De-stress fail…or was it?

Have you ever thought your stresses could be fixed with a quick girls weekend, partner time without kids or fabulous yoga retreat???

So I had a tough year of transitions, moving, crazy kids, crazy husband’s job, new country, new language…yada yada…  The problem was that my ‘yada-yada’s were getting a little resentful-resentful and I started losing my patience and reacting (over-reacting) to lots of little things popping up in everyday life.  My husband would leave the kids dirty clothes on the stairs instead of putting it into the hamper…BOOM!!!  AAAAHHH look out for the rage!  (I am not justifying it, just being honest in my state of mind).

Some reactions were more understandable than other…but mostly it was my poor form

  • standing in line for an ID card for 3 hours = really bad mood, low blood sugar, veins popping out of my forehead, less than curt attitude to the government workers…
  • lady backing into my car in the parking lot then just turning and waving good-bye with a smile = mouth gapping WTF moment when I dropped my glass jar of tomatoes and bottle of wine on the pavement breaking into a million pieces…
  • Son on a 5 day I can only eat sugar to make me happy but you will deal with my hell raising bi-polar attitude = me throwing all sugar out of the house and vowing to only feed him salmon, brown rice and veg for a month admit his tears praying to stop the cycle

Point being that my stress had reached a critical mass.  SO big did IT feel, that I could no longer tell if I was even listening to what was going on around me and fell into the abyss of immediately reacting.  Sometimes in life a quick reaction is needed…soldiers in war, bee-stings when allergic, child falling into a pool, skirt tucked into unders after a bathroom visit…most of the time though (with some attention to life situations, pool & unders) we are not in those situations and a pause is not only a good suggestion but a requirement to allow a productive response.  I stopped pausing…just reacted…and made my responses very (VERY) unproductive.  Then I would just get more stressed because I was pissed off my outcome wasn’t what I wanted.  So that was my cycle problem was, I couldn’t pause long enough to even realize it at the time.

Instead…I begged for an OUT.  My supportive husband agreed and we tried to rig up hikes, day trips, nights out without kids, anything to get OUT. As most things, the idea built bigger and bigger and bigger until I was convinced that I needed a full on Yoga retreat away by myself.  Full disclosure: I have never taken a full trip by myself. I have traveled to and from places but always meet up with family and friends along the way so this seemed SUPER exciting.  My husband found a retreat in Northern Patagonia that looked awesome, lots of hiking, lots of yoga, lots of vegan stuff (not my thing but why not). He tried to book it for the very next week but unfortunately that retreat was canceled, so we agreed to try for the one in a few weeks after some of his work travels.

In the 1.5 weeks between the next attempt to book 2 things happened.  First, my husband called me out for my reactions one morning but did so in a supportive way.  He said, he understood I was stressed and past a breaking point but that it doesn’t excuse aggressive reactions or talk.  He called me out for not PAUSING….kinda perfectly too as I was too enraged to see it. As soon as he said it I apologized and meant it. The rage went away and the Pause returned. I think the pause returned not only because he was right and I was embarrassed by my actions, but also because I knew he still supported me and my needs.  That was really all I wanted. It is often all anyone wants when they are stressed, to be supported in a struggle.  It just took me a while to figure out that being supported in a struggle didn’t mean being told I was handling everything fine, because clearly I wasn’t.

The second thing that happened is too funny to make up: SWEAR THIS IS TRUE….  I went back to book the trip and just happened to re-read the bio of the owner as she had updated it in the last week on her site.  It talked about how she was always raised around nature and how she respected it for providing balance and peace in her hiking and yoga practices (all great, positive)…then she took a slight turn to discuss crystal healing (I know nothing about it, but to each their own and I support alternative views)…then she took a massive turn:

“In addition crystal healing, three years ago I was contacted by aliens of another dimension. They had a message for me and you – which is that planet Earth is in a transition. We need to be of service to each other, to eat high vibrational foods and not be fearful as we enter a new age of awareness.” 

…aliens.  really???  Oh man, I was SO SO SO CLOSE to getting my perfect hippy-trippy weekend away from the kids…I could have stayed in my own geodesic dome and hiked a volcano without helping a kid squat over poison ivy or carrying 40lbs of granola bars plus a kid on my shoulders!  Why, WHY WHY!!! must you rob me of my get-a-way by taking that last turn.  I would have eaten vegan! I would have (at least acted) interested in your crystals! I’ve read Human Dynamics, I would have and let you chant with your marble bowls, but really….ALIEN CONTACT!!! I just couldn’t do it, so here I stayed.

But, the thing is this…even without a get-a-way (which I completely still do support as a refreshing recharge, just sans aliens if you can) I still found my pause. It is entirely possible to find the pause without a get-a-way.  Getting away often provides the break of schedules, routines and tasks, that give us more time to focus on ourselves out of the day to day to self-reflect.  In that self-reflection you can definitely find a pause.  I have also been on girls weekends that were more busy and maybe more self-destructive (but in a really fun way..we all need occasionally) than self-reflective too.  Point being, to de-stress you need to seek that pause, whether its self-reflecting at home or far away, with friends/family or by your self, without your kids or while they are crawling all over you wearing your 3″ heels with full on face-paint and whistles blowing in your ear.  Success can be achieved outside of a retreat and that a retreat doesn’t always equal immediate success.  Far better to learn that ahead of time, instead of after dropping $2000 and traveling for a day.

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