Lack Of Margin

Photo by Francisco Moreno on Unsplash

Over the last couple of weeks, many of my clients have been stating the same thing. They say that they have no margin. This has been an ongoing issue throughout the pandemic, but with the addition of the holidays, it has increased exponentially.

What does having no margin mean? For most people, it is that there is no pause in the response time to any stressful situation or emotion. When people have margin, there is the ability to pause before reacting. The ability to engage in rational and logical thought processes. The ability to utilize tools for management of stress, anxiety, anger, and depression.

When people do not have margin (or feel already pushed to the edge of management), there is no pause before reacting. There is no ability to engage in rational and logical thought. The ability to use any helpful tools seem to vanish.

The result is immediate reaction. Going zero to 100 in microseconds, less than a blink of the eye. There is no pause, no thought, no tools. Only reaction. And generally the reaction is very big, sometimes very out of character, and hard to reign back in.

Someone cuts you off while driving. With margin, we can pause and be thankful there was no accident or use a stress reducing tool such as deep breathing or grounding. Without margin, we are yelling, cursing, sometimes confronting people, and generally letting it ruin the rest of our day or even our week.

Unable to spend holidays with family members due to Covid19. With margin, we can pause and be grateful for our health and healthy family members or use logic and rational thought to know that no situation lasts forever and the pandemic will end and we can see more family then. Without margin, we are sad, angry, and feeling overwhelming grief at the loss of normalcy. We can let it affect us for days, weeks or even months without margin.

Lack of margin has a way of building up and exploding. We may be able to manage the first few times someone cuts us off or the first couple of times we have to say no to family gatherings. But the more these things add up, the less margin we have and the less ability we have to control our response.

So what do we do? Firstly, we must acknowledge that we are short of margin. We must tell ourselves the truth about our capacity to pause and respond – the truth is that we usually are not going to be able to. We must give ourselves grace because our current state of mind and emotions is what it is.

That being said, we do have moments in this lack of margin where we can find quiet to pause and reflect and think rationally and logically. We can find moments for meditation and calming. During these times, we can also reflect on the times where we haven’t had margin and if there is anything we can do next time to try and avoid the explosion.

Communicating to other that we are short of margin and that we are trying to respond appropriately but we may not always do so. Communicating the first time members of our family or friends or others we have regular contact with do something that pushes over the margin line how it makes us feel and how we may need them to interact with us differently. Be proactive. Do not let it build up.

We are all short of margin at times during this ongoing pandemic that is now accompanied by the holidays. We are all trying to do the best we can. But sometimes our margin runs completely out. Recover in the the times that you can and let go of what anger, sadness, and grief that you can while building in self-care and resilience.

Nothing lasts forever and this too shall pass.

Until next time be well,

Deborah

Show Love Now

Photo by Michael Fenton on Unsplash


Throughout the Covid19 pandemic, one theme has run through many of my conversations with clients – death. And more specifically, the fear of death and of losing people they love.

Most of my clients are not fearful of death for themselves, but for their loved ones. Specifically for older loved ones or loved ones who have pre-existing conditions that could make a Covid19 infection possibly worse for them. They worry about death and worry about loss.

When in counseling, I use a lot of what is going on right now to help people focus on the here and now and not the speculation of future catastrophes. I do a lot of cognitive behavioral therapy work, which involves replacing negative thinking with positive.

But you cannot say to someone, how about we change that to my loved one is not going to die.

There is not, that I am aware of, any way to prevent death in human beings. All of us will die at some point. Therefore, it is very difficult and most times impossible for my clients to say they can believe the statement that their loved one is not going to die, because people do die.

Like the Covid19 virus, there is no making it just go away or that it is just not here anymore. Just like there is no making the truth that people die go away. We have no control over these things. We can mitigate by making healthy choices and working on ways to possibly extend our life span, but we cannot escape death at some point.

Staying in the here and now still works even with Covid19. Is your loved one sick? Are they taking precautions and being careful? Have they been exposed to a close contact? How are they doing right now – this moment? These are still here and now grounding questions we can ask and answer.

But what else can we do? We can always be intentional in showing our love now, today, at every opportunity to people we love. We can be proactive in our relationships to cultivate them and grow them with the people we love. We can make choices to show our love so that whenever the day does come that they are no longer here, we can say we know that they knew without a doubt that we loved them.

Being intentional with love relationships is something to be practiced whether there is Covid19 or not. It is the way we stay connected in the here and now. It is the way we share every moment of the time that we do have with people in meaningful ways.

We will still have to navigate loss and grief, but we will do so knowing that our loved ones knew we loved them and that we have many memories to keep their spirit alive with us.

We do not have to spend hours and days worrying and wondering what might happen in the future, we can live in each day, each moment showing love intentionally instead. Choosing not to lose the time we do have by letting it slip away in worry and fear.

Show love now.

Until next time be well,

Deborah

Grief Of The Normal

woman sitting while looking lonely

The coronavirus is bringing about all kinds of grief. The grief of losing people is tremendously heavy. The grief of separation is isolating.

The grief of the normal. Of your normal. The grief of what is missing.
It is okay to be sad.

Grief is like an unpredictable ocean as I have written in the past. The waves come and go across our hearts and minds. Sometimes, the waves are small and almost imperceptible.

Other times they are massive and threaten to drown us with their weight.
We are now grieving the normal. The normal of going to the coffee shop with a friend and chatting about our lives.

The normal of grocery shopping without fear or restriction.

The normal of going to work or school in our everyday routines.

The normal of gathering for birthdays and holidays and yes, deaths and funerals.

The normal of reaching out to shake someone’s hand or hug someone as a greeting or goodbye.

The normal of book clubs and poker nights.

The normal of sporting events from tee-ball to professional.

The normal of meetings in person and lunches with friends.

The normal of sleepovers and playdates.

The normal of weekend trips and long-planned vacations.

The normal of going to the movies.

The normal dinner reservations at your favorite restaurant.

The normal of living.

We find these waves coming on us unexpectedly. Where we start to cry out of nowhere. Where we feel sad and lack motivation. Where we feel angry and want to lash out.

It is okay to feel this grief. It is necessary to acknowledge it and to acknowledge what we are grieving for.

It is also necessary not to live there. It is important to not let this ocean drown us.

Just as the waves of the ocean, we can acknowledge and feel the waves and then we can watch them go back out to sea.

We can say to ourselves. Yes, I feel this way, right now. But right now will not be forever. The waves will go back out to sea.

And normal will return at some point. Changed for some, the same for others. But these waves will return to the sea.

Just like the waves in the ocean come and go, no challenge is permanent. Change is the constant in human existence, nothing remains the same forever.