Give Me A Break
Like many people, especially Jana, I find peace in the ocean. I could sit on the beach and watch the waves for hours. When I do this, my baseline level of calm realigns and I’m able to truly find bliss in holding hands with my husband and watching our children play in the surf and sand.
As I’ve rediscovered this pool of calm inside my soul, I recognize that I’ve been wound a little too tightly for the last few weeks (months?). The past few days have been particularly difficult as I find myself trying to control people around me, seeing my children as obstacles on my path, and being downright mean to the people I love for insignificant reasons. Two nights ago I timed myself out while making dinner becuase I really need to think about how Jesus would treat people. (Yes, I did chastise Mark for putting too much cheese on the pizza).
At first glance, my life is not terribly stressful. I am a mostly SAHM of 3 children, 2 of whom are in school all day. But I do find myself in stress a lot of the time. My mother has been living with our family for the last 8 months, I’m taking 2 science classes at a community college, I teach Zumba a few times a week, am active in about 5 community/online organizations, I exercise, love to cook, hate to clean, love to travel, and have to maintain all of the details of life associated with a household of six. Add to that my complicated relationship with the LDS church and my difficulty finding God, I’m often a bit of a mess.
Admittedly, I have first-world problems. There is not doubt that I could use some suggestions for either developing better coping mechanisms to deal with my stress, or ways to destress my life.
As I was talking to my best friend (the one I’ve had since age 5, who constantly validates me), I mentioned that Mark said I create a lot of my own stress. Expecting her to disagree with him and agree with me, I was surpised to hear her laugh. “Yes, you do create a lot of your own stress.”
Well, yes, I guess I do.
And while I’d like to think that my hands are tied with the things I don’t want to do and I can’t possibly take the things I love to do off my list, I know better.
I’m sacrificing my calm, even my happiness, for these things.
As I’m writing this post, it’s sounding awfully familiar and I realize that 3 years ago (almost to the day) I wrote about being spread too thin, where I had been so busy I had had left my toddler on the soccer practice field.
I wish I could say that I’ve improved dramatically since then, but I haven’t. (Also, I should recognize that March is a busy time of year for me, or maybe I’m less patient with life during allergy season).
Now that I see this is a cycle and recognize that I’m affecting people around me with my lack of calm, what am I going to do? I’m going to list all of my commitments and get rid of 25% of them. I already have a few on the chopping block.
Next, I’m going to get myself some therapy and try to find out the root of my feelings of stress and how to handle what I imagine will be a life of unsettled feelings about God and the church (Heaven help me).
What about you? Do you have issues in your life that pop up regularly and you just haven’t made dealing with them head-on a priority?
How do you balance the important things in your life with the things you love to do? Where do you take your breaks (if you ever get them?)