Monday, May 11, 2015

OVERwhelmed and UNDERcalmed (UPDATED)

It finally hit me today.  That dreaded OVERwhelmed feeling.  Yep, I knew it was coming and on it's way, but I thought it would wait a week or two. 

It was inevitable.

The month of May has always overwhelmed me simply due to the chaos and busyness of the end of the school year rush and the craziness that comes with that when you have kids.  But, this time it's different mainly because it's not only the end of the year, but also the beginning of a HUGE life change for my baby McKay...and his Mama. 

He leaves on a mission just 12 short days after graduating from high school and just 10 days after graduating from seminary. How is this done?  I am struggling with wrapping my head around it.  It seems more foreign than him serving in Russia. 

It's too much BIG stuff in too short of a time.  At least for me.  He seems to be doing fine with it, but he is a guy and they hide their feelings pretty darn well. 

And then if the emotional adjustment to all of that weren't enough, there is SO. MUCH. TO. DO. 

Getting a missionary ready is no easy task. I have done it twice so far but this time seems 10 times worse due his call to Russia and the fact that we have so little time.  Two months total once he opened his call.  Plus, I keep learning all kinds of things about his mission and instead of feeling more calm and at peace, I am getting more anxious and worried with each story I hear. 
But, since I am a seasoned veteran of being overwhelmed (hah), once I noticed it happening this time, I immediately went into auto pilot and started to do things that I have found in the past to help me calm down. 
First thing...


Breathing is such a simple thing that is often overlooked. I don't mean just regular breathing here. I mean DEEP breaths that fill your lungs and release the stress as you exhale.  It is amazing what a difference this makes.

The next thing I do is...

Talking to God and turning my burden over to Him is the best way to feel at peace quickly.  It's another simple thing that gets overlooked because of the easiness of the way.  But it never fails to work.

And finally I ...

Writing has always been great therapy for me.  It's the main reason I have a blog not to mention several million journals. Writing has been proven to release stress while in the process.  I believe as you get your stress out on paper, it finds a new place to dwell and leaves your body and mind. I write about my stress in my journal or I write a blog post (i.e. THIS one) and then I make lists of things that I need to do and that helps me see things as tangible and doable. 
So when I’m feeling overwhelmed and I’m not sure where to start I get to that list making! This allows me the chance to prioritize what’s most important rather than just starting with the first thing I see. Then I try and prioritize the list.  The goal is to do the most important thing first, or the thing I am dreading the most FIRST. 
Once I have accomplished the worst thing on my list for the day (i.e. that frog or two I really didn't want to eat so I kept putting it off even though I knew I would eventually have to eat it), then the rest seems so much easier.  It's always a relief to have that frog eaten and out of the way.  Croak....
If  I have 10 items (okay 100) on my list and there is that one that I am dreading because it’s more difficult or time consuming, I cannot feel at peace until it's done and out of the way.  Otherwise all I will think about is having to eat that frog and it weighs me down until it's done. It's amazing the energy boost I get when I get that dreaded frog out of the way.  I feel much less overwhelmed and accomplished.

The problem for me with this round of feeling overwhelmed is the fact that everything feels like a frog.  And none of those frogs are the cute little tree frogs that are easy to get down.  

Instead they all feel like those hideous huge hard to swallow bullfrogs.
 Well, this guy actually is kinda cute...must be the color.

I guess frog eating is similar to elephant eating...just one bite at a time.  Not good though when you have lost your appetite for frogs!

Here's some more great pointers I found online (that will encourage rather than discourage) and hopefully prevent the overwhelm from turning into an amygdala hiijack:

I'm feeling better already...

I will repeat this ↓ mantra each day until all those frogs have been eaten!
Just do it Jodi, just do it!

Frogs have had this figured out for a long time.  That's why they are so happy...they eat what bugs them!  Bwahahahaha
I really don't get it but I liked the photo...I thought it was ribbiting.

What are YOUR frogs right now?

UPDATE: After publishing this post, I realized that I left off two VERY important things that help me return to a calm and peaceful feeling that are maybe even more important than the three I wrote about it.  See what happens when you are overwhelmed?  You shouldn't write about it because you are so overwhelmed you lose half your brain!  These two things are probably what really makes things turn around for me.  How did I forget to add them?  Well, enough about how or why, here they are:

I get out and

When I am so caught up in my own worries and stresses, the focus tends to just stay right there which seems to make all those things build and magnify and seem even greater and larger than they are.  But when I take the time to leave my worries and stresses for a time and serve someone else - especially when I feel like I don't have the time for my own To Do List let alone someone else's - I am able to accomplish mine so much faster and everything just seems to fall into place.  It's amazing how much easier it is to get done what I need to when I take that focus off myself and put it on someone else for a time. 

And last but definitely NOT least...
I focus on 

I am such an advocate of the principle of gratitude because it truly does work like magic.  If I am   feeling stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, lonely, or any other myriad of emotions, if I STOP and focus on what I am grateful for, it's almost as if I snapped my fingers and viola...those feelings dissipate almost instantly!  It never ceases to amaze me how powerful gratitude is and what it does to bring us peace and comfort.  It's crazy how quickly it can change a bad day and attitude into a sunshiny glorious and happy day.  I am sure one day scientists will explain how it works, but until that happens I am just going with it and continue to be grateful for gratitude!  It really is a life changer!  A magical life changer.  Gratitude is one of the most important principles of our lives that we really need to embrace and use.  It is the fountain of happiness.  It truly is. 

Not sure how I left those two out....but we will chalk it up to marathon tapering madness this time. ☺ 


Dawn said...

I wish I knew how to help calm you and lessen your load pretty friend of mine!
You can do hard things...we all know will get through this and those steps are all good reminders of how....Trust in the Lord with all They heart and he will direct your path! ♥

Jodi Wilding said...

Thank you Dawn! And I will get through, just one frog at a time! hah I am sure I will look back and wonder why I was so stressed about it all. Might not be until he returns home and is safely in my arms, but someday I know I will. And I also know the peace will come because deep down I KNOW he is going where he is meant to be going.

Audrey said...

What an incredible post! You have no idea how much I needed that! Jodi, remember it will all work out. You have the Lord on your side. You are truly amazing.

Jodi Wilding said...

Thanks Audrey! It WILL all work out...I just need to plow through and have faith until that peace comes!


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