Hey guys! If I don’t already know you, my name is Heather and I have been married for almost 15 years and my husband and I have two sweet, handsome boys, ages 9 and 13. I have been a SAHM for the last 5 years and have recently enjoyed following my writing passion by launching my lifestyle blog, Within These Four Walls. Shout out to my friend Renee for her awesome blogging course and all her support! I appreciate her having me here for this guest post. Thanks, Renee!
As I sit down to write this article, my mind is swirling with scattered thoughts. Anyone who knows me well knows that I almost always have several projects going on at one time. And more times than not, I’m making a mess in the midst of trying to get whatever I have going done. Then while all that is going on, I am also being pulled in 17 other directions. Sometimes things run smoothly even in this chaos, but a lot of the times there is definitely some degree of stress involved in this season of life. Anyone else relates??
However, the last couple of weeks and months have ushered in a whole new season and it’s been an entirely different kind of crazy. One I originally didn’t welcome if I’m honest, but one that has also taught me so much. Who knew that in one of the most stressful times in history, I could feel so much peace and joy. Now don’t get me wrong, I have had moments I wanted to cry because of all the sickness our world is dealing with. Because we can’t freely see our family and friends. Because we can’t even hug our loved ones right now. Because my children miss playing baseball and I miss watching them play (and screaming loudly when they steal home). I miss casually browsing my favorite stores and sitting in a restaurant hearing the chatter of families all around me. I miss worshipping in church. I miss coffee with my best friend. A lot! I have sat and wondered just like you when things will go back to normal and I will admit it has even scared me at times to think about how long all this will go on.
This last Sunday my family stayed in our comfy clothes and enjoyed Easter church service from our couch. We even ditched the obligatory traditional family Easter pic. After brunch, we enjoyed a few thunderstorms, checked on the garden my boys helped create, and watched our kids play in the mud and skimboard in the puddles in the ditch. I even got to watch a movie (almost uninterrupted) with my husband. It felt like a perfect Sunday.
My family has actually been enjoying this slowed-down version of life for the most part (aside from arguing children) and trying to soak up these moments while we can. But I know that is not the case for everyone. During the week, like the majority of the country, we are learning to homeschool, since our public schools have been forced to close on-site instruction for the remainder of the year. And that can be overwhelming to so many of us.
Maybe you or your spouse has a stressful or essential job that has you worrying even more about this virus and whether you could bring it home to those you love. I can totally relate since my husband works for a major retailer and as an essential worker, he is exposed to a lot of this. Right now you are probably doing your best to just breathe and get through the day, and if that is you, I am here to tell you that you are doing great! This will pass soon enough. On the hard days, you just have to slow down and take a deep breath and remember a few things that will get you through the fear and the stress of it all.
Fear would have you believe that you have to surrender to your thoughts and that you don’t have a choice but to be fearful or stressed. But you do have control of some things and if you can focus on the things you can control, you can begin to shift your mindset. You have to first figure out what things deserve your time and attention. So what can you control?
The more positivity you absorb and project is one of the biggest factors in how stressed you will feel (or hopefully not feel). Take some time this week to evaluate the things listed above and see where you can adjust to relieve some of the stress you may be experiencing. You may find some of these changes were a long time coming. What better time than now for a reset?
Finally, my ultimate tip for letting go of stress in your life, especially now, is to find faith. Whether it’s finding it for the first time, or maybe just reconnecting with the faith you have relied on for years but lost hold of along the way, we all need an anchor to hold to. This to me means making more time for prayer and practicing gratitude daily. If you have kids, this is the perfect time to model how making time for these things matters. I actually have a blog post on my website titled “How Gratitude Changes Everything” if you want to dig a little deeper with this. Getting alone with God for me allows me to share the burdens of my heart and mind and not shoulder it alone.
How many things are we now given the time to truly appreciate that maybe we took for granted before? I think I have been shown lately that I have so much to be grateful for and I don’t want to take those things for granted in the future when things do get back to normal. I challenge you to make a list of all the things, even the littlest of things, that you can be grateful for. When we focus on our blessings, that is how we truly let go of fear and stress. We quiet the noise of the world, we focus on the good things and the steady, unshakeable things that fill our lives with true peace and joy. In these crazy, unprecedented times, take care of yourself, your family, your neighbors, and your loved ones.
“Fear has no place if you don’t give it a space to grow.”Heather, Within These Four Walls