Like most people, I have to fight the urge to complain. When things get more and more difficult, I just want to vent about all of the things that make me feel like I am going to lose it big time.
Lately I have noticed something: venting doesn’t help all that much.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is super important to have friends and family to confide your troubles to, that is healthy. What I have found to be counterproductive for myself, however, is searching for opportunities to vent to my husband, or mentally writing Facebook posts (that I never publish) about how dang hard life is right now. These type of mental habits are essentially negative feedback loops which are training my mind to be on the lookout for more things that suck, driving me even more nuts.
Instead of building such negative mental habits, I would rather take inventory of the things that are saving my sanity right now.
Reading: I’ve made no secret about it, I LOVE to read. Immersing myself in a good story, or learning new things feeds my soul and recharges my batteries. Fiction can offer a wonderful escape from the never ending dance of laundry, dishes, cleaning and diapers, while non-fiction can offer me tools to better understand the world and others.
Writing: Perhaps even more than reading, writing puts me in a state of flow where I am completely absorbed in the task at hand and deriving great enjoyment from it. Shaping words and phrases, molding them into the form I desire, its rather like being a child at play, totally engrossed in their work. I may not always like the end product, but the process is very relaxing.
Side note: Does anyonelse have arguments with characters that they are creating in their heads? I just started a short story yesterday, and one of the characters keeps being a real snot. I keep scolding her, but unfortunately she don’t seem to be listening. . . that’s not how her character is supposed to play out!
Prayer: Though I haven’t been doing enough of this as of late, it has helped immensely in calming anxieties.
Babysitting: My sister has been staying with us for the past few weeks. It has been so nice to be able to do things like grocery shopping without two little ones in tow. I swear they tag team sneaking things into my cart. In addtion my husband has been watching the kids for an evening about once a week so I can get together with friends AND have conversations with complete sentances. It has been wonderful.
UPDATE: The kids and I have a GI bug today. Help has been indispensible. On that note, lets add disposable diapers to the list of things saving my sanity.
Date Nights: Man are these helpful! I crumble quickly without enough time with my beloved. It is hard to make the time for these, but man are they worth it!
Counselling: This one can be embarassing to talk about, but I wanted to share in case it helped others get the push they needed to seek help. About once a week I have been going to a counsellor for treatment of moderate chronic depression and a mild anxiety disorder. For months I was too proud to seek help, thinking that because I haven’t been through any huge trauma, that I should be able to handle my problems just fine. I was wrong.
At counselling I have been able to get an outsider’s perspective, learn techniques for controlling my biological reactions, and work on changing the negative mental scripts that I have been using for years. Slowly but surely, things are getting better.
Friends: I have been abundantly blessed with a group of close friends. Most of us have few (if any) family members in the area and we have become each other’s support network. These are friends who know they can stop by whenever, to share a beer or glass of wine and just hangout. They are ok with the toys strewn all over the floor and the half naked toddlers running around. They even help me clean things up! We can and do call each other when we need a hand, or emotional support. I can’t imagine life without them.
Hat tip to Anne from ModernMrsDarcy.com for sharing the idea a few months back in her newsletter about looking for the things that are saving your sanity. I had started writing this post back at the begining of the month. I am glad I didn’t finish it when I had planned, because Anne is hosting a linkup today for people to share what is saving their sanity right now. Check out her post and the link-up at her blog!
What is saving your life/sanity right now? Tell me about it in the comments!
Also, on a personal note, I would appreciate it if you could spare a prayer or two for me tomorrow. I have a doctor’s appointment where I will get some test results back; it is most likely nothing too serious, but the possibility of a thyroid tumor or Hashimoto’s disease was mentioned at the last appointment. Thanks!
Great list! Hurrah for evenings “off”! . . . I went to counseling for about 12 months, several years ago. Having a baby seemed to unearth a lot of issues. I graduated out of it, but I wonder if I should go back some time. We’ll have to talk some time about which counselor you’re going to and what it’s like.
“Having a baby seemed to unearth a lot of issues.”
Yep. Same here. Dealing with increased stress levels on little sleep amid huge hormonal fluctuations, taxed me quite a bit, it brought out all sorts of things that had been brewing for a while unbeknownst to me.
Would love to catch up and talk about it more some time!
<3 The little support group we have as friends is a major blessing. Thanks for your openness with your personal issues. If I can ever get over needing to get to bed in the 8 o'clock hour, I'll be adding my story to the list of blogs that might inspire others to seek help.
I hear you about early bedtimes. Most nights I have been passing out by 9. Look forward to reading your post whenever you get the chance to write it. God Bless!
Friends are very important when there are no family members close by. When I was raising my older kids, I had a friend with whom I shared almost daily sanity checks. Another outlet was a “mothers of young children group” that was established at my church. We had meetings at the church biweekly and met at various parks alternating weeks. We did pay a small fee to cover babysitters. There were speakers on a variety of subjects: pediatricians, family vacation information, pampering ourselves as mothers – as we tend to put everyone’s needs first. We had a “mom’s night out” once a month.
That sounds like a great mothers group! There is a women’s group at our church, and a few other mom’s groups. I should look into joining one. Thanks!
This is a great list. A huge amen to the babysitting. Hope you all are feeling better!
Thanks Anne! Thanks for hosting!