I was going to get up early to exercise before the kids woke up, but I was exhausted and overslept.
I was going to keep my composure when my husband didn’t do what I asked him, but I yelled at him and picked a fight.
I was going to get out my sewing machine and make 100 masks for my neighbors but I ended up spending 5 hours helping my kids with their homework.
I was going to make a perfect meal and have the perfect family movie night but my kids started fighting and complained about the food and the movie choice.
We are all trying to make the best of difficult circumstances. We don’t know how to feel normal or be productive. We feel like we should have so much extra time to do things, but everything seems more difficult to accomplish. The result is that many of us feel guilty, torn, frazzled, and out of control. We could all use an extra measure of grace.
Right now, so much is out of our control. And we fight feeling out of control. We try to control more; we push those uncomfortable feelings down; we numb ourselves with social media. Anything to stop feeling out of control. We beat ourselves up for not being in control of our lives.
Recognizing these feelings might be the best place to start finding grace in our daily lives. We don’t have control over COVID-19. We don’t have control over our job security. We don’t have control over when schools will open. We don’t have control over how many people will get infected or die. We are grieving the loss of our perceived control over our lives.
Let’s give ourselves some grace.
HopeNet therapist Lauren Hill-Harris stresses the importance of being kind to yourself and pausing to ask yourself, do I deserve grace? Do I deserve the same kindness and grace I would give to a friend? She also says that giving yourself grace means admitting that you have needs. This often requires us to stop and take a pause. We must slow down enough to be silent for a moment. What are your needs right now? What can you do to address those needs?
Let’s start by readjusting our expectations. If you feel like you are “failing” every day, take some time to evaluate that feeling. For most of us, we set our expectations way too high, thinking we can accomplish more than is possible in one day. So much of the world has changed. The changes you are experiencing are huge and those changes are affecting you more than you realize. We have all been forced to restructure our everyday systems of working, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and entertaining. It is truly exhausting, and our minds and bodies are tired. Use this time to allow yourself to set smaller expectations and make smaller lists. And give yourself some grace.
If you are finding yourself consistently not accomplishing your daily goals, it might be time to scale back. Either the night before or first thing in the morning, ask yourself: what is today’s priority? Make it one thing. It will be hard, but see if you can get it down to a single priority for this day. Reset your expectations for this one thing.
Hill-Harris says that this comes down to respecting yourself. Respect your own humanity and recognize the fact that you are human and are subject to forces that are out of your control. And like everyone in your life that you are caring for, loving and assisting, you also deserve care and grace.