Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Support System

I have always known my whole life that everyone needs a good support system. Because when life gets hard (and it will) everyone needs to have people around them that are available for love, comfort, support and hope. Building such a support system is life long I believe, and always on going. Some people will come and go in your life, but there are the ones that are always there and stick it out with you... through thick and thin, yes everyone needs a good SUPPORT SYSTEM.

Today I went back to that Support Group in Everett. I know it is a long way to drive, but I really get a lot of information there and the spirit of the class is amazing. There were about 15 women there, plus the counselor that leads the group. The ages of the women vary from 20 some years old... up to 76 years old. At first I didn't really want to go to a support group, for fear of all the horror stories that I would hear. Some how, I don't quite feel that way any more. I like hearing real life stories, verses information on the computer or in a booklet. Of course everyone's lives are different and all our circumstances are different too, but these ladies know what they are talking about, because they are living it.

One lady that spoke today talked about her cancer and how her husband also has a terminal disease. She spoke of the lessons that they are learning together. She mentioned that her husband has been sick for over 7 years and is now coming to the end of his disease and his life. She also talked about their support system and how over the years some of their family and friends have just dropped out of their life because the disease just lasted too long. I do believe that the human side of us, tends to be able to be available and compassionate at the beginning of a terrible trial or disease. I have always thought the hard part would be hanging there the whole way with someone with a Chronic Disease or illness. She was a sweetheart and realized that  people just do the best that they can and some people were in it for the long haul. She had learned to be grateful for what help they did receive and not to worry about the length of the support. Some how, it always works out she said.

See that is what I love, the wisdom that these ladies have experienced and are willing to share with each other. I am learning that I am not the only survivor who has the roller coaster emotions. One survivor of 9 years said... I still have days that I am terrified and other days that I feel calm and hopeful. I felt better just from that one comment.

I was so worn out from the trip that when I got home, I just asked the kids to get me a pillow and blanket and I slept in the car. I know that sounds pathetic but...it worked for me today. BABY STEPS!

Here's what we learned about today...STRESS MANAGMENT and once again, I came home with information to help me continue to work on myself.

1. To take time out in your day to relax...even if it is mini-breaks. Slow down and remember to BREATH!

2. Practice acceptance... many of us get distressed over things that we won't let ourselves accept. Often these are things that can't be changed, for example someone else's feelings or beliefs.

3. Talk rationally to yourself...ask yourself what real impact the stressful situation will have on you in a day or in a week, see if you can let the negative thoughts go.  Watch out for perfectionism---set realistic and attainable goals.

4. Get organized... develop a realistic schedule of daily activities that includes time for work, sleep, relationships, and recreation. Use a daily  "things to do "list. Use your time and energy efficiently.

5. Exercise...physical activity has always provided relief from stress. We need to develop a regular exercise program to reduce the effects of stress before it becomes distress.

6. Reduce time urgency...learn to take things a bit slower. Allow plenty of time to get things done. Recognize that you can only do so much in a given period. ( personally I didn't even think you can say this last sentence to moms? But it is true and important especially for MOMS to remember) Practice the notion of "PACE, NOT RACE".

7. Disarm yourself...every situation in life does not require you to be competitive. You don't have to raise your voice in a simple discussion. Leave behind your "weapons" of shouting, having the last word, putting someone else down, and blaming.

8. Quite time....balance your family, social, and work demands with special private times. Hobbies are good antidotes for daily pressures. Unwind by taking a quite stroll, soaking in a hot bath, watching a sunset, or listening to calming music.

9. Watch your habits...eat sensibly---a balanced diet will provide all the necessary energy you need. Get your sleep and watch your thoughts. Remember it is you...who controls your thoughts, not the other way around.

Well these were great and I hope helpful to you too?  Thanks for being such a wonderful SUPPORT SYSTEM to me and my family!

"I have learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back."       ~Maya Angelou

"A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out."     ~ Grace Pulpit

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