Monday, July 02, 2012

Of Work and Holidays and Beginning Again

Normally posts on my blog go live sometime around 8 am.  That's because normally by 8 am on a weekday, I've left the house, and I'm on my way to school, or work, or wherever else it is that I'm going.

This is the first holiday Monday in quite a while (thanks to Canada Day yesterday.  I love it when stats fall on a weekend and earn you an extra day off!).  I'm curled up in bed, and I only woke up about an hour ago.   I feel almost rested, having had three days off from school in a row.

Almost, but not quite.

I worked all three of those nights.  Evening shifts, from nine to around midnight, and then I trekked home on the train.

I haven't talked a lot about my new job here, in part because I need to protect the privacy of my employer, and in part because I haven't quite known what to say.

I'm working as a care aide for a disabled woman, and right now that mostly entails putting her to bed a couple of nights a week.

Going back to work, and juggling school and life as well has not been an easy transition for me.  I've struggled quite a bit with a resurgence of anxiety.  I've battled the extra exhaustion that comes from a change in schedule.  And the job itself has been one that has brought quite a few stresses. It's physically, mentally and especially emotionally demanding, and I've fought a lot of fears and dreads as I adapt.  Last night was the first mostly smooth, quickly accomplished shift that I've had, and I'm thankful for that.

The juggling of school and work is something that carries a lot of fear for me.  I've never done both successfully, and maintained a state of physical, mental and emotional health.  I feel like I have the tools to do that now, but it's still been incredibly rough.

I'm challenged particularly because over the last year I've recognized that I feel the most healthy, and the most "myself" when I have lots of space and downtime to attend to my need for stillness, to connect with God, and to find creative expression for myself.  The combination of factors in my life - the choice to go to school, the financial necessity of working, the knowledge that I need to maintain and pour into certain relationships - is not leaving much of that space for me, and there is a pretty steady level of stress in my life that to be honest, is stressing me out!  By that I mean that the knowledge of the presence of that stress, and the fears that go with my history of not being able to handle stress particularly well, are adding a layer of stress to what is naturally existing.

And so we come around to beginning again.  When I'm stressed, my diet suffers.  My willingness to exercise suffers.  I flip easily into survival mode.  I stop taking vitamins.  I don't manage sleep as well as I should.  I generally stop using successful coping techniques.

I've becomes so aware of this, and convicted of it over the last few weeks.  And I'm trying to take little steps, make little commitments, to begin again.  To use the coping techniques that I know are helpful. To take five minutes to swallow a handful of vitamins that will help protect my physical health and energy. To walk that extra flight of stairs, and eat blueberries or a nectarine instead of a cookie or cake.

I'm also thankful that there's only a month or so left in this semester, and then I will have nearly four weeks off from school.  That I will get to spend one of those weeks with some dear friends, away from home, gaining a change of scenery, and the chance to connect on a heart level.  That I will have some of that space I crave, and have to do less juggling for a time.

And so, I ponder work and holidays and beginning again, and make little baby stepping commitments towards the things that I know work for me.


christianne said...

Oh, my friend. I've just had a chance to come here and read this post, and I'm struck by so many things for you.

I know how important a slower tempo with lots of space is for you, and I'm struck by your willingness to take the path you are, even though it is so demanding. I'm so thankful that you have more tools and support around you to walk through the difficult demands of juggling school and work than you have in previous seasons of juggling them, and I'm struck by your strength and determination, even in the midst of this very real struggle and tiredness.

I'm thinking about the week we will share together in this house of mine -- this place of sanctuary and stillness, this place of refuge. I feel so thankful that you are going to come here and be able to receive that sanctuary and stillness. I want to be intentional about making it a place of restoration and rest and grace and peace while you are here. It is going to be such a gift to me to offer that to you during that time, here in this space.

And I'm glad to share a kinship with you in the needing of that kind of space and quiet. It helps me know that your coming here is really graced. xo

Lisa said...

mmmm... thanks, Christianne.

I'm so looking forward to that week of sanctuary in your home. About the chance to spend a week of rest and loved and intentional conversation with you, Kirsten, Sarah, and Terri. The reminder of that week to come is quite literally something that brings a smile amidst some of my hardest days of juggling just now. The soul friendships that are springing up among us are something that leave me somehow in awe every time I pause to consider the way we've been connected by Jesus, and the pieces of His heart that we each carry within us. I love the way those sorts of friendships inherently create space, and I've been so thankful for the ways each of you has already done that for me.

Much love! and lots of hugs!