The Beast

I have seriously been staring at this screen for over an hour with my mind wandering a million different places.  I am so distracted today.  I guess I have a lot on my mind, and I am having trouble sticking to one topic in my brain.  I am thinking about things I have to do, a friend that I need to pray for who is struggling, and so many other random things.  It is like popcorn popping in my brain and every second a new thought pops in my head.  I wonder if that is what it is like for both my girls with ADHD struggling to stay on one topic at a time.  Sometimes on days like today, I wonder if they got it from me.  I feel like this happens around this time every year, though.  Life gets crazy busy and hectic during the winter months with competition season in full swing.  There is just so much to keep up with.  I have this constant feeling that I am forgetting about something important.  I try really hard to keep everything straight in my calendar, but I still worry that I will miss something.    I tell myself that it won’t be long until both girls are gone, and I will miss all this chaos.  When I am in the midst of it, though, I just want it to crawl into a hole and sleep until the season is over.  It’s a lot. 

It is times like this when I am distracted and stressed out that my anxiety kicks in.  Whenever I am stressed and have a lot going on like I do right now, I tend to take everything and elevate it to an emergency level when, in fact, it is something small and inconsequential. I get so wrapped up in whatever I am worried about, that I can’t focus on anything else. I think it has been getting so much worse as I get older. My husband tells me all the time that I am blowing things way out of proportion and that I worry about things for nothing. I know that he is right, but I don’t know how to stop my brain from automatically going to that high level of anxiety.  Once it is all over, I can usually see that I was stressing for no reason, but I just can’t seem to see that when I am in the midst of it.  I go into panic mode when something pops up that is out of my control or that throws a wrench into my plans.  I don’t like wrenches.  They cause too much chaos and make me feel like I am losing control.  I like control.  I thrive on control. I like to know what is coming and when, and I need it to all happen with no hiccups.  I don’t handle it well when things aren’t in my control.  I guess that is just part of my severely type-A personality.  I wish I could take a step back and breathe. I wish that I didn’t let those little hiccups get the best of me.  I try so hard to stop and refocus when I get all worked up, but I am not always successful.  I let things eat away at me.  It is something that I have struggled with my whole life.  No matter how many books I read, how many times someone tells me it will all work out, or how many times I try to settle my thoughts, I just cannot seem to stop the anxiety from creeping in.  I am thankful that my anxiety is not debilitating like it is for so many people, and it doesn’t get to the point that I can’t function.  It just adds extra stress to my life that I don’t need.  It probably gives me a few more grey hairs too! 

Why am I telling you all of this? I am telling you this so that you know that I am not perfect. I have struggles just like everyone else.  I am telling you this so that you know that you aren’t alone.  I am a work in progress, and sometimes I have bad days.  I am learning how to release the tension and let things go.  It isn’t easy, but I know that for my long-term health, I have to find ways to reduce the stress and anxiety that I bring on myself.  Prayer and meditation are things that I am trying to be more consistent about because those things tend to bring me peace.  Making lists, prioritizing, and checking things off also really helps me.  It allows me to see that I am making progress and makes me feel good about myself.  I think it is important to take the time to figure out what works for you to keep anxiety at bay.  Some people do Yoga to release stress and anxiety. Some run. Some close themselves off and take a moment to breathe and reset alone.  Some even turn to friends to help relieve stress.  Whatever works for you is what you have to figure out.  Just know that you aren’t alone, and you aren’t crazy.  

Anchored,

Refocus

Today is one of those days when I start to feel overwhelmed by all the things that have to happen in the next week.  There is so much to do and so little time to do it in.  To give you an idea of how overwhelmed I am starting to feel, I am seriously considering not going to my daughter’s high school gymnastics meet tonight so I can get stuff done. That is totally not like me.  I ALWAYS go.  Now, to be honest, she isn’t actually competing tonight so I technically wouldn’t be missing anything. She had a little fall and landed on her head on the beam yesterday, and her coaches are being extra cautious and not letting her compete.  She is totally fine, and I really do appreciate their caution.  Maybe it is a blessing in disguise.  She gets a night off to rest her body, and I can maybe get some things done.  As I have mentioned before, this month marks the start of craziness in our house. It really kicked off last week with the first gymnastics meet on Wednesday.  Then there was an event at the youngest’s school Friday night. I had two vendor events on Saturday as well as my oldest having her gym Christmas party that night. Then the cheer season kicked off with a showcase on Sunday.  Today we have the high school meet, and she has a club meet on Saturday.  Oh, and we have cheer competitions on Saturday and Sunday an hour away. My husband and I will be dividing and conquering.  All of that isn’t really what is causing the overwhelming feeling I am feeling today, though.  What really has me all worked up is that we leave in a week to drive to South Carolina to turn around and fly to the Bahamas the next day for another gymnastics meet.  That’s right, she has a competition in the Bahamas the weekend before Christmas! We fly back to South Carolina on the 23rd for Christmas with the family.  I don’t even want to think about packing for 2 different climates! Don’t get me started on Christmas gifts.  I am not finished, and I don’t know when I have time to finish. 

Remember my post last week about taking the time to stop and remember? I wanted to take time to enjoy the little moments and remember the whole reason for the holiday season.  I talked about not letting the stress and craziness of the season to get to me.  Well, it is getting to me.  I am not following my own advice! <hand to palm> I know that I totally sound like a hypocrite right now. That is the thought I had as soon as I reread the first paragraph of this post.   I am doing the exact thing that I said I didn’t want to do and that I encouraged all of you not to do.  I am being ruled by my to-do list and am totally stressing out.  I am letting it get in the way of living in the moment. The good news is that I have this blog to remind me of what I say; and it forces me to evaluate my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors on a regular basis.  I am certainly a work in progress. Today was a little setback that I almost let take over, but thankfully I just stopped myself.  My husband has been trying out meditation to help with his stress level and he says it is helping.  I just had the thought that maybe I should give it a try to see if it helped me.  I stopped, closed my computer, closed my eyes, and just breathed. I just focused on breathing for a few minutes, and then I consciously let go of the million things running through my head and all of the stress I was feeling. I chose to replace those stressful thoughts with positive thoughts.  Instead of thinking about all of the presents I still needed to buy, I started thinking about the time I would spend with those people I am buying gifts for. My time with them is so much more valuable than the gift I give them. I was reminding myself to remember just like I said I wanted to do last week.  I allowed peace to wash over me as I reminded myself of what is really important.  It actually worked.  As I opened my computer back up to continue typing, I felt completely different.  Just those short 5 minutes I took to stop, breath, and remember was all I needed to get back on track.  I refocused my thinking, and it made all of the difference.  I feel lighter and freer than I did 15 minutes ago. The meditation worked.  It changed the whole focus of my day.  

Now, I don’t know if it will make a difference in my decision to go to the gymnastics meet tonight or not, but it certainly made me feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I am also not saying that I won’t get those overwhelming feelings again tomorrow or even later today. I am almost 100% certain that I will.  I just know now that when it does happen again, I only need to stop and refocus. Maybe I will write REFOCUS on a note and stick it to my mirror to remind myself every morning to start my day by refocusing my thoughts and feelings to be more positive. Maybe my husband is on to something with this whole meditation thing every morning. If you are feeling overwhelmed especially during the holiday season, give it a try. Try to refocus yourself to the positive things in your life. Refocus and remember.

Anchored,