Monday, January 10, 2011

Exercise #1: Releasing Pressure

Well, I mentioned that Anne and I were going to be doing each of the exercises in I Hate it When Exercise is the Answer: A Fitness Program for the Soul in my New Year post, and here it is, finally! 

I love this book because it has a lot of great ideas to help you become better, and in bite-sized chunks that are really manageable.  But most of all, it's funny.  Like laugh-out-loud-while-you're-reading-even-when-someone-else-is-in-the-room funny.  Because of that, Emily Watts doesn't come across as preachy or syrupy sweet, but more like a great friend who's giving you tips in the midst of telling these really great anecdotes.  (Plus, it's really short, and let's face it, my attention span isn't great these days.)

I'm not going to quote any of the really great stuff from the book, so you're going to have to read it.  You can borrow my copy, or click on the link above and buy it from Amazon.  I think Deseret Book has it, too. 

This is not the best way to start an exercise program, late and incomplete, but it's the way it's going to have to be.  I'm planning to do an exercise each week, but I'm later blogging about last week's exercise than I planned to be and I wasn't entirely successful with it.  Hopefully I can continue to work on this one over time because it is something I really need. 

Exercise #1: Releasing Pressure

Take a minute at the beginning of the day to assess what bubbles might be building up in the bottle that is your life. If it looks like the pressure might be high, choose one of the strategies from this chapter (or a different one that works for you) and let off some of those bubbles right now before the whole thing blows up in someone's face.

Now, because I don't know if you've read the book, I have to give you a bit of background.  She suggested these things throughout the chapter to help blow off steam:
-a silent scream
-make a list
-spend 5 minutes outside
-planning something pleasant to look forward to at the end of the day
-laugh (watch something funny or call a friend)

Both Anne and I had a hard time anticipating when we might get stressed throughout the week, so it was a bit harder to take control when we got to that point.  But I do have to say that I saw Anne put this into practice on Saturday.  It was her little guy Porter's first birthday party on Saturday, and there were plenty of things to do before all the guests arrived.  As time dwindled in the morning we were starting to rush around without being necessarily effective, and Anne made a list of everything that still needed to be done.  It seems obvious, but it really did help. 

Did it stop either of us from becoming overwhelmed and stressed?  Not completely.  (I was still frustrated that my children were requiring so much attention while I was trying to help.  I was trying to blow up balloons while holding a fussy baby and repeatedly putting my two-year-old down to nap.  I snapped at Max and literally threw him into bed.  Yeah, not exactly a "Mother of the Year" moment.)  But I do think it took things down a notch.  And everything was ready on time.

Here's what Anne said about the week:
I never ended up using the bubble bursting techniques til the END of the day; my mornings are fairly stress-free.  It's usually in the evening when I've had a long day and Jer is MIA and I'm cleaning the kitchen AGAIN and trying to figure out what to make for dinner and Porter is whining and clinging to my leg... then that silent scream is amazing.  I already mentioned I'm a list-maker, and that helps prevent a lot of stress. 
I am also a list-maker, and while it does organize my thoughts and help me know what I need to be working on next, I also find myself overwhelmed as I don't get to everything on the list.  It helps to try to keep each thing on my list very simple, and to be realistic in my expectations. 

The tactic I relied on most this week was to ask for help.  (It wasn't one that Watts suggested, but it's good practice for me.)  I hate asking for help.  I especially hate feeling like I'm incapable of doing something by myself.  But I need a lot of help, and I end up feeling a lot less overwhelmed and lash out at others less when I know I can rely on someone else.  So, knowing that I was going to be driving alone to Salt Lake with my littles this week, I started praying that I would have help while I was there, and that I wouldn't be too proud to accept it.  No sooner had I started that train of thought, and my mom called and asked if she could come with me!  She was invaluable throughout the weekend, tending to Max every time I asked and lots of times I didn't.  I didn't exactly keep my cool all weekend, but I would have been a basket case if I hadn't let go and asked for help. 

Okay, I'm not going to be this long-winded each week, but I guess I had a lot I was thinking about tonight.  Preview for next week: Exercise #2: Forgiving

1 comment:

The Yoder's Four said...

Those are some good tips! I sure could have used some coaching during the holidays--I hate to admit how often I lost my cool. :/ least I know I'm not the only one!