Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stop Stressing and Say Thanks

It's challenging to focus on blessings and gratitude when you're vacuuming, but that's what I'm doing today.

Last year, I followed my friend Karen's lead and wrote a daily November post about gratitude. Karen is doing her 30 Days of Gratitude at Dogs Don't Eat Pizza again this year, but I am not participating. Committing to daily posts would only increase my to-do list and my stress level. While I know that my stress is purely self-induced (and rather silly), my chest already is tightening about planning my daughter's upcoming birthday and getting ahead of holiday things while ferrying the kids to their activities, making healthy meals and snacks, volunteering at my children's school, and still leaving a little time for myself. Rather than providing relaxation, some of my personal projects feel only like other items on my list.

I can add more housekeeping to my list as well. My much-appreciated housekeeper, who has cleaned my house every two weeks for the past six and a half years, will not be coming for a while. She will not be coming because she is in the hospital and recovery will take some time. So I'm vacuuming.

To the rhythm of the back and forth, I list all the things I am grateful for today. My housekeeper-friend's dog that may have saved her life. My health and the health of my friends and family. My husband's job that allows me to live in a house big enough to justify cleaning help and to pay for it. My hard-working husband who works long stressful hours so I have the luxury of "stressing" about holiday cards and birthday party favors. The modern conveniences that allow me to launder the clothes, wash the dishes, and clean the floors simultaneously, leaving time for me to create unnecessary action items and then worry about them.

I am blessed to have the luxury of time. I should use that time to make life better for myself and my family, not to stress about silly things. The house will get cleaned, the presents purchased, the meals made. There is more than enough time to accomplish everything important. Creating self-induced stress is absurd.

For the end of 2013, I pledge perspective. Clean or don't clean. Make it or buy it. Volunteer or not. I will not ruin my good fortune by creating worry where there should be none.

So if my house is messy or I blog less often, please pardon me. I'm trying to focus on my blessings instead of stressing.

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