You know those weeks (or god forbid months) when stress, tension and frustration threaten to overwhelm everyone in the house? Yeah, we have those too, and having just struggled through another cycle I realize the state of our family’s emotional health can be determined by either the absence or presence...of salad.
If you’re like me, the stressors of daily life can get the upper hand no matter how much breathing, hot yoga or meditation are thrown in. And I'm convinced it's just part of the human experience, as illustrated by the past month when, despite my best intentions I fell prey to the following circumstances:
- A flooded kitchen (my fault)
- Too many projects
- An unexpected trip
- Support of a family member as they find a better path
- Work and more work—both for my husband and myself
- A flooded basement (not associated with the aforementioned kitchen and also my fault)
- Surgeries for both parents
- The start of another school year and it's associated hours of driving
To say I lost sight of our family's work/life balance would be a gross understatement.
How to get on track then? Make more salads.
Because here’s the thing: eating dinner together is a major element in keeping our family harmonious and like it or not, yours truly is the one who makes that happen. I’m the person who plans the food, shops the food, prepares the food, and then gets all the food to the table in order for everyone to come together and reconnect with what really matters—one another.
It just so happens that of all the foods I prep for dinner, I hate making salads the most. Don't get me wrong, I love eating all that crunchy goodness, but the inevitable washing and chopping just makes me tired so I’d rather not.
What I’ve noticed is that as salads make fewer and fewer appearances on our dinner table, the household's combined tension level rises in direct proportion.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Just hear me out.
The key is that salad vs. no-salad results from how present *I* am in the moment, how mindful *I* am of the emotional needs of my husband and children and my role as familial adhesive. When *I* am focused outward on everyone’s else’s well being and willing to put forth the required effort we get salad + accord. But when I lose focus and become distracted or discouraged by floods or work or whatever, we get no salad = discord.
Having made that connection, I find it less overwhelming to focus on one thing (making more salads) as opposed to a hundred individual things (being more mindful, present, patient, kind, tolerant, gracious, etc.) Because those salads are the physical byproduct of all the attitudes I wish to embody--and that's definitely worth chopping for.
So now it’s your turn.
Have you noticed any indicators for when your own life is out of balance? If so, does it make sense to focus on actions (making more salads) instead of attitudes (being kinder, gentler, etc)? Or have you found a strategy that works for you with an entirely different approach?
If you have minute, let me know—I’d love to hear your wisdom.