Archives for Coping
My life is pretty chaotic. It's the good kind of chaos, but chaotic nonetheless. A few monts ago I noticed that I'd been a little more stressed than usual and sharted this with a colleague. She suggested that I try meditating. MEDITATE? I almost laughed out loud. Let's be honest, I think my brain suffers from what I like to call "I can't shut down syndrome". I'd tried meditation before and it was an epic fail. I found myself picturing peaceful scenes only to be interrupted by my own random thoughts. I moved on to mantras that turned into thoughts ranging from what i was going to make for dinner to is it possible to count my eyelashes! Meditation was not for me, or so I believed
I am back from a small hiatus. It wasn't a planned hiatus - life just happened. Trust me, when it happened it happened up, down, around, and all over me. Have you ever had one those days, weeks, or months when those "life happens" moments just keep coming - one after another, after another, after another? Within a few weeks I had some health issues, some frustrations, computer issues, some disappointments, along with some genuine "are you serious?" moments. I have to admit, I temporarily lost my focus. All of those postive things I live by and write about went right out the window. Then I remembered that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
I was convinced I was dying. As a matter of fact, there was no way you could convince me otherwise. Oddly I accepted my fate and whispered to my husband "call 911, I'm dying". I was sweating profusely, I could feel my heartbeat in my neck and my pulse echoed in my ears. I couldn't breathe, my face felt weird, my hands were numb, and I was shaking like a leaf. EMS arrived and tried with all their might to convince me I wasn't dying, but I was convinced they just wanted me to die peacefully without a fight. After some deep breathing and close monitoring I realized I wasn't dying and was told I had an anxiety attack.
A few months ago a very good friend of mine said to me, "the majority of your frustrations are due to your unrealistic expectations." I didn't know how to feel about her statement. There I sat venting to her about the frustrations of my life, waiting for her to co-sign on my misery, and that's what she gave me. I have to admit that it stung a little, but I slowly began to realize it was the truth. My parents taught me to follow the Golden Rule - to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. This is something that followed me into my adult life. The funny thing is that I missed a very important piece. The rule is do unto others AS you would have them to do unto you. The reality is that you don't always get what you give.
I have to admit, I used to live by the motto: "Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?" Honestly, I still find myself thinking this way from time to time. American aphorist Mason Cooley stated, "procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder". So why do we procrastinate? For those of us who procrastinate, we may often find that in doing so, we create unnecessary obstacles. We find ourselves racing to meet deadlines, trying to find resources at the last minute, and struggling to complete tasks. Many of us hold the belief that we work better under pressure. While this belief may be true in some cases, it often creates more stress.
Earlier this week I challenged you all (and myself) to the 7 Days of Not Complaining. Well, the first day was an epic fail. I guess I shouldn't call it epic, but it was not so great. I have to be honest though, I believe I've gotten a little better every day since then, and I believe this is something I can get used to. For those of you who regularly check out my blogs, you know how I feel about the Serenity Prayer. For those of you who are new, let me tell you, I try to apply it to everything. This 7 day challenge has been no exception.
In the last week I've noticed something about myself that was a little concerning. Life has been happening, and it's been a little more chaotic than usual. Instead of taking it in stride, I've been complaining... a lot! I am not a chronic complainer. As a matter of fact, I usually find myself not only finding my silver lining, but finding it for others as well. This week, I've just been frustrated. When I get into a "funk," I usually remind myself that my gratitude determines my attitude. However, in all honesty, there are those moments that I'm truly grateful, but still discontent. I've decided I'd give myself a 7-day challenge. I'm appropriately naming it "Seven Days of Not Complaining." It will be really interesting to see how this goes.
This week was filled with unexpected events. It started with a trip to urgent care after my daughter felt the appropriate place for a green bean was in her ear. It was followed by unexpected illnesses, crises at work, and another trip to urgent care after my daughter’s face lost a war with a mosquito lurking in our car on the ride home. As we all know,“life happens,” and this week it taught me the importance of remaining calm in stressful situations and dealing with the unexpected. It’s not that any of the events I mentioned were particularly anything to pull your hair out over. It was simply the culmination of events compounded by the fact that I had too many other things that needed to get done. The green bean incident was in the middle of preparation of dinner. The illnesses were during a time I couldn’t afford not to feel well, and the crises at work took place when I needed to catch up on paperwork. So what do you do when life presents those unexpected events during a time you have planned to get other things done? Well, you can roll with the punches. You choose to get up and push, or lie down and die. However, there are some things you can do to alleviate the stress of the unexpected.
What would you do if you absolutely had to make lemonade with no sugar? I thought about this earlier this week. Personally, I’d start by making sure I had some lemons. Then I’d consider all things sweet that could mimic the taste of sugar. I’m pretty sure I’d come up with something close, even if it wasn’t “lemonade.” I know this is a random thought and a random way to start a blog, but let me fill you in on where it originated. I remembered a conversation I had with my dad. Frustrated and irritated, I called him one day to vent, and he asked me the age-old question: “Well Donna, what do you do when life gives you lemons?” As I took a breath between crying I managed to respond, “I don’t have any sugar.” He laughed, I cried some more, and eventually laughed with him.
My last two blog posts explored exercising and eating well for emotional health. Now that we've covered eating and exercising, this blog will explore relaxing for emotional health. Relaxation is your body's way of rejuvenating. Relaxing allows time for your mind and body to repair. It has also been shown that relaxing improves your mood and improves brain function and memory. I have found the importance of relaxation in my own life. I've discovered when I neglect finding time to relax, I do not perform as well in any area of my life. It's not that I don't like to relax, but in the midst of a chaotic schedule, I found it hard to find the time. Here are some ways I've learned to incorporate relaxation into my daily schedule. If you try them, you may find they work for you as well.