Friday, June 17, 2016

What do you do to thrive?

This is a busy month for us.  In fact, it's probably the busiest month we've had since my daughter was born in August and I had a postpartum mental illness relapse starting in November.

And since increased stress can lead to increased mental health struggles...I'm doing my best to keep that stress level down.  To be a good steward of this life and mind (and family!) that God has given me.

I want to thrive not just survive

It's funny, because the scheduled activities that actually make this a busy month aren't even the things that are causing stress.  Here is a snapshot of what's been going on this week (along with how I've also seen God's sustaining grace throughout):

  • Our van broke down.  
    • STRESS:  While we have another car that my husband drives, there is no way we can fit all three car seats into the back of the Sebring.  So we now are unable to drive all the kids in one vehicle.  With a busier week than most, this created some difficulty. 
    • GRACE: My neighbor let me borrow her van AND her car seats the morning it broke down.  My in-laws are awesome and one came to watch the boys on Wednesday during the baby's doctor appointment, and the other came to our house yesterday morning.

  • Finances
    • STRESS: The unexpected cost of fixing the van.  We bought the 2001 mini-van from a family at our church for $1000 three-and-a-half years ago, and it has been so awesome for our family.  The cost to fix it this time around is almost $1400, so we briefly considered just buying a new car.  But we haven't had a car payment for SO LONG, and that would definitely be a strain on our budget.  We decided to fix it.  
    • GRACE: We worked through our finances last night and figured out that July will actually be a little bit of a surplus month for us, which will GREATLY help.  

  • Homeschooling
    • STRESS: We started homeschooling for kindergarten.  Yes, I realize that it's summer, but my son was ready and so was I.  I attended a homeschool conference earlier this month, and was able to get a lot of the major planning done for the year.  My goals for this summer were to pick out our kindergarten curriculum, teach my oldest to read, and organize our schooling space.  Well, I've done great on the first goal (Gospel Project, Primary Arts of Language from Institute for Excellent Writing, Saxon Math), started on the second (today was School Day 7!), and horribly on the third.  Organization is NOT my strong point, but I really want to have a workable space so that my kids can actually learn instead of being totally distracted by the environment.  
    • GRACE: So far everything is going really well.  I'm getting in to a rhythm with planning and teaching, and it feels like some of my prior teaching experience is finally starting to pay off!

  • Kids
    • STRESS: Colds, constipation, crawling; vomiting, bickering, night-waking; crying, complaining, whining
    • GRACE: Extra sleep, medication, independence; feeling better, experiencing forgiveness, quickly going back to sleep; comforting, teaching, correcting

I finally had some extended alone time yesterday morning (thank you, father-in-law!) and was able to relax.  I have some introvert tendencies, and the time alone was really refreshing for me.  It's pretty evident that this is something I need to do often in order to thrive and not merely survive.

alone time at Starbucks

I'm interested in what you do to thrive.  Don't be shy...give me tips in the comments!  :)