#Askingforafriend: Finding balance during pandemic
By Christine Pemberton
GCU Office of Student Care
Now more than ever, life is a balancing act.
Balancing things like work, sports, social involvements and school.
Trying to balance work life and home life with being a new “online school” teacher — while balancing our job duties as our own children try to learn virtually.
Or trying to balance our need for socialization with the mandate of social distancing – all while balancing our need for normalcy while trying to stay safe and healthy.
The question I hear a lot is how:
How am I expected to do this and succeed?
How am I supposed to be able to do this “right?”
While there is not an easy answer to those questions, we will talk about some things that will help.
There is no right way to do things right now. Students, athletes, teachers, parents – we all are doing something we have never done before, balancing things we’ve never had to balance before. And if you ask me, I think we are all doing a pretty good job!
The stress and frustration you feel is expected. This is uncharted territory. We have never been taught how to navigate life with these new circumstances. So what are we supposed to do?
First, look at your to-do list and prioritize. What are the real “have-to’s?”
We may be inclined to say the entire list is considered a “have to.” However, if we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that some things on our list can wait – not forever, but maybe for a day or two. Give yourself permission to let those things be. You will get to them; it just doesn’t HAVE to be right now.
Second, set realistic expectations.
You may need to seek some guidance on this, but consider this question: “Is what I’m expecting of myself or those around me realistic, given the current circumstances?”
Remembering that we used to be able to do this doesn’t mean we are able to continue to function the same way. In an effort to find some “normalcy,” we end up adding additional stress to ourselves by avoiding a simple but difficult concept – acceptance.
Acceptance, our third step, can be very difficult. But if we can actively accept that there are things outside our control and understand that we are capable of only so much in a day, then it will free us from pressure and help to reduce our stress and anxiety.
Acceptance is a challenging practice, but it is just that – a practice. And it can help us to acknowledge that, although we may not like how things are right now, we can accept them for a time.
Finally, and probably most importantly, give yourself grace and practice self-care. This can look like asking others for help … finding time to be alone and recharge … just generally being kind to yourself and acknowledging all you have done, as opposed to focusing only on what you haven’t completed yet.
Self-care looks different for everyone. But now, more than ever, it is helpful for us to find those people or activities that fill us and bring joy.
And remember … you ARE doing a GREAT job! Keep up the good work!