D. F. Krieger

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year, New Attack

Or: How I Conquered 2014 and Plan to Conquer 2015

Today's post has nothing to do with writing fiction, but it certainly will have to do with writing. In May of 2014, I suffered a miscarriage and for once I was with a doctor who did her best to help me. When my stress levels are too high, I can't carry a baby. She gave me some advice, and though I was sure it wouldn't work, at the time I was desperate for anything to hold on to as a piece of hope.

"Making a stress list. Write down every single thing, no matter how silly it seems, that is stressing you out, even slightly. Your goal is to mark as many things off that list as possible. Don't erase them; draw a line through them. When you have days where depression sits on your shoulders, telling you how worthless you are, pull that list up. Look at the things you've marked off. Use it as a crutch to show you that yes, things can get better."

Today, I opened up that list simply to review it. Out of the 15 things I had written on it, only four aren't crossed off at this point. I can't begin to express how much this list helped me from May to now. How much personal victory I felt when I could open that document up and place a strike-through on one of the entries. How much it lifted me to view the doc when I felt like I wasn't accomplishing anything.

I made another one for 2015. I did bring the left over goals from 2014 to the list, but I also marveled at how my mind didn't have nearly as much to offer for more entries as it did the first time I wrote the list.

During the New Year, people tend to write all these goals out for themselves. "I will lose weight." or "I will eat healthier." or "I will quit (insert bad habit)." I didn't make a New Year's resolution this year. Instead, I spent the time making a 2015 Personal Stress list, which might sound counter-productive, but as I made it, I felt like these were goals I could really achieve.

*Order a copy of my son's birth certificate (it was lost when we moved from IL to VA)
*Replace the door on the shed outside
*Finish crocheting a blanket for my youngest son

Notice I didn't attack myself with any of my goals. It's not a Things I Hate About Myself list. And obviously I didn't share my whole list as I'm sure you don't want me to go on and on about myself. But I thought I'd at least give an example.

Wanna know a secret? The doc was 100% right about this working for me. I won't say it'll work for everyone. For some people, writing it down won't mean anything as there still needs to be the motivation to do something about the issues stressing you out. Me? I'm a "grab the bull by the horns" kind of person. I was just in a situation where so many things were stressing me out, I didn't know what to attack first. Writing things down allowed me to mentally categorize what could be taken care of this instant, and what would need to be worked towards. For example, I knew I needed a new vehicle, so it took until October to get my finances together to do so (I still love the new truck!), but it was pretty easy to make a decision on whether to keep my mare when I wrote her down. Obviously, if she was causing me stress enough that I even wrote her down, she needed to go. I'm a thousand times happier with my gelding I've had since August, and he certainly isn't on any stress list in my household. As a matter of fact, he's a source of de-stressing for me (thanks again, Grassfield Sport Horse and Sarah!), but I digress...

How do I know it's working for me, 100%? On Tuesday, I went to a doc appointment. I'll admit, this is the second time I've seen her in the past month. Guess who's having a baby? *Insert Biggest Grin in the World*  That's right. I'm carrying with no complications, and the baby is showing growth, a heart beat, and was dancing up a storm during the ultrasound Tuesday. This is the first time we've had a baby make it past the 5 week mark since I lost my daughter in 2011 when I developed cancer. I'm currently 3 months, and we're just so bloody happy. I know, without a doubt, that being able to tackle my stress and eliminate a ton of it systematically (with my family's help of course) is what allowed me to finally relax on all levels and feel "safe" enough to carry.

I always try to share tips and tricks with you guys, and I hope the idea of a stress list can help someone out there. Have a Happy New Year, and remember, sometimes you don't need a New You, you just need a New Attack. ~ D. F. Krieger

1 comment:

Angelica Dawson said...

I am avoiding making resolutions. I find they set me up for failure. Instead I've tried to make some aims, very general directions that should be easy to point to in terms of progress, but no target that I can say, "see, you suck."

I've never done a stress list. It sounds like a good exercise. I would have to be very careful doing it, however, as I am very bad at not chastising myself when I make lists like this.

Finally, and most importantly, CONGRATS!!! I am so happy for you and I hope 2015 only gets better. :D