I am starting to wonder if there will ever be a time where I don't feel this stressed. This past month has felt like one big long swim upstream where as soon as I finally thought I'd reached a place where I could rest, the current would pick up and threaten to take me back to where I started. Part of my mind says, "this is only temporary, once you get out of school and have a reliable income things will be so much easier," but in my heart, I know that's not going to be the case. I know that as soon as I graduate, there will be a whole new set of challenges. Matt and I will both be going back to school again, we'll likely live in an area with a higher cost of living, hopefully we'll have a child to take care of, and who knows what else I've have taken on. But for now, let's focus on the present since that's something I need to start doing more of anyway.
Luckily, my loan money finally came in which allows me to limit my financial stress for a few months until summer rolls around. I got my car back from the mechanic only to get a big list of other things they found that need to be repaired, but for the most part, it's things I can fix cheaply or put off for a while. Right now, the biggest source of stress for me is school, though I'm feeling a little bit of relief after the test I just took. All the school we missed because of the snow really threw me off and I feel like quite a few of our lectures were really rushed just to get through them. I just need to do a lot more studying than I've been doing and focus more on making sure I'm not just memorizing things but that I actually understand the pathophysiology behind it.
After seeing my stress really affect my body over the past month (like my ridiculously long cycle followed by a period half as long as usual or the almost daily headaches I've been getting), I'm really trying to make more of an effort to reduce my amount of stress and to develop better coping methods to deal with the stress I can't avoid. I have a lot of great big ideas about how to go about this, but it's going to be finding a way to incorporate that into our life. It's going to start out with creating a budget and actually following it. We finally have a savings account going (even if it will most likely be spent on our big party next year!) I want to stretch this loan money as far as possible (which will really depend on whether or not we actually move) and it's so much easier now that Matt has a job that pays pretty well (despite not paying him overtime and effing his payroll up once a month or so).
It's not just about relieving financial stress though, it's all the mental stress that I put upon myself that I really need to work on (and that I have more control over). It's school, two part time jobs, keeping up with my marriage, trying to keep my house livable (read: clean), attempting to get some sort of socializing through friends (who are far and few between), and all the other things I always worry myself over. I live in a constant state of anxiety which leaves me exhausted.
So how do I go about changing this when even daily living seems so overwhelming? It's going to start with nutrition and exercise. It's going to mean eating better, healthier, more high quality foods. It's carving out time once or twice a week to hike. I always feel so much better, so much more refreshed and ready to face the world, even after a short hike. It's so hard to find time to exercise but it makes such a difference in how I feel and I know it helps the hubz too. I really want to get back into yoga since it always leaves me feeling relaxed. There's just something about that feeling of being in control, even if it is only your breathing you're in control of, that pushes anxiety away. I also want to play with my dog more, which is easier now that it's getting warmer outside because that makes us both feel better.
I wish I could hire a maid (and I guess if I gave up my coffee outings or eating out for lunch, I could work it into the budget) because when my house is clean, I feel less stressed. Right now, the dishes have been in the sink all week, laundry is piled up everywhere, my guest room is a disaster, the sheets on my bed are dirty, and the list goes on and on. I just can't find time to clean between two jobs, school, and wanting to sleep at some point and I can't expect Matt to do it all with work too.
Nannying it up tonight and tomorrow morning, hopefully hiking tomorrow afternoon, Dixie on Sunday morning, homework Sunday night, and then it's right back into school Monday for a big skills lab on how to insert nasogastric tubes so I don't really feel like I have much of a weekend, but at least it's not really anything that should cause stress. Is there a pause button I can push?