january blues · saving my sanity

Stressors and Antidotes

It is 7 pm and I’m googling if and how to administer oil of oregano to children. My little one has been coughing–again–during the night, and tonight his skin feels warm, while his still chubby cheeks are rosier than usual. My mind starts racing with questions similar to the ones Aimée brought up: what about work tomorrow, which one of us can stay home? In truth, these questions come to the fore, because it’s easier to think about them than the heavier ones: how sick is he going to get? Is this a good-old cold, the umpteenth one this winter?  Or is this the dreaded pandemic that Public Health has been so loudly announcing?

Whichever the answer, kids’ sickness tops the list of my anxieties, and this beginning of the year–you know, the regular calendar year that most humans follow, as opposed to the academic one–seems rife like none other with mini-anxieties. These mini-anxieties, while quite innocuous on their own, have colluded to make early January feel like one of those weeks when you wonder whether it’s Friday already, only to remember it’s only a too-full a Monday. So I decided to tackle it with my all-purpose weapon–drumroll, please–the mighty list. [Just as an aside, have you noticed how many of us, if not all, here at Hook and Eye are list-makers? Can we have a show of hands, if you’re of the list-making sort, too?]

Whenever I get into a slump, I try to do what a lot of us have been prescribed as the optimum way to manage anxiety: breathe; get yourself outside and/or active; try to get some perspective. We’ve talked about all of these options at length here, and I only want to linger on the latter point. If parenthood has taught me anything, it’s how to take advantage of the little in-between moments, so I decided to start a list of little things that make me happy, and juxtapose it to a list of stressors.

Moments to myself
Small talk
New projects
New projects
Grocery shopping on my own
Incessant cold weather
Lack of sun
Lack of exercise
Having lunch with friends
Kids’ crying
Bed-time stories (the kids’ and mine, too)
Kids’ sickness

You’ve noticed that some items feature on both sides, and my aim is to intersperse the inevitable things on the right with stolen moments from the left column. And when those things on the left happen, to notice them consciously and to enjoy them fully.
And you? How has your year started? What are some of your happy-making and/or stress-inducing everyday or extraordinary things?

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