Lately, it has seemed as though I’ve had one problem after another, with no end in sight. When it rains, it pours…
I spend forty hours a week at a job that is beyond frustrating. I am a writer at heart, but my current profession, the one that pays the bills, is a school teacher.
The dream has been, for many years, to do this writing thing full-time and actually make a living doing so.
Until that glorious day becomes a reality, I’m left to drag myself out of bed every Monday through Friday and force myself to look on the bright side. It’s not that I don’t love teaching… I do. My students make me laugh, and feel pride every day. I have always been a teacher in some way, shape, or form since I was seventeen and began teaching ballet to five-year-olds. I get such a thrill when a child experiences success, in part, because of something I have taught them. Sadly, though, the stress and frustration, in recent years, regarding the educational system, far outweigh the feelings of joy I once had as a teacher.
As if that’s not enough, I have another squall I have to handle at home.
My daughter, who has Down Syndrome, has not yet accepted, our new puppy, Primadonna. Her fears and anxieties have been ongoing and it’s something I’ve come to realize I need to assist her with. Helping her to overcome her fears is one of my many jobs as her mom. Let me just say it’s chaos and the house is constantly an utter war zone. The two of them dictate every minute of my so-called spare time.
Yet another dark cloud looming overhead, is the fact that I am failing miserably at keeping up with the laundry, cooking, and cleaning. The dirty pile grows taller each day. The clean pile sits for so long that it’s a wrinkled mess of unacceptable choices. There are always dirty dishes in the sink. And between rushing through each day and a puppy in the house, the floor must be swept daily. There are quite literally just not enough hours in the day!
All of this has led to months on end of neglecting myself. Which led to frustration and sadness.
I found myself stuck in the tumultuous storms of day-to-day obligations. Meetings that should have been an email, analyzing data, family schedules, puppy training, taking care of a special needs child, making time for date nights with my husband, etc., all of which have left zero time for ME.
I stopped working out because I either didn’t have the time or lacked the energy. Rushing all the time from one responsibility to another I made a bag of chips or pack of cookies my go-to snacks, and because I didn’t have time for an actual meal, and justifying it by claiming ‘I didn’t eat today’.
When it rains, it pours.
I’ve uttered those words more often than I can count. I’ve prayed for all of these problems to be solved, for my struggles to become easier, and for my heartaches to heal. But, the times, although fewer than I’d like to admit, I was able to ‘let go and let God’, were the times I made it through to the other side with much less pain and a little more perspective.
I realized if I were to pull it off, I had to make major changes! No one else could do that for me. I have to do it myself. I cannot stop the downpour of trouble, but I can protect myself so that I don’t drown.
It was time for me to do the work!
I journaled my thoughts and feelings. (My journal is like a best friend. I tell her all my secrets, my heartaches, and struggles, and she listens and waits for me to discover my own answers.) I began to recognize the things, people, and circumstances that were standing in my way. I realized which aspects I had control over. I revisited my priorities and then, I created a plan.
I now make myself a priority. I made time in my schedule for daily exercise and eating whole, real, nutritious foods. Not only do I feel better, but it will improve my sleep, digestion, and energy level and reduce stress. I blocked out time to do all the things I love, the things that make my heart happy, like writing, reading, date nights, sitting by the ocean bundled up in the off-season when I rarely see another person, an hour, or two, at the salon, or a visit to the local coffee shop to write or get cozy with a great book.
I learned that the bottom line is I have to take care of myself. It is a lot easier to handle the storms of life after I have a great weight-lifting session, a superfood smoothie, and time to journal and pray.
Take good care of yourself. Be mindful of your mental and emotional health. Do the work. Make the changes necessary. Listen to your heart. Feed your soul. You cannot prevent the storms of life, but you can be well prepared to protect yourself from the damage.
Easier said than done, I know all too well.
As for me, I will continue to aspire to cease worrying, by following my heart and making myself a priority. I’m getting stronger physically and mentally every day. I work towards doing something amazing every day. I worry much less about the storms because my soul is learning how to ‘dance in the rain’.
If you’d like to read the entire story, you can pop on over to my other blog, Life with Faith, to read more about raising a child with Down Syndrome.