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Today’s post centers around reflection. When allowed a moment for contemplation, circumstances that appeared daunting and overwhelming lose its seriousness in the dawn of a new day. Revelations blossom from the stressful experiences providing armor for the next wave of challenges that will surely be faced in the future.

The last few weeks have been physically uncomfortable for me. I had my back bottom tooth on the left side of my mouth extracted on 22 July because it had a fracture and caused pain every time I ate a meal. It was replaced with bone and barrier with the intention of getting an implant in a few months. I’m experiencing pain daily from the barrier which will not be removed until 17 August. I’m not a fan of prescription pain medicine, so I have resorted to taking Ibuprofen when I’ve had enough discomfort. Then on 31 July, while making my way to turn off my alarm clock at 5:30 in the morning, I tripped over Sophie (it was dark and she was not sleeping on her bed) and fell hard on both elbows and my left knee. Needless to say, I could never be a stuntwoman because I cried like a baby for about 10 minutes and prayed that nothing was broken. Thankfully, Sophie was not hurt, and I did not break anything; however, I still have bruised elbows.

Prior to this (7 July), my BFF Shelly was rushed to the emergency room in Florida because she could not breathe. She had a pleural effusion on her left lung which had to be drained and biopsied. Now, she is on the path to determine the culprit, cancer or her heart which was damaged by radiation received when she had Hodgkin’s at 16 years old. This is weighing heavily on my mind. Although, each test that she has is leaning more in the direction of the heart, the results are not conclusive. And, there are more tests to be run and information to gather in the next few weeks. Concern is playing on the periphery of my mind like background music.

Sophie 8-4Mix in a wound on Sophie’s tail that turned out to be a growth that needed to be removed because it wouldn’t heal on its own. She is 12 years old. The procedure to remove the growth was performed on 30 July. She did well, and came home that afternoon. Unfortunately, she made it difficult to clean her surgical site (even though she is sweet, she can be ornery), and the decision to bring her back to the vet on 05 August was made on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, 05 August, I dealt with Sophie on top of worry for my friend, my own physical pain, and going back to work in the midst of a pandemic. School looks extremely different this year. One of my duties is morning carpool. I now take students’ temperatures before they get out of their car. My first morning carpool duty was Wednesday which happened to be the first day of school. My husband left to go out of town on Monday, so I had no truck to transport Sophie to the vet. My BFF offered her vehicle, but she could not drive because she had an angiogram the day before and was unable to drive for 48 hours. I had to drive. More stress added because driving her vehicle is like driving a bus. Andrew had to go to SLU at 10:00 that morning, and I needed him to help lift Sophie (she weighs 72 pounds) inside her kennel into the vehicle. Therefore, I had to leave work immediately after carpool duty, drive to Shelly’s house to pick up Shelly and her vehicle, drive to my house to pick up Sophie, drive to the vet and drop Sophie off for an extended stay, drive back home to drop off the kennel, drive back to Shelly’s house to drop her off with her vehicle, and then drive back to school to work for the remainder of the day. Oh, and I failed to mention that after work, I had to drive to Metairie to see my dentist so he could remove the stitches in my mouth.

Wednesday was an extremely stressful day for me due to the number of events that was happening that day and the logistics surrounding them. I’m no Superwoman; however, I made it through the day and accomplished everything that needed to get done. That evening, I cracked open a can of Bad Seed (fruited gose) and ruminated on the day.

Revelations:

  • I am responsible for my anxiety. Don’t catastrophize.
  • Although rather slowly, I can drive Shelly’s vehicle. It was not as scary as I thought.
  • I survived the day despite all that unnecessary anxiety because I allowed myself to lean on others and trust instead of thinking I had to do it all myself.
  • Gratitude trumps stress and anxiety. I’m grateful to Shelly, Andrew, Julia (my co-worker), Dr. Davis (our vet), and Terri (my administrator and friend) for helping me get through Wednesday.

As I’m writing this post today, dear reader, I feel silly that I worried so much. I’ve marked this day in my calendar so that the next time there is a day in my life that seems insurmountable, I can remind myself that I’m not expected to be Superwoman. I’m blessed to have people in my life who are always willing to help me. I just have to ask. Happiness!

“If we could remember the miracles God has done in our past, we would not so easily fall into worry and fear when we have new challenges to face.” ~ Joyce Meyer

Bad Seed

 

 

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FlowersThe first week back to work after a week-long vacation went by rather slowly. I think I am suffering from the onset of spring fever. Thankfully, today begins Daylight Saving Time. For me, the next eight months should feel glorious with the extended daylight in the evenings. I’m hoping this is also the end of my personal “canary in the coal mine.”

In Episode 144 of the Happier in Hollywood podcast, Sarah and Liz reveal their personal “canaries in a coal mine.” Back in the day, coal miners brought caged canaries in the coal mines with them. If the canaries became ill or died, the coal miners knew they should not venture into the coal mine since it was not safe for them. Mercifully, this practice was stopped in the late 20th century. However, today, it is being used as a metaphor for comparing canaries to the warning signs of something stressful or alarming that is amiss. The canary is there to tell you that you need to practice self-care. In Episode 147, Sarah and Liz revisited the subject and shared some of their favorites from listeners. After listening to both episodes and pondering the revelations from Sarah, Liz, and several listeners, it dawned on me that I have my personal “canary in the coal mine.” Drum roll, please! I actually have two canaries, sugar and procrastination. And, they go hand in hand.

Basically, when I am anxious or feeling overwhelmed, instead of taking a walk or productively completing a task or project, I consume a sleeve of cookies while playing Words with Friends or scrolling through Facebook for two hours. And, lately, I find myself doing that more and more, and it only adds to my anxiety. I LIKE being in control, and right now I feel out of control. Instead of being proactive, I self-sabotage myself. I feel like I am in a state of paralysis. So, what am I anxious about these days? What is overwhelming me? I actually have a list.

  •  Taking my acting career to the next level
  •  Sonic and his health issues (perianal fistulas and new thyroid issue)
  •  Finances (cost of Sonic’s impending medical care)
  •  Disarray of the house from remodeling
  •  Barry, Jr. working in Singapore and his time over there being extended
  •  Feeling like I don’t have the time to work on my goals
  •  Feeling like I’m running out of time to reach my goals

Surprisingly, after writing this list down, I’m feeling a little better. Lots better, in fact! Looking over my list, the situations that are overwhelming me right now are temporary, and they are not life-or-death issues. What action steps can I take today to alleviate the anxiety that I’m feeling about each of these items on my list? I can start with taking a deep breath, praying the Serenity Prayer, thinking of five aspects of my life to be grateful for, and releasing my canaries. It is time for me to practice some self-care and take action.

Dear reader, I am grateful for you and the joy you bring to me. Thanks for reading! Do you have a “canary in the coal mine?” What behavior reveals you are more stressed than you realize? Take heart because you can always release your canary once you have identified it and taken the necessary steps to extinguish the stress. Happiness!

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” ~ Walter Anderson

 

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