How I'm Managing Stress One Day at a Time
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Managing Daily Stress, One Step at a Time

I can't tackle it all at once, but I can take it slowly but surely. Maybe then, I'll win the race.

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Managing Daily Stress, One Step at a Time

I come from a family of worrywarts. We stress over every little thing, from where to go to dinner that night to how to hold an important conversation. We break even the simplest concept down to the granular level and analyze it under a too-intense microscope. It's in our veins and the only way that we truly know how to move forward with even a little bit of confidence.

For the most part, I've learned to manage this kind of impending anxiety. When I feel it creep in and threaten to sink into the very cracks of my foundation, I take action. I ramp up my quiet time, where I fortify my faith. I spend more time outdoors, surrounded by the pecan trees, blueberry bushes and muscadine vines that flank our property. I put down my phone and embrace my children more, looking them in the eyes and reminding them that I love them and it's all going to be OK.

This usually works. This kind of proactive, preventative activity helps quell major concerns and keep them at bay. Yet, there are seasons of life that are generally, as a rule, more stressful than others. I am currently living in one and finding daily peace has become a bit more challenging.

You see, we're in the process of selling our home and preparing to move into my in-laws' property while we renovate a family home nearby. The major, too-expensive construction project notwithstanding, the steps to even get the ball rolling seem insurmountable. First, we have to meet with our real estate agent to get our current home listed on the market. Then, we have to wait for someone to fall in love with it as much as we have and land somewhere near our asking price. Next, we have to move everything in our possession into a temporary storage pod, only taking out enough to fill the dressers and drawers at my husband's parents' house.

Yet, all of that aside, it's the daily minuta that's really complicated. We cannot sign our oldest up for kindergarten until we have officially completed the move, as it will change her school district. We have to come up with a final price at which we will buy the family property in limbo. We have to tell our neighbors that we're leaving and negotiate the sale of the back field that we currently share with them. We have to get our house show-ready with two toddlers under five underfoot.

Then, we have major issues with the new family property that must be addressed before we can start the massive renovation. The house needs a new roof. It isn't heated or cooled because the system is kaput. It hasn't been lived in for almost five years and is a state of disrepair. Before we can knock down walls and replace the drywall, we have to take care of those kinds of issues first, all of which will cut into our already razor-thin budget.

So, if I look at the challenges that await before me, I can grow weary almost instantly. I can see these mountains and feel as though they're insurmountable. In many ways, they are. If I tried to scale all of them at once and on my own, I'd surely stumble and not make it more than a few steps. That's why I've found strength in my community and my family members. I've learned how to ask for help when I need it and find resources that can carry me through when I feel like giving up.

I've learned that delegating bathtime duties to my husband while I soak myself in a tub full of bubbles doesn't make me weak. It attests nothing to my character if I retire at 8:00 p.m. as soon as the children go to bed. Sure, I need more than my usual amount of coffee to propel me through the day these days. I need one-on-one time with my husband to speak to an actual grown-up and share my concerns with someone who can listen.

Most importantly, I need quiet time for reflection and restoration. If I try to take on the year's stress all at once, I know I'd fall short of the task. Yet, when I take a look at the steps I need to take each day, then focus my energy on those alone, I feel more equipped and capable. Will it all get done? Eventually, but not today. For now, I'm only responsible for making sure the tasks that lie before me are accomplished and that the people I love feel my adoration. The rest will fall into place, I'm sure of it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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