Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Survival Strategies

I often get asked: How do you do it?

How do I manage to stay calm when everything around me is uncertain; keep my head on my shoulders and maintain the best "normal"our family can have amongst all of the struggles...

The simple answer is I just do what I have to do. It is during those most difficult times when you just find the strength you never even knew you had.

But there are really four key strategies I use to stay calm, stay sane and positive throughout this journey:

1. I pray.
2. I learn just enough.
3. I check-in with myself regularly.
4. I live life.

Let's break those down (and I strongly encourage anyone to follow these strategies because life is hard no matter what)

1. I pray every day that God takes my fears in exchange for strength.  I pray that He brings comfort to my children and will soothe our aching hearts. And I never forget to thank Him for the blessed life he has given me.

2. I learn and educate myself about what treatments my son will receive and the side effects. I read about his type of cancer and about his emotional well-being. But I don't read too much. I don't get obsessed with statistics and long lists of what ifs. I learn just what I need to know to feel comfortable about making safe decisions surrounding his plan of care.

3. I check-in and attune to my own thoughts and feelings. I ask myself: Am I doing ok? And I answer myself honestly. If I catch myself becoming overwhelmed, I stop and prioritize. I listen to my needs and have discovered ways to help myself during those 'down' times. Writing here is a great tool to check-in and decompress. I never really know what my fingers will type as I sometimes just let the thoughts flow without a filter.

4. I live life and refuse to let the uncertain future prevent me from enjoying today. I still go out for supper and/or drinks with friends. I empathize with my mom group about the daily struggles of parenthood like picky eaters and snotty-nosed kids that won't get to bed. I make time to visit family. Sometimes my kids need me home more than others, but I try to keep a healthy balance of enjoying what I love outside of the home as much as I do at home.

Overall, I don't wait for others to make me happy, or to make things better - I do it myself. I am full of love that pushes me harder and farther than any other emotion ever could.

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