This seems to be the mantra of my family and of many people I know. Life just keeps piling it on. Everyone was so glad when 2016 ended only to realize that January of 2017 is tainted by association with December of 2016! It hasn’t ended or stopped, weird stuff, stressful stuff just keep happening.
For example: The weather. Snow is piled up everywhere and there seems to be no end in sight for the cold. The election, you all thought that was done but nooooo! The media and the government are still squabbling like children. People are still dying. My uncle passed away on January 2nd. There are school troubles, vehicle repair issues, kids are getting sick, unexpected bills are coming out of nowhere, home appliances are acting up.
The stresses just keep coming.
Your whole world seems like it is crushing you. Breathing is becoming harder. There seems to be a weight crushing your chest. Your head seems like it going to explode. You want to cry, or drink, or cry and drink. You can’t talk yourself into getting out of bed in the morning but you have to. You just want a hug and there is no one there to hug you.
The strain seems enormous and when you finally get the willpower to look up…here comes something else to be dumped on you. Eventually you will break. The strain of it all will get you.
But don’t worry, there is hope.
It is all about how you look at it.
The definition of strain…
- force (a part of one’s body or oneself) to make a strenuous or unusually great effort.
- to pour (a mainly liquid substance) through a porous or perforated device or material in order to separate out any solid matter.
- a force tending to pull or stretch something to an extreme or damaging degree.
- a severe or excessive demand on the strength, resources, or abilities of someone or something.
If you look at your life from a passive point of view then you are letting strain be a noun. The strain of stress becomes a thing that is extreme and damaging. The same thing will happen if you take a passive view of your stress. The longer you sit and watch the tide of overwhelming events coming for you the worse you’ll feel. It is damaging and extreme. Even mountains will wear away when water hits it often enough.
However if you think of strain as a verb, an action word, things take on a different look. The first definition states that strain is the use of great force and effort. Well believe me, the effort to fight the tide of stress takes a butt load of effort. Sometimes more than we have. That is why we must seek help. You don’t have to do it all alone. Talk to someone, friends, family, helplines, it doesn’t matter. Someone will help you. You never know when someone will have the answer to your problems that you didn’t think of. The hard part is asking. Sometimes it is enough to just talk.
The second definition is even more important. And you are saying, “What? How is sifting through something related to stress?” Well guess what? That is the secret to beating it. If you let yourself become the strainer then you will sift through the stress finding what is really important. Like a colander, you will catch the bigger stuff first. Those are the priorities. Sort them out first, then work on the smaller items. Or if that isn’t your way then sift out the big stuff and set that colander aside. Work on the small stuff that is manageable first. Either way you are taking an active roll in a carrying the load.
Have you ever looked around your house and were so overwhelmed by how much cleaning there was to do. It was all too much, so you hid away and didn’t do anything. The next day it is only worse. If you would have done just one little thing it would have set you on the path to a completely clean house. You have to eat that elephant one bite at a time.
Strain is only unbearable if you stand passive and let it crush you. Take it one thing at a time. Its alright to feel overwhelmed when there are too many things happening at once. It is only natural. We can only do so much, but the point is that we must DO something. The tide is going to come whether you want it or not. That is the nature of things, but you don’t have to let the tide take you. Hold on and strain out what you must.
That camel’s back wouldn’t have broken if it didn’t try to carry everything at once.