Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Set The Glass Down

So many of the blogs I have read recently have been on the subject of stress, extreme stress. Maybe it's because I read a lot of blogs from parents of children with severe disabilities - maybe it's because we are deep in the heart of IEP season - or maybe it is because with Summer approaching, so many of us are wondering how to keep our children's skills on track until the start of the next school year. But, I'm right there with all of them.

My stress is indeed related to the severity of my children's disabilities. And, Ronnie's current school year started off poorly and has gone downhill ever since. But adding tremendously to my stress is my job. My childrens' health is holding steady for now and all their IEPs are done for this year, so things should be leveling out. But the stress at my job just seems to be increasing.

I've got to find a way to regulate the stress and keep my sanity and health from plummeting. And today I received an email that just may help me do that.

The email was from a friend who understands stress. He related a story from a meeting he had recently attended. The speaker at his meeting stood in front of the class holding a half full glass of water. She turned to the class and said, "I bet you are all thinking that I am going to ask you whether you see the glass as half full or half empty, but I'm not. I'm going to tell you how I view this glass and what it has taught me."

The speaker proceeded to hold the glass out at arm's length. She said, "Think of this glass of water as the stress in your life. Holding it out for just a couple of minutes is no problem. But the longer I hold it, the heavier it seems to get. The actual weight doesn't change, but my ability to hold it does. Finally, I won't be able to hold it out any longer, and it will go crashing to the floor."

"This glass of water is the stress in my life", she said. "The longer I allow the stress to hold on, the less likely I will be able to hold up to it. I must, if I am going to be able to hold the glass out, occasionally put it down. The same is true for the stress in my life and your lives. To be able to continue to function, you must occasionally put your stress aside. Whether that means taking a vacation, not doing your household chores for a week, going out to dinner and a movie with a good friend, or just putting your kids to bed an hour earlier, you must occasionally set your glasses down."

This analogy really works for me. Regardless of the amount of stress in my life, regardless of whether or not I feel parts of my life will not go on without my participation, I am going to start putting my glass down more. I will visualize the image of holding a half full glass out at arm's length, and I will choose to do something that helps me lighten that load.

What about you?

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