Managing Life: The 6 "Fs" Method
This hub is in respose to a fellow hubber's request. After reading my "Why I'm Sick to Death of Men" hub, Amber Korn wrote, "You sure do have your plate full. How do you get through it all?"
Well, Amber, that's a darned good question. Thank you for asking. There are many days when I feel like pulling my hair out and yelling F#^%(@%# everthing. And you know what? For the first 4 decades of my life, that attitude served me quite well. But now I need a more mature coping strategy to deal with people who get on my more mature nerves.
So I've identified some other "F" words that work for me. I hope they'll work for you, too.
Read My Paws!
When the going gets tough, the tough get moving. Nothing clears my head quite like a brisk walk -- or even a slow walk. Being outside in the grandeur of Nature always makes me feel connected to my God and to the world around me. It's pretty hard to feel down when you look up at the sun or watch the wind rustle through the leaves. Bonus: Coming across a kitty who lets me pet her.
But I don't leave cat encounters to chance. Our house is a very, very fine house, with four cats in the bed. Each provides solace in his/her own way. Sometimes they merely tolerate me burying my head in their fur or hoisting them into my arms for a cuddle. Often they intuit that Mom is hurting. They'll climb onto my chest to give me heart-to-heart resuscitation.
Studies show that petting an animal is an excellent stress reliever. Personally, I think purring is about the most zen sound around.
I Need You, Too, Sweet Feline
We all need someone we can lean on. That's what friends are for! I try hard not to overburden any one person or call a pow wow for every little problem. After all, I don't want to use up all of my lifelines!
Just getting away from the situation is helpful. Scheduling a coffee, lunch or chick-flick date with a pal feels like a treat. It's also really cheap therapy.
Inevitably, I end up putting my own problems into perspective. Because, inevitably, my friend has things going on in her (or his) life also. It's all about sharing and listening. Sometimes I get useable advice and sometimes I'm able to offer useable advice. It's all good!
I am of the age where the definition of "family" is shifting. Mom's dead (God rest her soul). I can still talk to her, but I it's just not the same. Dad still loves to be consulted. However, I've come to realize his viewpoints are more narrow and out-of-date than helpful. My sister is a nurse. So if the problem I'm facing is medical in nature, I know where to take it.
Interestingly, our 30-something niece is emerging as a sage to be reckoned with. She's immensely practical and pragmatic. More and more we find ourselves (Hubby and I) bringing her in on family decisions.
And I'm finding time with my son more enjoyable, too. A year or even six months ago, I wouldn't have dreamed this would ever be the case. But it's a blessing, and I'll take it.
No discussion of coping mechanisms would be complete without comfort food. I am as guilty as the next woman of turning to chocolate, cookies, cheese and chips (not together, of course) as the occasion calls for them. I have been known to indulge my sugar or starch cravings to the bursting point.
But I am just as likely to find my comfort in the preparation, rather than the consumption of food. There is something supremely calming about cooking. Say what you will about blades in motion, chopping is not my catharsis. To me it's all about bringing order to a chaotic hodgepodge of ingredients; simmering my troubles into delicious submission.
I've saved the most powerful for last. And now that I'm here, I'm realizing it's not easy to be flip about faith. So I will play this capsule reasonably straight.
For me, faith is a one-on-one relationship with my Higher Power, who I choose to call God. I have come to rely on God to get me through some pretty sticky jams and some pretty dark days. But as the saying goes, "If God brings you to it, God will get you through it."
My worldview is informed by the 12 steps of recovery. As such, I carry with me the tools to handle anything and everything life throws at me. I don't have to like it. But I know I'll survive it ... if I'm intended to.
I want to touch briefly on the topic of "service" here -- giving back and helping others. I've found it's pretty hard to stay stuck on the pity pot when you're visiting people in a psychiatric hospital or a rehab facility. "There but for the grace of God go I" is my motto. I always feel rejuvenated after a night of service.
In the end, it comes down to asking for guidance. No matter how much is on my plate, I've learned I can break it down to bite-sized pieces by repeating three simple lines:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.