I didn’t write a post last week. The desire to write hadn’t left me, but the old familiars of stress and overwhelm were knocking on the door. My focus has been gradually ebbing (over quite some time to be honest) and I felt confuddled . And then I read Renee’s post yesterday, about acknowledging our feelings. And I knew.
I need to take a breath. To recognise that life right now is not really in the ‘normal’ category. That it is ok for some things to have fallen down the list of priorities. The things that overwhelm us are generally the things that we don’t acknowledge or give enough credit to in our lives.
For me right now it’s the building work going on at our house, now 4 months in and about half way through. It was going through the process of making the choice to move our daughters to a different school and adjusting to the change. Some things can’t be avoided or ignored.
I haven’t been hiding it, but I wasn’t really admitting that these things were that big a deal. But yes they are.
Life events = stress
Having you whole house turned upside down by the builders while still trying to live there, not having your own space and privacy, despite a really good builder, is invasive. Trying to constantly make decisions and choices about where things go or what finishes to use (for a person who is notoriously bad at decisions) takes its toll.
And the emotional weight of trying to decide what is best for your children when you realise they are not thriving at school and you have a fundamental difference of opinion with the headteacher, but you wonder if out of the frying pan is going to lead into the fire?
Life events come in every shape and size. Moving house, having children, the death of a loved one, a difficult choice, new jobs, new school, new relationships. Change. We know this don’t we?
It’s easy to brush over these in the everyday. I get on and deal with events, but I haven’t accounted for the stress they cause me. But I can trace the difficulties I am having in other areas back to the stress that these events have brought with them. And everything makes so much more sense.
Inside the event, inside your life, getting on and living it, it is easy to get stuck. You just keep going on the hamster wheel and hoping that it’s all going to turn out right.
Putting stress in the corner
But along the way the burden can be heavy. The difference between coping and not is being able to recognise the burden. It’s ok to want to put it down sometimes and just be yourself. To garner the strength to pick it up again.
This is where self-care comes in. Rubbing your metaphorical shoulders and stretching your arms. Instead of crouching lower and lower under our burdens sometimes we need to consciously put them down in the corner and rest.
Think of that imagery. Crouched over, looking down, all you can see is the floor. But when you can be upright, you are able to look all around you, properly assess what is going on. That is why taking a break is so important.
Last week I lit candles in the evenings for the beautiful light they provide, and that ‘hygge’ feeling. That helped. I went to bed early. That helped too. At the beginning and end of the day I try to focus on what is going to and has happened. That helps . The ‘three things’ to do list is a good starting point. Simple things help us put our burdens down.
Are you good at recognising when the stress levels are rising? What do you do to put down your burdens and refresh yourself?