Change. A word that doesn’t settle well with me at all. Even as a child, I was never good with change. I always had to be mentally prepared for every little thing. Five more minutes of playing with blocks before moving on to painting! That was what I needed. Stability was something that I yearned for, probably because life had always been a bit on the shaky side.
Little did I know what life had in store for me!
Less than 9 years of marriage, and we have moved a total of six times. Four of those moves were with our children as well. It has been stressful to say the least. I write this on the precipice of our sixth — and hopefully final — move. This particular move has been to what we feel is OUR town. We came to this small town in North Carolina almost seven years ago as newlyweds. Because of job transfers, we were able to travel and see the world, while still coming back to this place — our cozy little home in a small town in North Carolina.
Eventually, we decided to leave our little slice of heaven and move up north to be near family, but as life teaches us, the grass isn’t always greener. Surprisingly, our decision to move back down to the south didn’t have anything to do with family. It was the area we didn’t like. The hustle and bustle of the city, the hectic and frantic feeling when out and about, the competition with perfect strangers and even the materialism that seemed — to us at least — permeate every level of society. It was too much for us. So we decided to follow our hearts and move back to the town where our children were born.
It seemed simple enough. But once that decision was made, the backlash was a lot to deal with. I’ve never been good at disappointing people, especially those I love. I’ve always been the type of person to try and downplay my own needs and feelings and focus on others. But I couldn’t do it this time. And I made that known. And yet, in that moment, I became selfish. I became a disappointment. The pressure of knowing this caused me to rethink this decision several times. But in the end, I always came back to the fact that I couldn’t sustain living up north forever. I believe that children thrive off of their parents, and if I was so unhappy, my kids were most likely feeding off of that. So we did what we had to do.
So, How To Deal?
Honestly, life as a stay-at-home mom turned out to be harder than I had expected. Trying to raise a boy and a girl equally, getting everyone’s (sometimes unsolicited) advice, incorporating religion into their lives, and teaching them how to be good people is no walk in the park. The stress and pressure is always on. After having my second little one, my anxiety was always sky-high. Let’s add our relocation into the mix — a HUGE stressor — and we have quite a situation on our hands. In order to deal, here are a few things that I try and do to keep my stress levels to a minimum:
1. Let’s Get Physical
Physical activity is one of the major things that keeps me sane. Working out and building up a sweat is something that is becoming more of an outlet for me. The endorphins take over the gloomy feeling that engulfs me at times and I always have more energy after exercising, which comes in handy when it comes to managing my kids and sources of stress.
2. Sweet Escape of the Literary Kind
Reading is always something that I have done to escape something unpleasant that might be happening in life. So these days, when my anxiety is just too much to handle, I pick up one of my many favorite books and read, even if it’s just a couple of pages. It’s enough just to get out of my own mind for a few minutes and focus on something simpler.
3. Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Because we are still not done moving, I don’t have much access to my books at the moment so that brings me to one other thing I do to relax: watching a funny show. Again, even if it’s just for a few minutes, a re-run of a comedy show will distract me enough so that I can resume the day’s duties once again.
4. Positive Vibrations
Creating an atmosphere is something that I have come to NEED. So, I clean up, wipe down the counters, put away the dishes, light a yummy-smelling candle, or put some flowers on the table. All this goes hand-in-hand with my favorite music playing in the background, and all of a sudden I have a guaranteed way to change my mood for the better. Now that’s what I call positive vibrations!
5. Spirituality Is My BFF
Last, but certainly not least, I have to continue to pray. I hand my fears over to Allah, and slowly realize that He won’t give me any burden I can’t carry. For me, faith and hopelessness are not things that can go hand-in-hand, so I hold onto my faith, hoping and carrying on. Though my mental health is weighing on me heavier and making me sink, I still have my faith to keep me afloat. I have my husband and my beautiful children. And I have myself.