Coping When Life Seems Insurmountable
Those close to me know I’ve been dealing with some difficult life changes recently. Although I blog, I am generally a more private person on social media. I won’t share every photo I take, every event I attend, every ailment I feel, every challenging day one might have. I will; however, share that one of the things I’ve been dealing with (and by far the hardest) is the progression of my dad’s muscular dystrophy.
Most people only know about ALS and Duchenne’s, but there are actually nine major MD diseases. My father suffers from Limb-Girdle muscular dystrophy, of which there are more than 20 genetic sub types. That being said, there isn’t a great deal of research or answers for the disease. It affects everyone differently, and all we can do is treat the symptoms. Up until 18 months ago, my father worked full time in the engineering field. Today, he is on hospice at the age of only 60. Some days he can get out of the house, and some days he’s in bed. He hasn’t been 100% himself in quite some time, even on his best days. This was a sudden change even his doctors weren’t prepared for, much less my mom and me. He’s beginning to exhibit symptoms similar to an ALS patient, but we aren’t sure what his prognosis is from here.
As I navigate the waters of caring for a loved one, fighting a system that excludes people who worked their butt off their whole life (a topic for another day), caring for my immediate family, juggling work and my own health, things got a bit rough. Insurmountable for lack of a better word. I decided one day that in order be my best self, mainly for my husband and kids, I needed to take control.
I fit it in 4-5 days a week if I can, which I know can be very difficult especially if you’re staying at home with young kids or working a full time job. I am blessed to work from home, so I head to the gym or a class when my kids are in preschool. When they are home, I usually do YouTube videos (Tone it Up is my fav) or use our TRX. I recently had a medical procedure and wasn’t cleared to workout for three weeks, and I felt a HUGE difference. Exercise has SO many health benefits, including improving your mood and boosting your energy.
Yes, this can be considered exercise. However, it’s a much different form than traditional cardio and weights, and there are various types to choose from. You can find everything from gentle yoga (mild stretching) to power yoga to senior chair yoga. Taking up a regular yoga practice has reduced my anxiety and increased my strength and flexibility. It even helped me with labor for my first son. Studies show it can also lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. I eventually would love to get my certification; I believe in it and love it that much.
While this may sounds like a bunch of hooey to some, regular sessions have been life changing for me. If you have any major stressors in your life (who doesn’t?), I implore you to try this. Healing Touch and Reiki work with your energy fields to improve balance and increase the body’s natural ability to heal. E.F.T (emotional freedom technique) involves tapping on various acupressure points throughout the body to calm a negative emotional state. I know, half of y’all reading this probably think I’ve lost my marbles. I was very skeptical when I first started. Now, I can go into a session feeling like life is crushing down on me and leave feeling like I can take on the world. It actually makes me a happier person and guided me in my spiritual life.
My husband has been doing this for years and loved the results. It helps him focus, calms anxiety and prepares him to tackle his day. I’ve always had a hard time “turning off” my brain, especially when doing things like yoga and healing touch. It was recommended that I incorporate meditation, especially guided meditation to help me learn to calm my brain. As moms, our brains are constantly multi-tasking, spinning our wheels all.the.time. I’m guilty of being in yoga while running a to do list in my head. Meditation has taught me how to slow down, take some deep breaths and enjoy moments of silence. Even if my only free time is in the car or in the shower, it helps me to stay grounded and positive. There are some 10 minute meditations that I found easy to fit in my day.
I know this can be a dirty and scary word for some people. However, if you have something going on in your life that you could really use some help with or just a listening ear, consider it. It feels great to get things off your chest (because I just don’t want to vent to my hubby and BFF all the time) and get a perspective from a third party. Someone completely unattached and new to your situation. I’ve learned great communication techniques and even better empathy for others.
I know all of these things aren’t for everyone, but maybe just one of them can help you navigate the often stormy waters in life. I won’t pretend that I never breakdown and cry and act like I walk around like life is all puppies and rainbows. But I’ve learned that everyone has a cross to bear, and if I can carry mine with a smile, the better for everyone.