How can I help? Besides “I love you,” aren’t those some of the sweetest words someone can say? Especially when we’re overwhelmed with something…or lots of somethings.
Can I bring you a meal? Pick up your kids? Help you move?
I honestly don’t think I would have survived all that life has brought my way without my friends, family and community – and all their “love labor.”
Maybe you’ve experienced that, or maybe you wish you had a few offers like that right now.
How can I help? Sometimes at the end of the day, even if myriad loved ones have pitched in and cooked and cleaned and chauffeured and packed boxes, we’re still overwhelmed.
One of the “normal” results of stress is that it can affect our mental functioning. We can be physically tired, but our brains can be tired, too.
Often I hear people say, “I just can’t figure out what the next step is.”
In technical terms this is sometimes referred to as “executive function.” It’s the ability of our brain to sort out priorities, analyze details, look long range, and figure out the steps to accomplish a task. When this part of our brain is impaired it can make the simplest task seem like climbing Mt. Everest.
This is one of those “ailments” that no one can see on our outside. There’s no handicapped placard to warn people we need “special parking privileges.” There’s no cast or wheelchair to indicate “fragile.” People, even ones who really care, can end up impatient and confused. They might not know how to help.
Obviously, eliminating the stress can help. Getting more rest can help. Taking better general care of yourself physically contributes to better “executive function.” But some seasons of life will have stress that can’t be immediately eliminated – or maybe you need that “executive function” in order to whittle away at the source of the stress.
In the counseling room often a lot of what we do is called “verbal processing.” I’m not really “fixing” anything, but in the process of helping you say out loud all of the different things that are floating around in your brain, you can actually begin to do some of that sorting and prioritizing that your brain is struggling to do. Sometimes a good counselor or friend or family member who is willing to just sit with you and listen and maybe write things out on a piece of paper so you can process it visually can be an enormous help.
Any thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you!