How I deal with …

Life is like that. Maybe it’s like that because the economy in my part of the world bottomed-out about a year ago and seems be to be stuck there with no immediate signs of describable recovery. Maybe it’s more like that because we have seven kids, most of whom are adults, and most of whom are struggling just to put food on the table and pay the rent. Life is pretty overwhelming at times.

It’s not the first time ‘overwhelm’ has happened. We’ve survived it before and we’ll survive it again. I’ve come up with my own personal rules to stay well and strong so I can help my family (and friends) when they legitimately need me.

Rule #1. Get enough sleep. Sounds pretty basic, worth its weight in gold and will always be a truth. Nothing looks better or gets easier when I’m overtired. I’ll bet the same is true for you.

Rule #2. Eat well. Sounds pretty basic again. Stress demands nutrients. As tempted as I am to snarf down two giant chocolate bars in one sitting when the stress feels like it’s too much, I also know the pleasure of the chocolate will be short-lived, and the fallout from eating it will last much longer and will not be pretty.

Rule #3. Get exercise. A good, heavy, sweat-inducing, heart-rate-driving workout always makes feel like I’ve accomplished something worthwhile. Whether it’s a run in the park, a spin session on my bike in the basement, or pumping iron, the payoff is huge.

Rule #4. Gather my family and friends. I will admit that when all 18 of our progeny are together it’s a little much. The noise alone is enough for the neighbors to call the police (not that they have, but I’m sure they’ve wanted to), so we only do it a couple of times each year. I prefer to have the kids or friends over for dinner in small groups so we can chat, laugh, play games, and easily enjoy each other’s company.

Rule #5. Share what I’ve got. I may not have much materially, but when my kids or friends have needs that are bigger than mine, sharing what I do have blesses my heart, gives me joy, and makes their lives easier. It’s a win-win all the way.

As I said to Adult Child who is going through a really tough time, “It’s hard for all of us right now in our own ways, but if we stick together we’ll make it somehow.”

I’d love to hear your healthy ideas for dealing with overwhelm. Please share them!

6 thoughts on “How I deal with …”

  1. There is an expression in the 12 Step Program, “Trust God, clean house”. It was explained to me that there were things that were entirely in God’s hands, but there were also things I could do, hence a daily inventory. My husband says the bible tells us “it came to pass”, nowhere does it say it came to stay. Bless you and your family for all you do for others.

    1. Hi Phyllis. Thank you for your kind words! I’ve used ‘It came to pass, it didn’t come to stay’ for many years. That was how I got through university with roommates in on-campus housing. LOL. I really like your “Trust God, clean house.” I’ll have to start using that one! My other favorite is “Let go, let God”.

  2. Hi Judith,

    I am sharing a saying I heard that has really helped me to adjust to life’s challenges and curve balls.
    “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”.

    I also find it helpful to focus on my blessings. I once heard that happiness comes from wanting what you have and I believe this is true.

    Surround yourself as you said with the people that you love, also the things that make you smile from the inside out. Get lots of hugs everyday.

    1. Thanks, Brenda!
      So good to hear from you.
      I love that! Learn to dance in the rain.
      Counting blessings is another great point.
      Thanks for sharing these ideas.
      I think it’s safe to say we all get overwhelmed at times,
      and, really, sharing strategies for getting through
      those times and making the most of them is so helpful!

  3. Take a moment to breathe. Concentrate on your breath and breath in deeply, and slowly exhale.You can even do this sitting in traffic and it really helps reduce stress and makes you feel more centered. I like to recommend the four square method to start because its so simple- breathe in slowly to the count of four, hold for four seconds and exhale slowly to the count of four and repeat four times.

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