If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed that the entries have been farther apart the last few months. There’s a good reason for that. We’ve been doing a pretty big remodel on our house, and our life has been more than a bit chaotic since early November. In fact, there have been many times when it’s been mass pandemonium in our little corner of the world!
At first, I tried hard to keep my entries on schedule, but I quickly came to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up the pace without putting a lot of stress on myself. Since I specialize in working with my Santa Barbara clients on learning healthy ways to manage stress, it’s a good idea to have my own act together. Who wants to go to an overwhelmed, frazzled, stressed-out counselor for help with stress management!!
When I sit with a client and talk about the necessity of self-care, I’d better not be saying one thing and then doing another when I go home. To be congruent — and to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally, I need to make self-care a priority in my life too. Part of self-care is learning to let things go, when the situation warrants it.
We need to know ourselves well enough to know how much pressure we can optimally handle. There’s no way to completely escape stress. It’s a part of daily life, but we each react to stress in our own individual way. For me, I do best when stress is kept at fairly low levels. I love it when my life is quiet, peaceful, and calm. I can handle high stress for short periods of time very well, but if it continues over a long period of time, it begins to take its toll on me. When I start having symptoms of stress exhaustion, such as trouble sleeping, problems focusing on the task at hand, getting confused about scheduling issues, and/or feeling irritable, I know that it’s time to lower my stress level and increase my self-care activities.
I don’t know how many of you have had the experience of living in a house while there’s major construction going on, but it isn’t a pretty picture! There’s constant noise, commotion, and strange people going in and out from early morning until early evening. Nothing is in it’s place, so you’re always looking for things– things which seem to be nowhere to be found. For us, part of what we were doing was replacing our kitchen, so even figuring out how we were going to eat each day was a major feat. Then there was the cold! Even though we live in sunny Santa Barbara, it can get chilly in the winter, when part of your house is pretty much open to the elements. You can’t heat the whole outdoors, so that means you don’t even try using your heater — for weeks on end. I could go on and on, but I think your imagination can fill in the details.
So for me to stay relatively relaxed and reasonably sane, I had to make some changes on how I went about doing things. Being there for my clients wasn’t negotiable, but how often I published blog entries was completely up to me. I love writing this blog! I love hearing your thoughts about things that I’ve written! I want it to continue to be something that I enjoy — not something that I have to do. My decision was to keep writing it during our remodel, but to have fewer entries and have them farther between.
Our remodel is almost done now, and I’m feeling really good about the whole thing. I managed my stress in the middle of chaos by controlling what I had the power to control. Give it a try the next time you’re standing in the midst of mass pandemonium! You’ll be glad you did!
Until next time,