Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Deep Thoughts - STRESS

Allow me to go deep here for a moment...

Hello Everyone!  Let me catch you up a bit on the happenings.  I graduated in December and took a teaching position in March.  It is a behavioral unit for K-4.  The position is tough, but I am blessed with a school that supports me and a great assistant.  The kids and I were learning along the way and I plan to be ready to roll again in August.  Stress Factor - A

I am continuing on with my education working on my Master's Degree.  I went full time in the spring and this summer. I will scale back to part time this fall, so it will take two years to complete.  Stress Factor - B

My husband Michael graduated in May and is now a Respiratory Therapist.  He took a part-time position (weekends) and is currently applying for other positions to fill in his week.  This is great news!  All of you that know Michael remember how great he is with people.  NO stress here - simply uncertainty - Let's call this Uncertain A

I won't provide other details but simply list out a few others:

Special Needs son in College, 1 out of 4 cars running, broken refrigerator, unpaid bills - Stress Factors C, D, E, F

Now, I am not whining here and I do feel vulnerable sharing so much personal information. But I am doing so because I want to share what I am actively doing about it.  We all have stress; we all have problems.  We may believe by looking at Facebook or simply by seeing others in public that we are the only ones that don't have it together - not true.  My mom taught me years ago that EVERYONE has problems - they are just different for each person.

I am a total control freak, as many of you know.  Combine this with my OCD and order and routine are a necessity (is it no wonder I am a special education teacher).  I decided to actively work to reduce my stress and choose ways to be healthy.  I am, thankfully, very healthy but continuing to exist at the stress level I do will eventually take its toll by stealing my joy and destroying my mind and body.  By taking control of the pieces of my world that I CAN control, I am hoping to produce some calmness in my world.  Here is my plan:

  1. God is in control.  My faith plays a huge part in my life, and truly the thing that has pulled me out of many struggles. I know God has a purpose for me and that he provides for all my needs.  There is no greater comfort for me.  This has to be foremost in my mind at all times.
  2. What I can control:
      1. My weight - I can take an active part in controlling what I eat and assure what I do eat is healthy and will help build a strong body.  
      2. Exercise - I started Yoga this summer, just simple Hatha yoga which is a lot of bending and stretching.  Learning to deep breathe and relax is a huge step for me - I never relax!  
      3. My housework - Don't laugh.  I am notorious for constant cleaning, but I know a clean and organized house gives me peace.  This is for me, not for anyone else.  
      4. My coursework - I force myself to stay on top or ahead of my assignments.  It is tough to be motivated when things get you down, but I know it will only add to more stress so I MAKE myself do it.
      5. Make time to do something just for fun.  Here is the part that is the hardest.  I am giving myself permission to use my time NOT working.  I am making some cute dresses for Alanna, planning a quilt for my older son, going to quilt group meetings, and shopping with my mom.  It takes actually telling myself that it is OK to do these things and that I am NOT wasting my time.  When there is so much on my plate, any time spent not working on one of them creates guilt and anxiousness.  This has got to stop.
So why have I opened my life up to you in this way?  Because I know we are all dealing with stress.  Each person has to find what works for them, but know this, we HAVE to do it.  We are giving up so much by letting stress eat away at our minds and lives.

Here is the part that is the opposite of stress (also something my mom taught me): Count Your Blessings.  We are  ALL blessed.  I am blessed to have a job, a loving family, a home, and so much more.  Be around those that bring you joy, make you laugh.  Give yourself permission to relax and just have fun.  Get creative.  Maybe just playing with your fabric stash (or tools of your creativity) is enough.  Where do you like to be?  Outside?  Inside with a good book?  With friends?  Singing at the top of your lungs to your favorite music? Whatever it is - seek it out.  Give today purpose.  Put some joy in your day.

Next time I promise to be less "deep" and give you some quilty-sewing eye candy (wink and smile).