On Tuesday morning, I saw a post from one of my favorite parent bloggers, Jess from Diary of a Mom. The post really resonated with my emotional state at the time, and still this morning.
Jess writes about how hard it can be, in a state of anxiety, to be told things like “it’s going to be OK” or “don’t worry” because, sometimes, it’s not all OK and there are in fact things to worry about.
Instead Jess suggests saying, “Let’s slow it down.”
Of course, human anxiety is an extension of our primal stress response. As animals, we are wired to respond with an elevated heart rate, muscle tension, and other responses when confronting impending danger. When we respond to short-term threats by “speeding it up,” we tend to prevail.
But sometimes, as it has been this week for many Americans, the threat is in the waiting. We don’t know if, or when, a beast might emerge, or what it will look like. We might be torn between hoping for a desired outcome and fearing the worst outcome possible. We feel compelled to prepare ourselves, but don’t know how to do so.
Perhaps it would do us all some good to stop and acknowledge that this is indeed an unusual time, building on the unusual of the past eight months. It is OK not to be OK. We don’t need to keep rushing around trying to live our ordinary lives with an extra layer of political or existential stress piled on.
This weekend, let’s be sure to take care of ourselves, engaging the slower “rest and digest” self-care processes that can take a backseat during times of high stress. Let’s be sure to treat our bodies well, to engage our minds, and to tend to our important relationships. While we wait, let’s take some time to slow things down.