Hey you guys! Whew – been a while since I blogged! More and more I see this blog as a place for me to reflect and don’t feel compelled to write if I don’t have much to say…I share snippets of daily life, workout ideas, and easy meal ideas (because we all know I’m not an amazing cook or baker!) on Instagram so you can see more here! But in terms of the blog, I’m reserving this as a place to think, write, process and share – and that’s exactly what I’m going to do with you today!
This has been a busy season of life for us; I’ve alluded to this in recent posts but life feels pretty full-on right now. We are both in our 30’s, work full time, are involved in a few capacities with our church, work with our own non-profit (Survive & Thrive Cancer Programs) and others in Calgary for cancer (Wellspring) and are social with our community of friends. I’ve always thought that’s just what life is like at this point in our lives, but I’m slowly learning that we take on more than most people, and not in a brag-worthy way! I’d say it’s safe to say that we are burned out right now, and as a team Mikey and I are being hit with this realization in a way we can no longer ignore.
This weekend was the end of a busy string of weeks and culminated in the 6th annual Survive & Thrive Bonspiel, our fundraiser for our non-profit! We always look forward to this event but it’s also a very full, busy day that leaves us feeling pretty wiped out (and usually in the best way!). This year was fun, included several new faces, was a blast seeing old friends, and was at a bigger venue (the Calgary Curling Club) – so it was a step out in faith for us to dream bigger!
Love this creative team!
Robin looking fly…
(Looking good, Prince Charming and the Sweeping Beauties!)
This, coupled with lots of presentations this last week for Mikey and a last minute sub for an exercise class for me the day of, meant we went into the event feeling pretty drained. I’m grateful for amazing people, incredible young adult cancer survivors who shared their stories at the event, and help from Elisha at Mint Event Management for contributing to such an amazing day!
But today at church, feeling tired and noticing the effects of a few long weeks’ worth of strain on us, I realized something big: I think this is what it looks like to do life in your strength. As a Christian, it is always my desire to live God’s story for my life, not my own story. That doesn’t mean I don’t act, step out, and live my life, but it does mean that I turn to God for strength, seek his guidance and direction every day, and do things ultimately for his glory. Lately, although life is very (very!) good right now, it’s also very, very full and I’m realizing the impact that has on our marriage, bodies (stress presents itself in so many ways – food choices, physical symptoms like canker sores, etc), and emotions. It hit me hard: we’ve been doing it on our own. This weekend was a good reminder to turn to God and to think about how we can better give our lives, our income/finances, our direction, our dreams to him rather than us try to juggle everything and run the show.
April is Stress Awareness Month, so it’s fitting I’m reflecting back and realizing things need to change right now as mid-April is upon us! Casper, a company that created a new type of mattress to help with all things sleep, made this infographic about napping and how it can help with stress reduction – thought it was worth sharing!
I learned about the value of naps from my 2XU Ultimate Training Performance Camp experience last spring and know of their value – yet I’m not a big napper! Something I should learn to listen to my body better about for when I am feeling ow energy and down…
This leads me to reflecting…
A good friend (whose stuff you should read and whose music you should listen to!) reached out to us and encouraged us to reset our days, slow down our lives and live with more margins. I can’t thank him enough for reading between the lines in our social media posts and seeing how we were crying out for help, for less, sinking form the busyness. What a gift to have a man reach out to your man and encourage him by being honest, saying he’s been there before and wanting to help us in our own time of stress management. It’s crazy how the calendar can be hit and miss and then one day you wake up and realize that you are at full capacity (or at least your husband is and therefore, you are too)! So we are resting more. We got through this weekend and now have less on our calendar, are actively practicing the Sabbath (resting on Sundays!) and praying about what to let go of and learning how to rest in Jesus’ strength. It’s a huge relief, and I’m grateful that we’re no longer saying, “Oh, it’s just a busy season of life right now” and are learning this valuable lesson to give our lives more margins.
Two weekends ago, we kept a commitment on the calendar that had been there for four months, even though the timing couldn’t have been worse: a friend stayed with us all week helping Mikey edit his recent film, I was working, Mikey had other work commitments apart from film editing, and we hadn’t packed for this commitment or gotten ready at all for a weekend in the mountains with good friends. Conditions were variable, we were tired and stressed, and I was worried that post-trip we’d come right back to the intensity of our schedules, but we went anyways, meeting our good friends Ryan and Susan in BC for a 4 day hut-to-hut excursion of the Bonnington Traverse. Even though we’d left Calgary at 10 pm (!) the night before, were emotionally drained from a full week, and had only about 4 hours of sleep, we were SO EXCITED to join these guys for some time in the backcountry, because we’ve learned how we recharge best and because we were anticipating great community with some amazing friends who “get us” on so many levels.
I can’t even describe how the laughter, the hut experiences (oh, the mice on night three!), the evening wine (can you see how these first three went together?!), the sunshine, the days of fresh air, the great conversations, the route finding, the joy of being outdoors in community left us feeling recharged!
It was a very full 4 days, complete with a few small slides due to warm weather (which sure kept us on our toes!), about 10 km of hiking some huge ups(mainly ups!) and a few downs, and lots of bacon (how did we not get a shot of Ryan’s 5 lbs of cooked bacon that he brought?!) that contributed to us really slowing down, enjoying life, embracing good friends and being refreshed in body and spirit.
Then there are days like Sunday of this weekend, where we truly didn’t do much! We relaxed at home after church, saw a movie, cooked meals at home and had some Oreos in the evening. 🙂 We’re learning to pack our days and also to pull back, and this concept of rest (not only from workouts from the stressors of life!) is such a good one to learn and relearn constantly.
Do you connect to the busy days at all? What about creating margins – any helpful tips?
I hope you feel encouraged if you’re busy too by reading this and can learn from some of the hard ways we’ve been learning from to make changes before you burn out. Join me this week in creating and embracing margins and keeping your eyes open for what God has in store for us! I have more reflections this week to come (namely, on FOOD!), but I think that about covers how I’m feeling right now: learning, growing and (hopefully) changing as life marches on and my desire is always to place myself ever before my Heavenly Father and his plan more than for my own life plan. Until then, live well & be well!