Do you let stress rule your life?
I think I have allowed this to happen for as long as I can remember. It hit me smack in the face today as I tried to balance the demands of, what’s it called again… oh that’s right, life. Today it was a financial hit. Lets face it, being a single “person” is hard. This doesn’t matter if you’re a single mom or dad, empty nester or haven’t walked the path of parenthood yet. Sometimes life surprises you, turns things sideways, and you are left to try and straighten it all out.
Having bought a house a year ago, I am slowly learning the demands that come with ownership. The daily maintenance, basic household needs and who can forget the holes in the screen because said five-year-old thinks its “fun” to throw toys out his bedroom window. Yes, that really happened. Haha. Let’s just say, I’m not so sure he will do that again. Whatever it might be, life can get us stressed and sometimes is really hard to hold your $hit together and role with the punches.
Here’s the interesting part. What happens when you start to change your mindset about how you see things? What happens when you put effort into seeking out the lesson, working your way through problem and looking at what the moment is trying to teach you? I don’t like to admit that I have had to do my fair share of redirection over the last couple of years. Haven’t we all? ahemm, COVID. No, we can’t truly turn lemons into lemonade without some additional ingredients, but they can be the foundation of a really good margarita.
Jokes aside, how we perceive things truly does change life and how we live it. Today as I sat to do bills, balance my my account and prep for the week ahead, it was daunting to see all of the changes needed. Horseback camp, tires, school clothes and supplies, childcare, oil, yep, yep and yep. I can’t say I know how I would have reacted previously, but what did hit me is today, is I took a deep breathe, looked at the situation, and held onto what I needed to be grateful for.
This didn’t come easy and it certainly didn’t happen over a one day, one week or even one month timeframe but if you put the work in, you get the rewards when you least expect them. Over the last year or… maybe three, I made a conscious choice to work on myself. I wanted to live a better and more wholesome life. I wanted to seek the rewards of all that I have been given, and really lean into the moment. When I made the decision to leave my marriage, I immediately sought the support of a counselor. I was one of the lucky ones who found an amazing match on the first try. Through counseling I navigated the road of divorce, a global pandemic, job change, house purchase, etc. etc., and now to the rebuilding and starting over of what I want and get to make of this beautiful life.
I have more journals filled with random thoughts much, of which probably don’t make sense right now but I am sure would make a good read. I have worked with a life coach who pointed me in the right direction to identifying my core values, strengths, desires and boundaries. Effort has been put in to remain physically fit and active, even during the times I REALLY haven’t wanted to or didn’t think I could find the energy.
Not to long ago I didn’t think I would be able to, yet again, climb out from the dark cloud I felt like I was under. Anxiety still often gets the best of me. A residual of the life I used to live, but this too, I know I will work through and it will pass. Life is funny how it works out when you put the effort into it. It’s easy to look at someone else’s life and see what you wish to see, to hear what you wish to hear and believe what you wish to believe. One of the hardest things to do is to look at our own lives through a non-judgemental lense, and tell ourselves that we are in fact ok. I am living proof that if you say it enough you will get there.
In the moments of stress these are the things that have helped me:
- Journal. Daily. Yes, it is bothersome, occasionally time consuming, but reflection, release and observation really does take the heat off.
- Identify you values. Out of all the values in the world what are your top ten? What means most to you and focus on them. What are mine? Loyalty, trust, honesty…
- Make a bucket list. A tangible realistic one. Like of course I am going to sit on the patio at Fratello’s with Tim McGraw and enjoy a delicious martini. Um No. But I may go by myself, with peace and quiet and not interruptions. I know small but a win, win in my book. Live. Do what YOU want to do.
- Write affirmations on your mirror. Tell yourself you are beautiful and strong. You are determined, loved and amazing. I don’t care if you don’t believe it when you write them. You WILL someday, I promise!
- Drink a full glass of water when you wake up. Drink another one before you go to bed. No you will not pee your pants, unless you are like myself, don’t jump on a trampoline after having children. Ok, I know TMI, but you laughed and many of you understand. Ha.
What is my point? Life is short. I have walked around this world for the last year with my head up my a$$ going through the motions letting someone, or something else determine my mood and my value. Say what?! When did I become that person. Today, as I sat down to do something that I do once a week, I finally realized just how much the hard work on myself has paid off.
I wish I could tell you that it will happen overnight it won’t. Change is HARD, really freek’n HARD but if it’s something you really want you WILL get there. Don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes, set backs, challenges and things you wish you could have done differently. (I know, I should follow my own advice) but here’s the deal. In every event that happens in life there is a lesson should you choose to want to see it. We will never LOVE all of the lessons we are taught, BUT if we so choose they will lead us to exactly where we are meant to be.
When life is hard, it feel daunting. It is overwhelming and honestly for me during those moments it feels like the hard will NEVER end, but then it does. Don’t give up. Don’t give up on your dreams, your ambitions, yourself. For far to long I as a women, nurse, mother, wife and friend have put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. What was the message I was sending the world? More importantly my children. Put everyone else’s needs before your own and you get what is left… the crumb. Yep, no thank you. When I started to understand that if I focused on myself and made myself better than all the other pieces would fall in place and in turn improve as well. You may not agree with me and that is ok, we can agree to disagree.
I am sure there will continue to be hard days, stressful and overwhelming days. I will yell at my kids (well not really, my speaking firmly is “yelling” per their account) no they would not like to live in your house if you’re a yeller, because let me tell you I am “the meanest mom around” Quote, Maddi. But today, seeing all that I had in front of me and all that I had on my plate, it was pretty awesome to sit, turn and pivot and know life always has a way of working out.
Lean into the challenge. Ask yourself, is this really a problem? Can I solve it? Is it out of my control? Can I ask for help? As living proof take one step at a time. It’s true what they say, focus on the first step of the staircase, you will get to the top one day and how long it takes you to get there gets to be your own journey, but you WILL get there. Break your challenges into little pieces. Speaking of break, take one and DO NOT feel guilty about it and come back to it later. No I will not miraculously make more money, fall into a trust or win the lotto, but we have what we need and I know that with a turn and pivot, some effort and consistent faith it will all work out. I also know, that when the day is done, much of my worry truly won’t matter.
Cherish the moments that do and the things that are within you control.
With love and light ❤