Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Don't Give Up, It's Just the Weight of the World"

I love Josh Groban. Seriously. I wish I had another sister that was still single to marry him because I would love to be related to him. Don't worry, I wouldn't trade either of my brothers-in-law. They are awesome. Anyway, the title is from a Josh Groban song if you're a little lost. I think it's on the sidebar, if you'd like to listen.

The thing is, that line often strikes a chord with me. Because I feel overwhelmed and burdened down a lot. Well, sometimes a lot. I kind of go through phases. Sometimes my life just feels very full. Some bad, some good--just a lot of it. And I find myself wanting to drop the kids off at my parents' house, grab HH and get out of town. Basically, I want to hide. But I don't because I know that everything I ran away from would still be here waiting when I got back.

And because HH has to work because someone has to pay the bills around here. And because my parents have the audacity to actually have lives of their own and aren't just sitting around waiting for me to drop off their precious grand kids at a moments notice. But those things don't bother me because I'm grown up and I would never seriously want to run away from my troubles. No siree, not me.

Anyway, so what does work when things are overwhelming for you?

When it's a bunch of stuff I can fit on my to-do list, it usually energizes me and I have a very productive day or week where I get everything done. And then I'm a little tired at the end, but if I've written it all down and have a long list of crossed off items, it totally feels worth it. Does anyone else write things on their to-do list that they've already done, just so they can cross something off?

But sometimes the "stuff" in my life doesn't really work on a to-do list. Sometimes it's something on-going or part of a long process or really it's someone else's problem so I have no control, but I'm worried about them. You know that kind of stuff? How do you get out from under it when it's still there?

A friend of mine is so busy taking care of her seriously ill mom that she doesn't have any time for herself or her family. Where and how do you draw the line?

One thing that I think is very important is to take care of yourself. When I'm tired and/or sick, I get overwhelmed a lot easier. I'm tired and sick right now, so you can guess why I'm writing this post! So, even though I know that, sometimes I still have a hard time taking care of myself the way I know I need to. There's just so much to do!

How do you go from knowing you need to take care of you to actually doing it?

And what about that stuff that is on-going? You know those things that take time, but not your full attention or energy? Stuff that you maybe just have to work on once a week or once a month, a little here and there? I'm not good with stuff like that. I just like to get things over and done with. I have a hard time staying focused. So, I either forget to do those things or get very frustrated and resentful of them. How do you stay organized and focused with that kind of stuff?

What about the stuff that really belongs to someone else? Like when someone is sick or going through a hard time, but they live across the country from you? Or what about when someone is making really bad choices in their life? And you don't have any control! How do you handle that?

The one thing I am so grateful for is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that through prayer miracles happen. I know that He can take the burden of stress and worry from me if I can let go of it. But sometimes that is really hard! It seems like it should be so simple, but it's not. At least not for me. I have experienced the fulfillment of His promise though. I have prayed for help in bearing my burdens and felt and immediate relief and peace. But it's still a challenge for me to let go sometimes. Does anyone else struggle with this?

I think it's because sometimes I confuse myself into believing that by stressing over someone or something I am somehow helping. It is obviously not helpful, but it's hard in those instances where there isn't really anything I can do. But if I stay stressed then at least I'm thinking about it. ??? I don't know.

I do know that it really boils down to the power of prayer. I can pray for myself and for anyone else I'm worried about. And even though it seems like such a simple thing, that is most often the greatest thing I can do.

But I know I can't just pray all my worries and stresses away. And like I said in the beginning, it's not all bad stuff, so I wouldn't want to pray it away anyway. I just need to figure out how to handle all of it. How do you find peace amidst a full life? How do you organize your day so that you are accomplishing what you need to when you need to? How do you remember to take care of you? How do you stay focused on those things that take time, but not your full energy?

How enjoy the fullness of your life instead of getting buried under it?

It looks like I have more questions than answers this time. Please, don't lose faith in me. I'm just struggling a little today. And really, I know that I'm no more an expert at all of this any of the rest of you. I'm excited to read your advice and help. It's like I said, I'm tired and sick. But I'm pretty sure I'll be heading to bed early tonight (especially since I'm posting this so early!) and I know I'll be doing much better tomorrow. Tomorrow is vacuuming day and I always feel better when my carpets are clean!


Amy said...

Usually the way I deal with all of that is guilt. No, it's not healthy, but it's what I'm really good at. I'm so sorry you're struggling. Wish I was there already!!
Anyway, for something more helpful, different things help me with different overwhelming things. But usually it boils down to making these huge things smaller. Breaking big huge jobs into smaller do-able tasks. Or if it's something on-going (that you can actually do something about), then write down what you can do each day to help with it. So you'll at least feel like you're doing something.
Also, keeping a journal helps me. Finding a least a few minutes in the morning to organize myself, have some "thinking" time, to figure out what I need to do that day helps. Reading my scriptures-even one verse-helps me too. At least that way I can start out the day feeling put-together. Sorry, this is getting really long. So I'll stop. Love you.

Jennifer said...

I'm still set me up with Josh and I promise I'll get him to marry me. We can do this!

More often than not when I'm completely overwhelmed I just turn in to myself and shut out the rest of the world until I'm able to deal again. It's not an ideal solution and can get bad when I know I need to drag myself out but still just don't want to.
I've also found that writing in my journal helps clear my thoughts and speeds up the process to getting normal again.
Love you!

Becky said...

I love the Irish serenity prayer:
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference." (And I thought it would be appropriate since St. Patrick's Day is next week.) Of course, it isn't always easy to implement, but the idea helps.

I also love lists, and have been known to write things down just so I can cross them off.

One thing that really does help me when I'm feeling overwhelmed is to remember a talk Elder Scott gave with this quote: "In quiet moments when you think about it, you recognize what is critically important in life and what isn’t. Be wise and don’t let good things crowd out those that are essential."

So, I make my list, making sure that prayer and family time are at the top, and then have faith that everything else will work out as I make my way down the list.

Hope this helps. It does get easier with time and experience, so don't give up!

Meg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg said...

Cheryl, first off I love you. I hope you feel better soon! I hope you got a lot of sleep last night. Reading your post was like reading out of my journal. I didn't realize that you and I could be so similar!

I'm definitely not very good at handling things, but something that helps me is talking to someone about it. Usually it's Weston or Mom, and sometimes it's even you! But I don't remember you being a "talker" when you're stressed and tired. :) Another thing is playing the piano. I think you have put this in the blog, so I'll just remind everyone of it.

Have you read Mom's lesson from Sunday? I think you would really like it... or were you there? Well, whichever, remembering that we can choose our attitude really helps me. Choose to decide that taking care of the kids/doing homework/making dinner is what really will help rejuvinate you and help you feel better. It's worth a try at least! Like Anna always says, "fake it til you make it."

Anyway, I'm done now.

Kristen said...

Sometimes it helps when I stop and reflect on things and what is important.

Cheryl said...

Thanks! I think I've used a bit of each of your suggestions. It's definitely helping.

Now if you could just tell me how to prevent more stuff from entering my life b/c it just keeps coming!

I guess it's just one of those weeks.