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How are you at handling emotional overload? Me? I had a meltdown last weekend. It’s not something that happens often. It’s not something I’m proud of. But it is a facet of my journey with depression. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed and the next thing I know I’m crying and ranting and spilling all my emotions.
Bless my husband for being the kind, patient, listening ear who lets me get it all out and then helps me see that the world isn’t going to end.
Why now? While I won’t share all my personal stuff, I will share some. First, my doctor and I agreed to reduce my medication about three months ago because I’ve been doing so well for so long. Second, I started a new job about five months ago that came with a long commute. And finally, I’ve been feeling stressed over how the job and commute are affecting my family, life, and ability to accomplish things I consider important.
Once the crisis had passed, what did I do? How did I regain my equilibrium and move forward? How did I convince myself to get into the car on Monday morning and start that drive?
- First, I reconsidered my mediation – but increasing my medication is not my first choice.
- I also spent some time thinking about and discussing the good parts of my job – and the blessing of having a job in the first place.
- I considered the benefits that come to my family because of my job.
- I began making a ‘like-don’t like’ list – because I needed clarity about what I can change to improve my life and a reality check about what I can’t change – or at least can’t change right away.
- I discussed what I could cut out from my life to decrease my stress levels.
- I imagined how I could add time for exercise into my day when the combination of work and commute takes eleven hours.
- Being an introvert, I carved out more time to do the thinking and processing that I needed.
Life is all about making decisions. We all make them. Good decisions. Bad decisions. And we all live with the consequences, both good and bad. I’ve made some decisions – both good and bad – over the last 12 months that led up to this meltdown. I can’t change them. So, I’m more concerned with the decisions I’m making from here on.
We’re almost done with 2018 – it’s been a whirlwind year! I’m thinking, dreaming, and planning for 2019. In fact, I was planning on sharing my goal-setting process today. But, because of the meltdown, I’m not ready. So instead, I’m sharing some small decisions I’ve made. Decisions you might want to consider as a jumping off point for your own small decisions.
First, I’m going to start spending more time in the Word and prayer. Yes, I have very long days. Yes, I have a very long want-to-do list. But this – time with my Lord – should trump all. But I’ve let it slide. Not entirely – I usually have a five-minute devotional every morning. But it isn’t the soul-nourishing time I need.
Second, I’m changing up my routine regarding my time in the Word and prayer. When something’s not working, it’s time for a change! I don’t yet know what that change will look like, but it’s coming. I’ll let you know what form I settle on.
Third, I’m spending my last week of teaching before the Christmas holiday break planning for the first week back. I don’t want to be spending my break on school stuff. So, I’m going to squeeze every minute of productivity out of my planning time and before/after school time. We have two days of work in January before kids return, so that’ll help some. But then, there’s always meetings!
Fourth, I’m seeing my doctor. I’m discussing hormone imbalances, sleep problems, weight issues, and stress. I’m mapping out a plan to get my health back on track.
Fifth, I’m proceeding with goal-planning and big-dream dreaming for 2019. It’s important to me. It helps me focus on what’s important and let go of what’s not. I’m sharing my hopes and dreams and goals with my husband over the holiday break. And I’m enlisting his help to reach some of those goals.
Finally, I’m committing to writing at least three days a week. It might be for only 30 minutes or an hour. But it’ll be writing. Not technical stuff for the blog. Not bill-paying or planning ahead – which take place in the office where I write. Not reading emails or other blogs. Not reading books or taking courses. Nothing but writing. Writing blog posts. Writing emails. Writing devotionals. Writing a book?? It doesn’t matter, so long as it’s writing.
Where Are You?
So, you know where I’m at in the holiday season. Where are you? Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious? Or is intentionality and peace ruling your life? What decisions, big or small, do you need to make now? Not when the calendar turns to 2019 – but now. What changes can you make today to improve your life tomorrow – or even today? What small steps can you take that will eventually lead to bigger achievements?
Borrowing from my decisions above, here are some you can consider:
- Be in the Word and prayer daily – as much as necessary, as much as possible.
- Change your devotional routine of it’s dry and dusty.
- Get a handle on upcoming expectations early if at all possible.
- See your doctor when necessary
- Don’t throw out your goals and dreams – instead set aside time for them. They are the things that keep you going many days (or at least they are for me!).
- Make one change that will impact your life and goals positively. Make that change immediately. Don’t wait for a new year, new month, new week, or new day. Do it now.
Finally, I encourage you to re-read (or read for the first time) the posts on starting your goal planning with a look backward, living the Level 10 Life, and depression at the holidays. Take small steps today. Make small decisions today. Keep moving forward.