rambling thoughts…

I’m a planner, in case you haven’t figured that out yet. I pretty much do anything to make sure that my plans aren’t changed.

The plan was to start graduate school this summer. I didn’t get in. That plan isn’t happening. And it’s scary.

I’m taking a year “off” in order to take a few more classes, work, and do some volunteer work. But I can’t help wondering, “What if?” What if I do all of this and don’t get in again?

As you may know, I believe everything happens for a reason. And as much as I hate to admit it, I know that things are going to happen the way that they’re supposed to happen; no matter what I do, if things aren’t supposed to happen, then they’re just not going to happen.

All of that is rambling, I know, but that’s the way things happen in my thoughts, and I’m still trying to sort through them myself. All it’s doing in the mean time is causing stress.

I’ve been researching a back up plan to try and help ease my anxiety about going through all of this, but sometimes I wonder if that is just adding to the stress and making it all worse. I can’t figure out the balance between “giving up” on my dream of being a PT and being reasonable about the options that are being presented to me in other areas. How do I know if these other opportunities are the ones that I’m supposed to take?

Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out an answer to all of my questions, and I’m not sure that there is going to be a clear answer. That’s what scares (and stresses) me even more.

Something that’s helped to get me through all of this is simply writing things down. I start lists of things I’d like to do. I sit and daydream about what my life might be like if I were to become something other than a PT. I focus on the positives that could come out of those situations, and I keep track of those things. I have a list of things that got me interested in becoming a PT. With those, I am looking for a “back up” plan that would allow me to achieve most of those goals, or goals that are similar. And, of course, all of that is in writing. Maybe there’s a better way to do it, but that’s all I’ve figured out… for now.

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Natural vs. Unnatural

Stress. It’s a crazy thing.

Last week my hometown flooded in a matter of minutes. When I was home over the weekend, I was shocked to see the damage first hand. Sure, I had seen the pictures on line and in the news, but to see something first hand is different. They said the creek that runs through the center of town rose 5-6 feet in less than 30 minutes. That’s crazy!

I couldn’t help but notice the damage in our small park, one of the central parts of our small town, and located right next to the creek. I saw picnic benches overturned, soccer goals hung up on trees at the opposite end of the park, among many other things. Even a culvert pipe was hung up on the new bridge, and no one seems to know where the pipe came from! What struck me the most was that the majority of damage seemed to be to “man-made” objects, to the things that we placed in the park to make it more functional and enjoyable. Throughout all of the damage, I only noticed one tree that was pulled out of the ground.

And it got me thinking…

We are natural beings, if you will. We add unnatural things all of the time… clothes, makeup, cars, accessories, etc. The stresses of life constantly change the “unnatural” things in our life.  For example, one morning on the way to work you’re exhausted and not paying enough attention, you end up totaling your car. It’s easily replaceable and the scratch on your head heals. A couple of months later, you’re still not sleeping well and fall asleep on the drive home from a long conference. Your car is not only totaled, but this time you’ve got some more serious injuries and spend some time in the hospital.

I know that this is an extreme example, but I hope you’re seeing where I’m going. Stress wears on you, just as it wore on that tree in the park that was uprooted. It is crucial to take care of yourself and of your stress before it takes care of you.

Our quaint, little park was closed last week, and I couldn’t get a good picture of anything (stupid crutches…), but I did go out to the creek behind my house and take a few pictures that hopefully illustrate my point. Take care of yourself.

A big thank you goes out to my little sister for taking me out on our four-wheeler and helping me to take pictures.

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You can tell on this side of the tree that it is strongly rooted in to the ground. It stands strong and tall.

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On this side of the tree you can see that the water (stress) has eroded away at the roots. It still stands strong and mighty, but not nearly as strong as before all the stress exposed the roots.

 

 

 

 

help yourself to help yourself.

I was having trouble coming up with something to write about this week. This is a busy time of the semester as it is, and I am still fighting this foot injury. So I googled “stress” and I clicked on one of the links. The beginning of the article states, “We generally use the word “stress” when we feel that everything seems to have become too much – we are overloaded and wonder whether we really can cope with the pressures placed upon us.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

…but what does that really mean?

Stress truly causes different reactions in everyone. For me, it means trouble sleeping, over eating, procrastination (avoidance), muscle tension, tension headaches. Which leads to irritability, weight gain, trouble keeping up with assignments, soreness, and just plain crabbiness. I once had shingles, which the doctor attributed to stress.

Not so fun.

Stress is a really controlling thing, so fight it back by taking control of it. Not everything can be controlled, I know, but a lot of it truly can. Help yourself to help yourself.

Here are some ways to help deal with stress. Find what works for you.

Ebb and Flow

I have had an interesting semester, to say the least, and it has been chock full of challenges. I have had to keep reminding myself that things will get better. On Monday, they started looking up. Today, not so much. I’ve been cursing myself up and down because I feel like so many of the things that have gone wrong, I should have done something to prevent them from happening. “Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, right?” As usual, though, so many of them are out of my control that its silly that I’m so stressed out.

I just saw a picture on Facebook with an extremely long quote, but only part of it was relevant to me. It hit me hard, though. What I took from it was this: If I didn’t experience all of these challenging situations, I would take advantage of every other day that is “good”. I have to experience the bad to truly be able to experience the good.

This doesn’t destroy my stress or change anything that has already happened today, but it does put a small smile on my face. I’ve had some really great times in my life, and I’m looking forward to many more. To get there, I just have to endure through days like these.

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No pressure, No diamonds.

 

Balance

I could kick myself for falling and breaking my foot seven weeks ago. Yes, you read that right. It’s been that long and I’m STILL incapacitated. Something that I’ve been struggling with throughout this entire process is balance. balanceMore specifically balance between mental and physical health. Problems with both aspects of health are stressful. If you feel crappy or are injured, it’s hard to get anything done. If you’re upset or down on yourself, it’s also difficult to complete tasks.

I have been told many times by my doctor (and my family and friends) to stay off my feet as much as possible, keep my broken foot elevated and iced. I’ve been told this so many times that it’s like a broken record constantly playing in my head, “Go sit down, Anna.” “Ask for help when you need it.” “Be careful today, Anna.” I’m sure that they all wanted just that to happen, just so I won’t EVER forget it.

My struggle with this is that I still have a million things that I have to do every day. Well, maybe not literally one million, but it seems like it. Part of my daily responsibilities includes keeping my apartment clean and tidy, which is not something that I can do while sitting on my bum all the time. It’s not so much a responsibility as it is a stressor. I hate messiness. BUT, I’ve been a good girl and have listened… mostly.

I had been putting off doing my dishes for an embarrassing amount of time because 1. I hate doing dishes, and 2. I wasn’t really supposed to be standing for any length of time. Wednesday was a stressful day. I walked in to my kitchen to get a glass of water, took a look at my counter, and I lost it. So I just started cleaning. And cleaning. And cleaning. It probably wasn’t the best thing to do for my foot (and I have been feeling the repercussions since then), but at the same time, I felt like a HUGE weight had been lifted off of my chest.

Now I know you’re saying, “she’s lost it again within her ramblings…” but I haven’t. Well, maybe I have, but I have a point. All functional relationships have give and take, including the relationships within yourself. I had to forgo some of my physical health in order to mentally feel better. AND IT WORKED.

Not everyone is in my situation, and maybe yours is reversed. listWhat I want you to do is to think about what is bothering you or stressing you out, make a list and leave it in front of you. Take your pen and cross off the things that you absolutely have NO control over. Pick something simple on your list, and tackle it. I promise that after finishing the task, you’ll feel enormously better.