Yesterday I shared a video on Facebook that had resonated with me.
As a woman with three young children, a high-pressure career, and countless responsibilities, I constantly feel as though I am just holding it all together. As a kid, camp required us to jump into a pool wearing shoes, jeans, and a button up shirt – and tread water for some ridiculous amount of time while transforming our clothing into flotation devices. I was a pretty great swimmer, yet I still remember thinking, “What if I can’t get these heavy, wet jeans off and no one realizes I am drowning? We are all failing around half sinking…where is the threshold for requiring help?”
Nowadays, when I look around at other moms, I realize most of us are kind of swimming through life, being pulled down by wet jeans as we try to grab onto anything around us that might keep us afloat. We might look like we are doing everything perfectly on the outside, but the truth is that most of it is illusions. We moms need to see through the illusions, or we are just going to pile more weight on ourselves.
When my girlfriends came over the other day, one of them mentioned the video I shared above. We wondered as a group – if we could just put down the glass, wouldn’t we? We realized we need to learn how to do something as simple as put away stressful thoughts at the end of the day. If it was easy, we would all do it. However, many of us are bringing the day’s stress with us to bed – carrying it for weeks upon weeks until it finally weighs us down so completely that we are utterly exhausted.
I have several techniques I use to push away stress.
As a child and teen, I read and drew.
As a college student, I rowed.
In my 20’s, I spent lots of time with friends.
Now, I garden and craft. Sounds simple, by there is something about being covered in paint or dirt that makes life simple. I feel accomplished: I finished the project. I grew a vegetable.
Recently Chick-fil-A sent me a coupon to try their new Spicy Southwest Chicken Salad for Mother’s Day and instead of tossing my bowl in the trash when I finished, I poked holes in the bottom, filled it with potting soil, and sprinkled my heirloom basil seeds there to germinate.
When after several weeks they emerge from my DIY seed starting container, I will relocate the most viable ones, feeding our family throughout the summer. Then, to harvest and dry the flowers once again, to begin the whole process again next summer. You can see why it is cathartic.
I also cut off the bottom of the kid’s meal lemonade cup, poked holes in the bottom, stuffed it in the top of a mason jar, and used it to plant some seeds for my mom.
This Mother’s Day I encourage you to explore the activities that help you put away your stress. Try to make time for them, as a less stressed you will be better for all of those around you.
I’ll try if you try.