“Coping during Crisis Times,” Ensign, Jan. 1998, 61
Sometimes families experience problems so severe or time consuming that the health of caregivers can be seriously jeopardized as they devote their resources to coping. Health-threatening stresses can result from a family member’s health emergency, a child in trouble, a substance abuse problem, or other demanding crisis. Often challenges come in the midst of other heavy responsibilities, such as work, Church callings, or child rearing.
Some parents may worry that perhaps the Lord will be displeased with them if they do not drop everything to deal with trouble. However, sacrificing all their resources, including health, strength, and other family relationships, is not necessarily required or wise during difficult times. In truth, the Lord expects us to find a way to balance all our responsibilities.
Some things to keep in mind:
Keep priorities clear.
Get enough sleep.
Take a break.
Spend some time with other members of the household each day discussing their concerns, instead of focusing solely on the crisis involving one part of the family.
Request temporary help with meals. Relief Society sisters in the ward may be able to help if the crisis is serious and short-term. Also, other family members, even young children, can sometimes help with meals. Just getting simple, prepared foods from the grocery store can sometimes help relieve the pressure.
Set aside time to deal with household tasks, such as paying bills.
Falling apart in a crisis only postpones its resolution and retards our long-term progress. Part of our growth comes from learning to deal with adversity and rising above it. Taking care of yourself in times of stress, as well as your share of the household responsibilities, will allow you in the end to handle the emergency or crisis and make recognizable progress.—Garth A. Hanson, Provo, Utah