals, but I am so glad I did.
A daily micro ritual could be simply taking a peaceful pause every morning before kicking off your day to set your intentions.
Likewise, a bedtime ritual can just be a little mantra, remembering what you wish for your children and why they need you. Or perhaps listing a few things that you are grateful for. These should only be positive warm feelings and thoughts. (A hot chocolate is optional, but recommended!)
Lean in to family rituals
We all know how much our kids need our stability, but we also need them to keep us grounded. Therefore the family connection is crucial all round.
So, all hail Friday Pizza Night! Or the Sunday morning walk. Whatever it is, lean into it and make it sacred. This is a time to truly connect with your children and tune into the love and gratitude.
Be a conscious consumer of news
I know what it is to feel the weight of the world’s misery on your shoulder (it even led me to see therapists), so I don’t watch the news – my husband would tell me if something major happened, otherwise I choose to avoid it. Even some documentaries are too much for me. I would rather escape with a fantasy movie. The reality that matters most to me is my family. I digress…
‘Keeping up with the news’ can be addictive and it is useful to recognise that. But think about what it is doing for your mental health… not much! I’m not saying to go ’cold turkey’ and shut out the news completely, but maybe choose how and when to allow it into your consciousness. A weekly email digest that gives you the top headlines is usually enough. Even better, sign up for a Good News digest to start your day off with positivity.
Focus on what truly matters today
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it’s called the present.Master Oogway (Kung Fu Panda Pixar)
We need more than ever to make the most of each day, one day at a time. If you really cannot help stressing about the future, a good trick is to set aside a specific time for planning (aka worrying), then leave it.
Review your family’s priorities. What really matters for you and your family? (Did you know ‘fun’ can be a priority too?) How about – with the kids – creating a little poster or sticking post-it notes around the house to help everyone focus on what truly matters?
With too much worry, you might find it impossible to focus on anything. If that is the case, don’t bottle it up. Talk with someone about your fears. Find someone who can listen and find another way to look at life.
If we let our emotions take over what we cannot control, we are in for a lot of pain. What we can do instead is give our best to ourselves and our children. This is not selfishness either. We can create a ripple effect by focusing on what’s in front of us.
It’s true, there is a lot of strife in the world but there always has been. Maybe we’ve had it too good in recent decades. However, if instability looks like your new normal, remember there are still many things under your control.
By appreciating and building on the strength of the family, creating your love bubble and focussing on what truly matters, you and your family can create the resilience to thrive in a changing world.
Photo: Liam Anderson