It feels a little bit like the world has gone mad. At almost any point in life, we all know someone going through some struggles. Right now, frankly, it feels like I don’t know anyone not going through some kind of struggle. I have good friends going through custody battles, another dealing with a parent going into hospice, another recovering from a stroke. Even one of my nieces just had an incident of cyber bulling.
At work, it isn’t any better. I’m dealing with a couple of instructor issues that have students up in arms. I have instructors lying to me, unfortunately people are showing their true colors and too often that color is black. It doesn’t help that I’m not feeling incredibly supported by the people in the system who have that responsibility. It feels right now like everyone is putting me on an island and then driving the boats away.
I’m not alone in this, right now some of my best people are really struggling. As one of my people said recently, I’m in my thirties and had heart palpitations last night, it’s not supposed to be like that. And they’re right, it shouldn’t be that way. Work shouldn’t be such a struggle that it damages your health. But in fact, that’s exactly what it is for many of us. For me, I had dreams of retiring from my job this year, that is not going to happen. Not that I can truly retire until 65, you see I have a couple of heart conditions that make me uninsurable outside of work or medicare and medicare doesn’t start til 65. So I’ll have to continue working after I retire from my current system. However, I won’t need to make a lot of money, and I will be able to work a job where I don’t have the responsibility, madness and stress of managing sixty plus people like I do now. Not to mention the ten programs and two centers and all the associated students, budgets, legal issues and politics. So I’m on the clock, 52 months and a week.
So what do we do to preserve or physical and mental health? My suggestion, take a breath, be kind, give grace.
First, take a breath. I know, it seems like ridiculously simplistic advice, I assure you that it is not. And I mean this literally, take a deep breath, even better, spend a few minutes just breathing. There is a really simple breathing technique I really like:
Find a comfortable position with your back straight to allow optimum oxygen
absorption into your lungs. If acceptable, close your eyes.
(5) Count to five and breathe-in through your nose.
(2) Hold this breath at its peak for two seconds.
(7) Slowly release the air in your lungs for seven seconds by
making a small “o” with your mouth.
Post-awareness: How do you feel now? What’s different? Notice the various parts of
your body that feel recharged, heightened, more relaxed, etc.
And take a breath has a bigger meaning, it also means take care of yourself. Taking some breathing breaks each day is great, but if there are bigger things you need to do, find the time to do them. For me, it’s time by the ocean and travel. So I’ve started planning a trip to Mardi Gras in February and today I took a drive down highway 1.
Second, be kind. It’s a really funny thing but when you’re not feeling great, when the world feels like a horribly unsafe and unkind place, being kind to others make you feel better. This can be something big and organized like volunteering at a homeless shelter or even rounding up donations for the shelter of your choice. But honestly, it can just be the small things. It could be as simple as being kind to strangers, letting someone go ahead of you in a line, paying for the coffee of the person in behind you in line, giving someone a hug or smile, or just taking a few minutes to help someone with something they need help with. Somehow, small acts of kindness also help you feel better as well, kind of a two for one.
Finally, give grace and this is the hardest part. When we’re stressed we lose our emotional reserves. That thing that allows us to take some hits without reacting. it’s hard to give people that space. But if we can find a way to do that, in the end, like kindness, it will pay dividends and we’ll feel better later. One note, this is where and when it makes sense, not when people are being consciously inconsiderate or mean. Giving kindness and grace should never be given if you’re being taken advantage of, this is about being a good person, not becoming a door mat.
So my friends, do your best to take care of yourselves, breath, be kind and give grace and we’ll all have happier day my friends. ~ Rev Kane
Thank you Michael. I’ll try to take more time to breath this week and I’ll think of you doing the same as I do. Stay well, Steve