I remember halfheartedly reading through newspapers and magazines on the weekend, so I could write current event articles for my civics class. As a 15-year-old I knew how important government matters were but as a teen, it all seemed so irrelevant. Well, it seemed that way until I began to apply for student loans and grants in order to go to college. I very quickly became acquainted with Sallie Mae and the Department of Education once I reached adulthood. It’s a lesson that we all learn at different stages of our lives. Nothing matters until it happens to you!
Sad to say I had another wakeup call a few years ago when I myself was furloughed. I quickly began to educate myself and learned what government shutdowns were all about and how to make it through.
According to the Congressional Research Services, there have been 18 shutdowns since 1976. However, the number of historical shutdowns in no way diminishes the impact that this traumatic event has on families every time it happens.
The December 2018 “partial” government shutdown has continued right into the new year. As we come to the end of our first full week in 2019 hundreds of thousands of government employees will miss their first scheduled paycheck. Anxiety is high as some set up GoFund Me accounts, apply for unemployment benefits, and search for part-time jobs. In addition, to tending to basic needs many are dealing with the onset of emotions ranging from anger, frustration, resentment, sadness, confusion, anxiety, and depression. When I was furloughed, I went through every emotion possible as I was trying to process what was going on. With that experience, I offer you some of the tools and techniques that helped me maintain good mental, spiritual, and physical well-being during that difficult time. What I’m sharing is not a magic bullet for the pain and anguish that you may be feeling, but I believe that we have the power to redirect our energy and spirit in a way that fills and fuels us as God prepares us for greater.
- Pray. Seek God’s presence and find rest there as you lay your requests at His feet.
- Update your resume. Don’t sit in that sunken place! Now is a great time to update your resume with new skills and training.
- Declutter. Use this time to get rid of stuff that you can either sell or give away creating space in your home and heart.
- Journal. Document this experience. Writing is a great way to release emotions from the mind and body.
- Exercise. While burning off calories consider you’ll also be able to let go of some of that pinned up anger and frustration that is weighing your body down.
- Read. Revisit that favorite book and finish it this time!
- Protest. As an American, you have the right to protest so if you are so inclined to consider joining your community in peaceful protests.
- Communicate. Talk y’all! Don’t sit at home all alone. Tap into your support system and talk to others and if you need help ask.
- Write a budget. It’s time to face reality. Write down your bills so you are clear about your situation and begin to cut back or eliminate extra expenses.
- Start a business. Has God placed a business in your heart and you’ve been waiting and waiting for the perfect time? I have a word for you. A job is a resource and God is your source! Nikki Howard and Jaqi Wright are sisters who work for the Deparment of Justice and they are furloughed. According to WJLA, the sisters knew they had to do something and in the mist of this crisis they turned their talent for making cheesecakes into a business. The Furlough Cheesecake was born as the sisters stepped out on faith. So write the vision that God has given you and make it plain. That’s the first step and let him lead the way.