I have a very busy couple of weeks coming up. Busy is always a bit tough for me because I desperately need time alone to recharge, and with more on my calendar, that simply gets harder to do. These next few weeks also have several things that I know are going to trigger some stress and anxiety. And with that comes lots of nasty depression symptoms and a general inability to react in emotionally healthy ways.
In the span of two weeks or so, I will have enjoyed (endured?) all of the following:
- A weekend away, which is always a stressor with the kids. Sharing a hotel room with three kids? Not exactly a fun time, especially with managing the noise and the jumping. Always with the noise and the jumping!! Why is it so hard for them to understand that there are people all around us???
- A celebration with my husband’s family – which isn’t a difficult thing in and of itself, but there are definitely some triggers there in terms of my view of myself and my role in the family.
- Not one, but two functions at the kid’s schools. Normally one of those in the span of a month, like lunch with my daughter, would take a lot out of me. But two? That’s asking a lot of my critical self.
- Visits with each of my sisters. Like me, they have more than their fair of Stuff from my mother and my parents’ obliviousness to emotional health. But yet they’re not like me in that I’ve spent more hours than I can count in therapists’ offices wading through the crap so that I can function better and maybe be healthy. Time with them usually drains me because I want them to understand what I now understand, and to help them see things differently – but that’s not for me to do. They have to travel their own journey – IF they choose to do so. It’s frustrating for me. Also, I get tired of how they never care enough to reach out to me except when they need something.
- The arrival of a new puppy! Yes, we’re getting a dog (again). This is both exciting and terrifying for me. It’s a well thought out decision for us, and I do think that now is the right time – but it scares me nonetheless. What if the addition of One More Thing on my plate ruins whatever delicate balance I might now be developing?
I’m sure I’m missing something but that’s the general gist of my next few weeks. I can say all of it now very flippantly, but I can see the potential for all of this to be a sharp turn up ahead that I can’t manage. And, like many of us, I fear that this curve might be the one that really throws me off the road, that takes away whatever progress I think I’ve made recently.
So what to do? Normally I would stick my head in the sand, becoming more and more anxious until I’m in reactive mode. I suppose I have to admit that this hasn’t exactly worked for me, despite my repeated attempts. 🙂 I need to manage things differently this time.
First, I guess I give myself some kudos for recognizing these stressors in advance and for trying to be proactive about managing them. This may be second nature for many but this is a new approach for me. I want to avoid reactive mode and then spending crucial emotional time and energy wading through the aftermath.
I guess the next step, then, is to figure out what tools I can use to help. Sufficient sleep, exercise, healthy eating, mindfulness. Maybe self-compassion too.
But I still end up wondering what else I could be doing to prevent me from driving off the road. What do you do when you recognize difficult times ahead?