Hi Everyone, it’s been a while since I posted, what’s new?
Yeah, me too….. unless you count the fact I started writing a blog two weeks ago about my daughter’s trips to the ER (twice, in twenty-four hours) and I can’t seem to finish it (spoiler alert – she is totally fine now). Or the fact that work is crazy, and my analytics clients seem to have forgotten there is a pandemic while expecting record growth in Q4. Not to mention my phone buzzes all day with text messages and voicemails from people I don’t know, who feel the need to remind me about the “important” issues related to the election. Oh, and despite this not being a “normal” Halloween, my house managed to attract a ton of candy. (Ok, well maybe I bought some of it….who can resist those bags on the shelf?) And SOMEHOW it is November! I’m not quite sure how that is possible, but that’s what day my phone says it is, so I’m going with it.
So, I’m good. It’s all good. I’m just livin’ the life, ya know?
It’s a lot isn’t it? Let’s pause for a minute and take a deep breath. Fill your lungs with as much air as you can, hold it for a second and then blow it all out. That feels so good, why don’t we do it more often? Do it again if you need to, I know it always makes my body feel a small sense of relief and calm when I remember to just breathe.
A couple weeks ago, I was listening to the Brene Brown podcast, Unlocking Us and she was interviewing the authors of the book “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle”. The authors are sisters, Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski, and in the interview one of the things they explained was how stress gets stuck in our bodies because we don’t release the stressor after it is gone. They explain when the stress occurs, we go into fight, flight or flee. Whether we are in physical danger, or dealing with a tantruming toddler, the stress response engages neurological and physiological shifts within your body to help you survive. Your digestion slows down, immune system shifts and tissue growth and repair slow. In other words, when a stress situation occurs there are changes in your body and your mind. We are taught to handle cause of the stress, let’s say by leaving the store to stop the tantrum. We’ve eliminated the stressor, but the stress response still lives in our body. The authors explain we need to do something to signal to our body it is safe and can relax. Physical movement is the best way to release the stress and complete the stress cycle. You can do something as simple as stretching and breathing, having a dance party or going for a run. Anything to move the energy will help your body know it is safe.
Stress is always present in our modern lives, but it seemed like the perfect topic to write about days before the election. We are being inundated by ads on our phone, in the mail, on TV and online. My 12-year-old is reciting tag lines from the attack ads against both senators running in our state. (Why are politicians running ads on YouTube channels about Minecraft, Fortnight and trick shots? They have the data to target or not target certain demographics, so why buy ads on channels with an average age under 18? I digress.)
No matter who wins, we are going to wake up on Wednesday and the kids will be hungry, we’ll have piles of laundry waiting and dishes will be stacked in the sink. Life will keep going.
In one of the later chapters, the authors explain one reason we burnout is because we are faced with situations where we feel helpless. They do a great job explaining how this helplessness arises and provide concrete examples. The net result is every day we are faced with obstacles that require more effort and energy than the easier parts of life. To explain how to move past this, they use a reference from the movie Finding Nemo:
“If you just keep swimming, you’ll find your way. And when your brain wants to give up because there is no land in site, you keep swimming, not because you’re certain swimming will take you where you want to go, but to prove to yourself you can still swim.”
If you’re feeling helpless or hopeless, please reach out for support. We’ve done a lot of hard things this year, things we never could have imagined we could live through (one-ply toilet paper – the horror!). But no matter how hard it got, we made it through and lived to see another day. This week will be no different. Let’s be here for each other, support each other, regardless of our similarities or differences. We are all one, we can all be united.
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.