Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wherein I Can't Catch My Breath

On the surface, it probably looks like I have it together. 
And most days I do. Have it together, that is.
Most days, I can be patient.
Most days, I can be nurturing.
Most days, I can breathe.

Today was not one of those days.
This morning, as the chaos of our morning routine swirled around me, I had one of those mom-moments where I thought I would scream if I had to repeat myself one. more. time. Or if I had to settle one more argument, or yell at the dog ever again. Kids talking. Dog barking. Phone ringing. It's the kind of craziness that I usually relish because it is my home and family that make it.

But I suddenly found that I couldn't catch my breath. The more I struggled to take a deep breath, the harder it became, and the more stressed-out I got. It felt like I had tight bands around my chest, preventing me from fully inhaling. I stopped what I was doing, left the room, and tried to pull myself together, only to turn around and find that the craziness had followed me from the kitchen. And they were still fighting. And barking. And ringing.
I had reached my limit and the bands around my chest began to squeeze in earnest.

I've dealt with mild anxiety before during stressful periods of my life, and I've always been able to control it with exercise, prayerful meditation, and simple breathing and relaxation techniques. But it has been a long time since anxiety has reared its ugly head, and I was not prepared for it, although I should have been. 

A long walk helped me get things under control this morning, but I know it was only a band-aid. I need to be better about regular exercise and taking time for myself; I need to be better about setting limits.
Homeschooling means constant togetherness, which is wonderful. But it means that I rarely have a moment of privacy. And I usually don't mind. Until I do. 

In the future, I won't wait till my fuse is burned up before I take that break I need to refuel. This is especially important going into the holiday season, with the extra stress of money {or lack thereof, to be more accurate}, extended family, and crowded shopping malls. What should be a joyful time can easily become a stressful one. So, whether it's my spending limit, the limit of my patience, or the speed limit; honoring my limits will help ensure that I can inhale.

 I am off to fill up the tub with a lot of bubbles and the hottest water I can stand.
I have a stack of magazines and a functioning lock on the door.
And I intend to use it. 


  1. I hope you enjoyed your bath! I have days like you had - it happens.

    1. Thanks, Kimberly! Everything looks brighter after some relaxing alone-time. I just need to make a habit of enjoying it!

  2. We all have days where we can't catch our breath. Good for you for taking care of yourself during it. Don't you think all the "how to simplify your holidays" just adds more stress to the season? Its not even the early Thanksgiving and yet I already feel behind because I haven't done one of the 42 things that will make it all easier......Sigh, that's about me, sorry!!

    1. Too funny! I totally agree about the holidays, Shannon! ;)

  3. Oh Jessie!! I know exacly how you feel~ minus the homeschooling! I just made the out loud decision this week... to put me(gym, bible and blog) first in my day... other wise it doesn't happen. Then I don't mind until I do!! (you said that perfectly!) Hope today finds you re freshed! ~Shelby

    1. Thanks, Shelby! I always feel guilty taking time for myself, but everyone pays the price when I don't! Good for you for taking care of yourself, the whole family will benefit! ;)

  4. Girl, I have so been there too! We ALL have! that great you can feel it coming on and give yourself a break. You are not alone!

  5. Oh, yes. Been there. Not a great place. Exercise helps me too, but now that it's cold, I'm not exercising (because I always walked outdoors) and I really need to find something else to do. I need it, not only for my body, but for my mind.

    Also, at night, I pretty much check out for an hour or two. I just veg in bed with my computer (to watch TV on it). Helps me relax before I go to sleep. I think sometimes we get so busy taking care of everyone else, we forget to take care of ourselves. It's so easy to do.

    Hope you're feeling better.

  6. This is my favorite post you've ever done Jessie!! I love posts that keep it real. We have all had those days. Sometimes I feel like I'm mom on the rampage while I'm barking orders for the girls to clean up their stuff from the kitchen, living room and to tidy up their bedrooms! Having time to ourselves is essential to our sanity! haha =)

    ~ Catie

    BTW, your Christmas decorations you made are soo cute!


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