For Best Results, Breathe Deeply

These are the words written on my aromatherapy bath salts. You see I am like the rest of the world right now, in quarantine with my 5 kids all at home doing home school. And I am suddenly somehow a home school teacher. Did I mention that 3 of these kids are teenagers? So I’m locked in a home with 3 teenagers, a preteen, and one child who needs a lot of help with his schoolwork. Plus, I am so grateful for the fact that my husband and I are both still working. But that means he’s gone all day leaving me alone with all of these children, and I work nights at the hospital still as a chaplain, which is yes, of course freaking me out too. I am as freaked out to go to the hospital emergency Room for a call, as any of you would be to go to a hospital emergency Room right now. I’m not a doctor, or a nurse, or any type of medical staff, so perhaps those very educated and knowledgeable people are way less freaked out than me, but I am freaked out, let me assure you. And exhausted, and stressed…

So I sit in the bath at night, with all of the stress relieving and relaxing aromatherapy bath salts, bubble baths, and washes that I can find, and a glass of wine. I’m trying to survive here people, ok? I’m having glass of wine in my bath, end of story! So I sit, trying to somehow soak away all of the stress and fear and heartbreak and overwhelmedness that I am feeling, and I look on the back of one of my bottles and it says, for best results breathe deeply. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but it feels like we’re a world that is afraid to breathe deeply right now. There a tiny people killing germs floating around seemingly everywhere, and we are breathing into face masks, and homemade masks, and bandanas, and our own sleeves trying to avoid them. We are holding our breath and gritting our teeth and just getting through it, but no one is breathing deeply.

Just a few months ago I read this amazing book called The Body Keeps the Score. And it’s all about the effects of trauma on our bodies. There is this whole chapter on the use of yoga, how they use it for PTSD veterans and people in mass shootings, not because stretching necessarily does anything for them, but just for the sheer use of being taught how to breathe deeply, and the healing effects it has on our bodies and our mental status. It relieves pain, stress, headaches, improves organ functions, and the list goes on. Now, I am not a hippie, granola, tree hugger, but this makes total sense.

Here’s reality, I have no real control. I can’t control what is happening in the world. I can’t control this crazy virus. I can’t control whether or not my husband and I will be able to keep working, whether or not our bills will pile up on us, weather or not someone I know and love is going to get sick, weather or not I’ll get sick, or how many lives will be lost. I can’t control the fact that I’m locked inside the house with my children trying to teach school. I can’t control any of it. All I can do is the best I can do. I can make the safest choices that I can make for myself, my family, and others. I can be as conservative with spending as I can be. I can be the best home school teacher I can, with the time I can give. Even if I am the world’s worst home school teacher ever…it’s still I can do. All I can do is the best that I can do, that’s it, that’s all I’ve got. And the best I can do for me, is at the end of the day to know I did what I could, and then to relax a little bit and breathe deeply. As a world, as a people, as mom’s, that’s all any of us can do. So join me in inhaling the aroma of something sweet, exhaling all of the fears and anxieties, and for goodness sakes, don’t forget the wine!

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