Finding my footing during the fall is always an experience. The level of stress in our household seems to go up 200%. My husband and I both go back to our jobs, the kids start school and fall activities. Life becomes hectic–and self-care becomes much harder.
Every fall, I know this. Yet, the last few weeks have proven themselves to be hard despite the knowledge.
I haven’t been sleeping. For me, sleep is an important building block for my mood. I can have one shitty night of sleep and do okay. More than one night though?
That’s when the emotional roller coaster begins.
It has been a week since I’ve had a good night of sleep, and I am finding myself in that dark, depressed, and anxious zone that I really don’t like one bit.
For the most part, there is very little to feel stressed about. Yes, I am back to my job, but teaching is going great this year. I have a great group of amazingly well-behaved students, I am holding my own with my colleagues and administrators, and I am adjusting just fine to my new teaching partner.
SO why the stress?
It’s a good question, really.
Last night, I made myself really stop and think. Where is this pressure coming from?
And I realized, it is multi-faceted but there are few spots I can definitely narrow it down to.
First, I have been working really hard to get back into shape. I never really got horribly out of shape, but I did manage to gain ten pounds over the last school year. So, this summer, I began a new nutrition and workout program. I’ve barely been running at all, except for an occasional sprint HIIT workout, but I’ve been lifting a ton and I can really see some changes in my tone and my body.
That feels good.
However, every morning, I have an email in my inbox from the program I’m on, expanding on my new habits and helping me track my progress.
This week? This week I’ve been too exhausted at the end of each day to work out much. I did one hour workout this week, and walked my dog a few nights, but that was the best I could do.
It was the best I could do, and yet…I feel so guilty about it.
I want to keep making progress. I want to impress my trainer. I want to keep losing inches and pounds.
But this week, I’ve just been too worn out.
And so, I’ve struggled. I haven’t eaten my best. Or worked out. And I feel ashamed of myself.
It’s always all or nothing for me. And this week, it has felt like nothing, which, in my mind, means I’ve failed and none of the progress I’ve made makes any difference at all.
The second point of stress seems to be my house. My home. My family.
My husband’s stress level must go up every fall too. Last fall, at about this time, I really started exploring the idea of divorcing him. His moods–his constant complaining and negativity–became such a huge burden to me.
I’m feeling that burden again. He’s never happy. He complains more than he says one positive word.
It’s especially hard because I don’t really want to get a divorce. Not this year. Those aren’t my feelings. It’s hard because I want him to feel happy and satisfied. And it is hard because his mood changes my mood and the constant complaining, grumping, eye rolls, and frustration seem to permeate into my soul and just make me feel that much more exhausted.
It’s hard, because I remember last fall.
The kids feel it. They feel the irritation. My daughter has started voicing lots of negative thoughts, just like dad, and it kind of breaks my heart…but, even more, I just feel at a loss for how to deal with her emotions.
I don’t operate that way. And it frustrates me that they do.
Which, isn’t fair, I know.
This week, I’ve been exhausted. Worn out. I have felt down and missed my friends. I’ve missed my therapist and really wanted a good hug from her.
I’ve challenged my thinking, analyzed it, and know where it is coming from.
But, despite all of that, it doesn’t stop me from feeling what I feel.
And that is probably the most frustrating part.
I know I feel it because I’m stressed and exhausted.
But, I can’t help but feel it anyway.