Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. ~Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind
I have always been the type of person that if something needed to be done, I felt I had to take care of it that very minute. I thought that was called responsibility. I was so very wrong. It was called being a control freak. Learning to let go, kick my feet up, and relax has been one of the hardest skill I‘ve almost mastered. Yes, it is a work in progress. I might do things I deem higher on the ladder of importance and let the housework or laundry go an extra few days. I guess I’ve learned to prioritize and evaluate. This has lessened my headaches and heartaches and probably saved my sanity.
It drives me crazy to watch how calm, cool, and non-rushed my husband and sons are. And sometimes, it totally pisses me off that they don’t think certain things are as important as I do. And other times, I am jealous that I obviously lack the ability to think and function in a nonchalant manner. However, I know they are healthier for it. Sometimes, I feel like I am always lighting a fire under somebody’s rear to get things done. Their reluctance could be a result of my micromanaging the house and everyone’s lives. Yes, I do see that. It is a serious flaw of mine, and I swear to you I am working hard on changing it. I feel I am succeeding in small steps.
I try to slow down and take things one moment at a time instead of approaching them in a panicked manner. I have also started a process I will call “selective stressing”, and so far it is working for me. I used to be the type of person that I worried about everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING. I worried about what people thought of me, what choices my kids would make in certain situations, whether my husband and kids were safe almost every moment of every day. I was a constant worrier. I fretted about remembering to pick the kids up on time, showing up for appointments on time, remembering birthdays, buying the right presents, fixing a dinner that everyone enjoyed, saying the right thing to the right person at the right time….I was in a constant state of stress. I worried about the children’s grades, my husband’s job, my job, the economy, my parents health, home repairs…the list was endless.
Stress is the trash of modern life – we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life. ~Terri Guillemets
I have allowed stress to invade my life. I’ve allowed it to push me to anger and resentment. I’ve lashed out and struck out at those I love the most in life. Why them? Probably because I know they love me enough to put up with my crap. I don’t really know how much my stress level and depression correlated, but I will say that in tackling depression, it altered my stressors in a positive way. As my faith grew, I practiced what I call letting go and letting God. I started handing over things that I couldn’t control. However, the real test came in refusing to pick the garbage back up.
Our lives have become so busy, I think we find it difficult to breathe at times. My mother’s generation was considered the tranquilizer generation, and mine is considered the antidepressant generation. Sometimes, these are needed for chemical imbalances and sometimes we feel we need them to just cope with all the stress from too much to do and time restraints. I often wonder how it would work out if we followed the suit of other countries that closed down their businesses for afternoon siestas. I don’t think it would solve the world’s problems, but it sure would solve some of mine. Or at least, it would help my attitude. And you know they say attitude is everything!
Give your stress wings and let it fly away. ~Terri Guillemets
I try not to worry about things I can’t control. Worry does not get anything done. It only hurts my own health and my attitude in response to my stress is damaging to my family and friends. I can only control my actions and my thoughts. I don’t waste time and energy on other people’s business now. I have come to the realization that whatever happens is going to happen. I can’t hold my children’s hands throughout their day and force them to make decisions I consider correct. I can only lay the foundation and pray they make the right ones. I know that bad things happen and our responses and lessons taken from the experience are what is going to matter in situations we can’t control. I know that if I forget a birthday, don’t make it to an appointment on time, or fail to make it to the grocery store or vacuum the house the world will not end.
There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
A long hot soak usually makes things much better for me. I end my day with a very hot relaxing, quiet bath. I calm my mind, soothe my soul, and relax my body. This is my rejuvenation period. I am not on a time allotment for this self treat. I do it right at the moment I want. If I feel like I need this at seven instead of ten at night, I do it right then. Even if it doesn’t melt my troubles away, I am stress-free for that period of time. And somehow, once I step out of that bath, whatever was bothering me doesn’t seem quite as large and overbearing. This is a gift I give myself. It is priceless. I tend to think I am self-sacrificing at times, but I admit this is my time and no one in my house interferes. So, I guess in a sense, it is also their gift to me.
Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way. ~Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You