If the last few years have you feeling overwhelmed or if your “now” just doesn’t look like you thought it would, we have good news.

Instead of more information, what if you had four simple questions to ask yourself when you feel overwhelmed, overworked, overstimulated… or just over it?

Learnwell has partnered with Dr. Boyd Whaley, executive director of North Georgia Family Counseling Centers, for resources dealing with these very ideas:

  • How to be present in your current reality
  • How to enjoy and connect deeply with your family
  • How to help your child when he or she struggles with strong emotions
  • How to share stories that are meaningful

You may be wondering why a hybrid school cares. After all, we are a school. We coach parents on homeschooling their children well, providing an excellent education. But we also deeply value family and want to help facilitate God’s restoration in an age of busyness, stress, and fractured relationships.

Four Questions for Connection and Restoration

So we coordinated with Dr. Boyd Whaley to provide you with four questions to get started. Asking these regularly opens the door to discovering connection in the midst of what might feel like chaos.

1. How am I feeling right now?

If the answer is stressed or overwhelmed, remember to STOP: Synch your breathing by taking some deep breaths. Think mindfully as you pay attention to your senses and draw your breath back to a rhythmic pattern. Open your mind to radical acceptance of your current reality, without judgment, knowing that God is with you at this moment. Proceed wisely and take the next right step.

2. What are my emotions signaling?

Emotions, in and of themselves, are not bad. In fact, they often tell us when something is off. If we’re feeling stressed, we can evaluate why. If we are feeling overwhelmed, we can ask ourselves what we can do to lessen our load at the moment. We can also help our children identify that their emotions are not bad. They are simply indicators of something, and it’s important to stop and ask what.

3. Have I spent time in rest this week?

This doesn’t mean Netflix at night. True rest is found in a heart attitude of reflection. We can take time to think through what is working right now and what is not. We can enjoy time in God’s presence through journaling, reading Scripture, taking a walk, or working in the yard. “Rest” doesn’t have to mean lack of “doing.” Instead, it signifies a slowing-down. Rest is paying attention to where we are. It’s important in the overall practice of mindfulness.

4. How am I sharing parts of my day with those I love, and am I listening to them as they share?

We learn from Jesus’ parables that the conclusion of the story is not the point of the story. The main purpose for these “slice of life” stories He told is learning. When we can tell a story in three parts (beginning, middle, and end), we are equipped with healing. We know in what order to tell the story, how to tell it from our own perspective and if we’ve shared enough or too much, whether certain details are relevant, and if the emotions within the story are appropriate to the goings-on of the story.

These storytelling sessions can be short. Learning to tell a small story will take time. It needs to be told and retold. Your kids, for example, may need a prop, such as a photo, from which to tell about a memory.

How to Recognize Restoration

As we learn, we keep asking … Is restoration is taking place?

To find the answer, we can check in with ourselves to make sure we are practicing telling our own stories. This helps our kids learn to tell theirs. Ultimately, the telling of the story brings restoration. Check-in questions might include:

  • Who do I share the small stories of my day with?
  • Is the dinner table a place where stories are welcome?
  • Am I able to listen with compassion as others share their own mini-stories?

Allowing these questions to rotate through our week can provide us fertile ground in which to plant seeds of restoration, holiness, and a love for others (and ourselves) that forgives and lets go of judgment.

What kind of school cares about relational, mental, and spiritual health?