Lately I have been contemplating my “One Little Word” for 2012 and it occurred to me that it’s been a long while since I talked about CALM, this year’s word.
As many of you know, the past several months have brought me serious health problems and an inability to work. Stressful stuff on many levels. Besides being ill, I worried about finances and how my children were coping. Not really calm-inducing thoughts. Despite all this, I did find some ways to reduce stress and deal with life. Panic was kept to a minimum and we all made it. In the midst of all the uncertainty and fear, here is what helped me cultivate CALM as much as possible:
Do what you love. For me this meant reading and scrapbooking when I felt up to it. My sister set up a small scrapbooking area for me on the first floor of our house so I wouldn’t need to climb stairs to my craft room. Hubs took me to the library almost every week so I was always well-stocked with reading material. I spent a lot of time on Goodreads, looking for new books and authors.
Get it out. Writing and talking about things really helped me. I even had an article published concerning being a parent with a chronic illness.
Don’t isolate yourself. My health kept me from many normal activities, but I did manage a weekend with my college girlfriends, a brief visit with my coworkers, and a few family get-togethers.
Ask for help. This is not easy for many people, but being honest about my limitations and allowing people to help was one of the best moves I made during my illness. Child care, running errands, cleaning, and meal preparation were all things I couldn’t do by myself. I found that being specific about my needs gave me some control over my life but still allowed for people to help.
Seek out a support group. In addition to family and close friends, I belong to an on-line support group comprised of other individuals with my rare autoimmune disorder. Venting to people who have been there can be very cathartic!
Get professional help. When my daughters were struggling and worried that I might die, I was fairly clueless about how to help them. A few visits with a counselor gave me some good ideas and peace of mind. I found a way to balance the truth with reassurance.
CALM was definitely a challenge this year, and it wasn’t always possible. That’s ok.
“That which does not kill me makes me stronger”. -- Nietzsche