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I’m linking up again with Kelly’s Korner today as a part of the “Build ‘Em Up Series.”
I am a self proclaimed high anxiety person. I was actually diagnosed in high school with anxiety issues but have chosen to never take any kind of medication for it…instead I have to be constantly mindful of how full my plate is and be careful not to overload myself.
When I think of the term “unglued” I think of those times when my plate is too full. When things happen that push me over that edge of being able to hold it all together. I don’t like myself during those times. I become very antisocial with others and very tense all the time. I snap at my husband. I’m less patient with my children. And even the smallest of issues become huge mountains of tears!
The key to dealing with those times is to prevent them from happening in the first place. The way I do that? Limiting myself in what I do and commit to. I am blessed to be a stay at home mom but one of the major reasons that I’ve always been so passionate about staying home is that I KNOW, without a doubt, that my anxiety levels could not handle working outside the home. I know many, many women can successfully juggle work life and home life but I also know that I’m not one of those women. I know I’d come home cranky from work. I know that working would not allow me to give my best self to my husband and children! I seriously am in awe of my friends who manage to do both so well! I don’t know how you ladies do it!!!
Even though I stay at home, my plate still does fill up quick. I know many people probably think a stay at home mom shouldn’t be complaining about being overloaded with things to do, but it happens. I have always been a “yes” person and struggle with saying “no” especially when people ask me to help out in some way. Thankfully my husband is (sometimes brutally!) honest with me and helps me keep things in perspective whenever I’m presented with an opportunity that may result in overfilling my plate. Recently I had the honor of being asked to head up the social committee for our neighborhood! I was super excited about it as I LOVE planning events and know it’s something I’d enjoy! I also don’t have many friends in the neighborhood and I thought it’d be a good opportunity to meet new neighbors and such. I talked it over with Zach though and he quickly reminded me that it would be a lot of added work on me. That the neighborhood events I enjoy attending would become stressful instead of fun. That I already have a LOT going on and that committing myself to this wouldn’t benefit our immediate family in any way and could, instead, hurt it by “Mean Emily” showing her ugly head due to the stress or even potential drama associated with such a position. I prayed about it and thought about it and decided he was right. I declined on heading up the committee but did volunteer to help as a part of it! I’ve never been involved in anything like that before and know it’ll be a great chance to still meet new friends, still help plan events, yet not overload myself by being the one in charge and having so much responsibility!
In preventing myself from becoming unglued I also am hardcore in my scheduling. I am comforted by routine, structure, and knowing what to expect. When things don’t go according to plan or when things pop up that I’m not prepared for, that’s when that anxiety feeling is likely to come over me. So I plan. I have multiple calendars going and typically have things scheduled more than a month in advance. I’m the one to bring up making plans with all of our extended family too and have turned my go with the flow husband into quite the planner as well 😉 Babywise techniques and principles fit perfectly with my personality and I’m very passionate about keeping my kids on their schedules too! By having their day structured I can also plan my day and know I’ll have time for myself to partake in activities I enjoy which helps me stay true to ME 🙂
Another tool I use to keep from feeling unglued is drinking Spark. I know that sounds RANDOM but it’s SO legit. When I drink my daily Spark I am so much better able to focus and get things done without feeling that afternoon sluggishness or letting the rush rush rush of the evening time routine get me agitated! It’s like Mommy’s secret weapon 🙂
What about when that plate does overfill? When I do become unglued even in spite of my efforts to prevent it?
In high school when I would struggle with anxiety issues I’d go shopping. Oh the joys of being young and carefree and spending money I didn’t have to earn haha! Once I started living the broke college life I’d eat ice cream. While that’s a cheaper option than shopping, it’s def not a healthy route and I’m paying for that now 😉
The past couple of years I’ve been trying to find new ways to cope when I become unglued. I wish I was one of those girls who LOVED to exercise and who could sweat out my stress…but I’m not. Instead the best thing I’ve found has been getting away from the situation. If I’m overwhelmed with the kids one day then I’ll go outside when they are napping and just BREATHE. If Zach and I are arguing and it pushes me over that edge then I’ll go for a drive. Driving around and having a good cry is most of the time all I need to feel better. No shopping or ice cream needed. Sometimes I just need to get it out of me. Get that anxiety out and then I can be back to “Normal Emily.” Calming breaths, crying tears, venting to a friend, even writing a blog post. All of those things help me to calm down and refocus. Put things into perspective and be better able to prioritize everything I’m dealing with.
Another new find for me has been Christian music. I know many people LOVE Christian music but I grew up as a non-Christian so I’ve listened to top 40 stuff my entire life. It’s what I am used to and what typically would entertain me. As I grow in my walk with Christ I am feeling less and less comfortable listening to a lot of my old favorites. The language and the context of the songs is not something I think Jesus is proud of me hearing. I have started to listen to more Christian music and have found on those “me time” drives that it’s SUCH a blessing. Hearing songs about God and how much He loves us and how He can guide us through anything really helps me calm down and rely on Him instead of on ME. I find my self starting those drives angry and often crying out of being upset with someone else or outside circumstances and by the time I end the drive I’m feeling free from my anger and often crying because I see ways that I am in the wrong or how I need to do better in leaning on the Lord and letting Him guide me!
Often the “ungluedness” comes from overfilling my own plate. I can “say no” to things and can prioritize the items so I can better manage my stress levels. But a lot of the times my anxiety comes from things I cannot control. Financial worries. Medical concerns. Relationship issues. Etc etc etc. Those times are the times I NEED to lean on the Lord the most. Give those stresses and concerns to HIM instead of thinking I can handle it on my own. I often think about something I once heard in a Bible Study about how Jesus is sitting in our living room all the time. He’s just sitting there. Watching us as we rush around the house. As we overfill our plates. As we become unglued. He’s sitting there waiting. Waiting for us to SEE Him. Waiting for us to STOP trying to control everything and just SIT with Him. He wants to carry our burdens for us but we have to let him!
While I can do my best to control things, in the end I’m not in control of anything. I have to “give it to God” and let Him take control of all aspects of life. Doing that allows me to be free from anxiety and worry and to be that better wife and mother and EMILY that I strive to be! I am a work in progress and I”m thankful to be the daughter of a Savor who loves me and accepts me for all of my faults. I’m especially thankful that He’s always there to pick up the pieces when I become unglued and to put me back together 🙂
What are some the ways you cope when you become unglued??? How do you manage your stress when life feels overwhelming???