The Sparkle Team here in Austin, Texas have come through the winter storm relatively unscathed. We were lucky, and we’re grateful.
However, it doesn’t mean we’re not impacted. I noticed on Monday that my body was stiff and clenched, and I needed to cry a lot. My teens were emotionally messy. David reported being exhausted, as did friends. Even the dogs seemed off. I knew I needed to slow down and let us all process and unwind.
Process what? Unwind what? Didn’t we have our water and power back? Yes, it’s true — we are physically safe and we have the tangible resources we need. And yet there is more to untangle around the emotional experience of a week of intense weather. It was scary! Even though we had access to water, electricity, and heat most of the time, either in our own homes or through friends, there were so many unknowns. The threat of state-wide power and water outages was constantly present. The inability to travel, to access food, water, and safe spaces was highly limited due to ice. And the level of cold seeping in through doors, windows, and uninsulated walls — well, that was shocking in itself. Texas hadn’t seen deep, extended cold like this in my lifetime (or my mother’s)!
So what do we do? For myself, I stretch, I dance, I wiggle and shake my body, or do other movement exercises I do EFT tapping. I take baths. I do some deep breathing. All of these are great for kids, and I invite my teen boys to do the same. (This is met with eye-rolling, but I still invite!)
What about for littles?
With all ages, it’s just good to make space, to know that big emotions may move through. I try to calm myself as much as I can so I can offer calm and presence to them — which makes a huge difference! I think nature, movement, and vocal expression are central. Plus touch.
Children want to hear and feel: The world is good. I am safe and loved. It is okay to feel sad, mad, or scared.
Quoting David: These truths may not seem like truths to us grown ups. It may be hard for us to validate "I am safe" when people are trapped in collapsed buildings after a tornado plows through their town. But we are not talking about us – we are talking about children – and a foundation of "I am safe" is a gift we can give them. This gift can inform how they meet challenges, disasters, and tragedy. If their broad sense of the world is that they are safe, then they can enter into difficult situations with a kind of confidence and clarity that will help not only themselves but those around them.
Stories can help.
We have a wealth of stories in our library to communicate this very message, to soothe and calm young minds and bodies. Here are my favorite three — and all these stories are free, so please share with your friends!
Would you like to send more help to Texas?
The state is still recovering and we could use your help. Our two favorite charitable organizations are:
About the Author
Lisabeth Sewell has worn many hats at Sparkle over the years, from Sparkle Kitchen Blogger to Editorial Director to Doer of All Odd Jobs. Her primary role is as CEO.