September 24, 2014

ch-ch-ch-changes (and stress)

A few months ago, I took a parenting class at my local library. There were a few helpful tips that I learned and overall, the class was positive, but one of the days we talked about stress. The teacher gave out a "stress test" and on it were about 50 different life experiences. We were supposed to go through the list and mark which of these things we had experienced in the last year. Each thing was given a numerical value and then we added them all up. The highest ranked things were death of a loved one, the addition of a family member, change of living situation, new job, loss of job, moving. This last year has been really rough. With David's last job, there was this constant state of "we might be moving to ______ (fill in the blank)". On top of that, we were living at my parent's house with all our stuff in storage and everything felt very temporary since we knew a move was coming at some point. Then we had a baby, I turned 30, David quit his job after getting a new one in Seattle and we picked up and moved our family here. Now we are looking to buy a house in this new city all while trying to get acclimated. It's a lot to take in.
The results of the stress test were supposed to show that if you had a number higher than 100 (if I took the test now, I would probably be in the 200 range), then you're at a great risk of getting sick. I've spent the last several weeks feeling like my body is getting really old and tired. I was getting almost zero sleep (half of that being from having a newborn who nurses all night long, and the other half of the night is from not being able to turn off the running "to do" list in my head). On top of that, I haven't been eating great and I'm feeling really weak from not moving my body enough. All those things were hard, but the hardest thing is feeling like my spirit and soul are run down.

Right before I had Louisa, I broke down in tears at my 38 week doctor's appointment when my OB genuinely asked me how I was doing. I was feeling so much stress and she asked me, "What can you change and what can't you change?" As I started to list the things I would do something about, she said, "Then let the rest of it go." I've been trying to concentrate on doing that lately and taking one day at a time. It has really helped to get organized. I have a million things that I need/want to get done and the list is sooooooo long. When I just think about it, I want to cry, but it has helped to write everything down and take one task at a time (plus, I get a lot of satisfaction from crossing off each simple task I finish).

The biggest thing that has helped is prayer. It's such a simple thing but it calms me and helps me gain perspective. Believing that there is more than this life and all the things that are unfinished on my to do list, gives me so much peace. Really, it doesn't matter if I still have boxes of unpacked picture frames in my living room or that I have a bunch of paper work to fill out. What really matters is that I am focusing on my relationships with my family and with God. Taking the time every day to meditate about what that means and concentrating on ways I can be more like Jesus Christ, are more important than having a cute house or getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Sure, my other goals are good too, but it relieves so much pressure to remember that those things don't matter. "This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now." - President Thomas S. Monson


  1. The quote you posted really spoke to me, it is so true. Thank you for sharing where you are at. I also find lists and the completion of those tasks to have some satisfaction.

  2. I wish I could hug you - you wise woman you! When are the 3 fairies with magic wands going to charge in and rescue us from our to-do lists already?!?! Until then, I guess I'll try to repeat "these are the good ole days" over and over in my mind as I get through stressful times, yoo :) LOVE YOU!!!!

  3. I'm so glad you have your faith! Prayer is so important.
    House hunting was the all time most stressful thing I've ever done - even harder than caring for my son's serious health problems. If you are new to the city, can you live there for a few months before looking for a home?
    It might push off some of the stress.
    God bless!

  4. Thank you for this post. I have just come out of two of the most stressful years of my life and boy, was it hard! Like you, I moved while pregnant, my husband started a new job where he had to travel and we had a lot of responsibilities with our church on top of just day to day life stuff. In the midst of it, I almost thought I might be losing my mind. I felt worn down in both body and spirit and at times felt like I just didn't have a handle on life or caring for my husband and 5 children. I spent a lot of time praying, made any changes I could to weed out stress inducers, and now I am finally seeing the light. It is truly amazing the effects that stress can have on the body. Just know, that eventually it will get better and in the meantime, I am praying for you AND your precious family! I know father God will be faithful to you and He is walking right beside you. :)

  5. I like your blog so much and think you are a fabulous mom and wife! My friend just posted this on her FB and I thought you might certainly do have your priorities correct :)


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