I remember when I was a kid how simple life seemed. Do you agree? No internet, no cell phones, a black and white TV, a dollar to spend at the corner store and bikes to take us anywhere we wanted. We were content to play with all the neighbour kids making up hours of homemade fun and then come home for supper or when it started getting dark. It was a great neighbourhood and no one seemed to worry about much at that time. Life was good.
Not that life is not good now by any means, but when did it all get so complicated? So many rules, regulations, new things to consider and fear. It is very overwhelming at times. Even the simple tasks need a well calculated plan to succeed. This week I wanted to surprise my class with a special treat. I bought them Smile cookies from Tim Horton’s. I was so excited to bring them yet had to really think through how the actual distribution and eating of them would look. Let me explain… Our students as per health unit instructions must eat in a checkerboard pattern in rows so they are eating in shifts during their nutrition breaks. This is done to minimize the amount of people with masks off. I did not want some to have to wait for their treat, so I decided to take them outdoors and when each received his or her cookie they were instructed to social distance on the playground. It worked well until the bees decided they wanted in on the fun! Everyone was great about it, no one was stung, and it sure did bring a bright moment to a Friday morning. Mission accomplished!
There are so many things we are not allowed to do right now it can get discouraging. Nevertheless, I am determined to still enjoy life and do what I can while respecting the rules. The struggle bus is full, but wouldn’t it be better to switch to the success bus? I was explaining this to my students as I held up our positive thought for the day which read “We are on the success bus together!” I explained I wanted us all to get off the “struggle bus” and ride the “success bus” together into a fun, exciting and wonderful year. I explained it was not an actual bus, but an expression. Some caught on, but they are young and not all got what I meant. The one little girl said, “But Mrs. R., I don’t ride the bus.” My heart melted. She didn’t quite get it, but I will do everything to help her get on the right “bus” this year at school that is for sure.
In all this chaos at times, I feel the need to simplify things and remind myself of what really matters. We will get through this crazy time right now but while we are in it finding effective coping strategies sure helps. Here is what I have found works wonders.
Make a doable “To-Do List”
Make a list each day of things you need to do. Make sure it is realistic and doable. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day my friend and we are still in the middle of a pandemic. You will feel great about being able to cross things off your list and move forward. I love using highlighters to cross off what I have accomplished. It feels so satisfying to complete things. The priorities are completed first and the leftovers roll over to the next day. No shame! You can only do so much in a day.
Take time to pull away, mediate and rest. The world is very challenging right now and you need solitude. The Bible says in Psalms 46:10 to “Be still and know that I am God.” It is hard to “be still” in our fast paced society but we absolutely need to do it. Quiet time helps to recharge us to get up and face another action-packed and often unpredictable day.
Find your happy place
What energizes you? Where do you feel most like yourself and fulfilled? Nature? In church? With friends? At the gym? What soothes your soul in a healthy fashion is what you need right now. We are better people when we spend time doing activities that fill our tanks and encourages us. Find what that is for you and do it often. You will be a better person for it.
Affirming statements have such power. Remind yourself that you are capable, loved and have incredible value to God and those around you. I tell myself in the hardest times “I am doing my best” in the midst of very stressful and uncertain times and that is really all I can ask of myself at this time. My class motto states: “I am special. I am smart. I will try my best.” These are good rules for all of us to live by.
I know life is complicated right now my friend, but you will come through it and so will I. Please know that we are all walking through these times together. We will come out on the other side if we just keep putting one foot in the front of the other and take time to simplify our lives as needed.
Until next time,
1st Corinthians 16:13 (NIV): Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous, be strong.
Little Lesson Learned: Life can get complicated. There is much we cannot control. We do have the power to take charge of what we can control and do what we can to make it better. Don’t ever forget that.
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