Here’s the Thing: Finding balance

Don’t you hate it when you feel relaxed during a stressful situation, but everyone else is losing it?

It bothers me, because I try so hard to stay relaxed when things get tough. Flipping out never helped me. Crying helps. Overall it takes active, intentional work for me to stay calm. It’s a practice that with time and experience that has proven to be resourceful when things feel out of control. You let the world do it’s thing, while you disconnect in a healthy way by putting your energy into improving a different area that can be better.

Yet there are always people constantly reminding you the temperature of the fire you’re walking through or shining a spotlight on the one situation you’re trying to take a break from.

The thing about feeling balanced is there is always someone or something that will eventually tip the scale. It’s up to you to decide how much or little you’re willing to let it affect you. Lately juggling the emotional chaos of what this election is doing to people mixed with the anxiety of the upcoming holiday season is enough for me to take it day by day and somewhat check out completely. I’m not recommending that, but it keeps me sane.

When you work hard to feel balance it feels like walking a tightrope pulled to tension; if there is too much slack you’ll likely fall. You can safely walk across and you’re happy to do it, but you’re still aware that if the wind blows hard enough or you feel any kind of cramping in your leg it could be the end. It goes beyond your basic drive to handle responsibilities and figuring out uncharted territory. Uncharted territories have proven to be terrifying to most, which is probably why election years are always so much fun for people. This time of year there’s too much salt on the beef.

In general October through December can be my kryptonite. Even if I say no to being a people pleaser, there are still too many occasions, events, and holidays to partake on top of your daily routine. We have scaled back our routine, but this time of year it doesn’t matter. The man can’t bring me down! I’m in semi-survival mode, but taking it day by day keeps me steady. You can’t control frazzled people around you, but you can remember to take a step back and control your own emotions so you don’t flip out and accidentally punch someone’s mother.

I saw a phrase the other day that said, “Making the same mistake twice is OK, but after that it’s just making a bad decision.” If we take it for what it is, that’s pretty good advice. It implies we have a choice and some control in how we balance our life. Live and learn. I can target the people that drain me and the ones that encourage me. Who will I choose to be around? If my kids drain me, do I shut down or do I suck it up and make it work? Does shutting down ever make anything better? Not really. So I figure it out, sometimes the hard way, how to energize myself, relax myself, or simply play defense to avoid being overwhelmed.

Taking deep breaths in and out. Remembering to show loved ones that I care. Focusing on my work and making time to squeeze in what makes me feel better about myself. Finding creative outlets, even if only means listening to chill music by myself. Lately my weirdest outlet is candles. I usually write off candles as costing too much and being an empty luxury. Have you ever inhaled the smell of pine berry while cleaning your house? It’s much like smelling coffee in the morning. It just effortlessly puts you in a better mood. Same with music. Putting on the jazz station calms my mood and all of a sudden it becomes a little easier to pay my bills.

Here’s the thing: I realize these aren’t earth shattering solutions. I’m just in the mood for anything that will make life feel a little less like work and complex, and little more inspirational and easy going. The next few weeks are going to be hard on people, because sadly these elections are less like Anne of Green Gables and more like the Hunger Games.

What will you do that helps improve your mood? This is something we forget to ask ourselves, especially when we’re flustered. The answer is different for everyone. We’re all human, we all have heart, and unfortunately we get tired. Take time out to find sanctuary, build up your strength, and find peace. Be intentional to be good to yourself. It’s always a good choice to take care of yourself.

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.

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