Firestarter Friday: Staying Calm in the Face of Change

I love drawing trees and I love lots of color. Easy to see why this detail is my lead picture today.
I love drawing trees and I love lots of color. Easy to see why this detail is my lead picture today.

Starting this post, I’m not sure if this will be inspiring to others, but at least it’s a small slice of truth.

Everything around here for months has been more or less centered around a new baby who is coming soon. Well, that and working our butts off to save every bit of produce that passes through our house. Needless to say, it’s been busy here and I’ve been worn down more than I am used to. But now that the big day is less than a month away (less than three weeks even), my thoughts are shifting towards all the things that are going to change.

Of course change is going to happen, I’m not breaking any new ground here. But when it comes to uncertainty and new things, I am happy to know how I handle stress the best way for me. Learning to cope with stress and the unknown in a way that best suits you is healthy and a huge time saver. Worry is inevitable, but at a certain point, it becomes a waste of time.

Just a mindless doodle that I really love.
Just a mindless doodle that I really love.

I am usually a very talkative, open and outgoing person. But when I get stressed or am worrying about things, I fold up. That is something I really didn’t realize until I after I got married. I tend to just retreat into my own head, think about all the possible outcomes and just make a decision on how to handle things. Luckily, thanks to being married to an awesome guy, I am changing that approach. A little bit. Just adding a bit more talking and consideration for others. The nice thing is, even when I am inside my own head, I think I maintain a fairly positive and pragmatic outlook, even when I can’t see what is coming.

But when changes come, thinking has to hold hands with action. How do you act when there is only so much you can really do? My answer…doodle. Since I have been sitting still so much, I have been making sure that my drawing and painting supplies are nearby so I don’t have to feel bad for “not doing anything”. As long as I feel like I am being productive, I can deal with stress a million times better.

Part of a less colorful tree.
Part of a less colorful tree.

If you have some change in your life — a baby, a new job, a loss — and you can feel stress mounting, you need some quiet time. If you already have coping mechanisms that you know work for you, then go to them. If something works, use it. If you don’t have any way to deal that you know of, do some digging. What relaxes you? What makes you smile with just a thought? Is there something you love to do, but you avoid because there are other things you “have to” do? Listen to that inner voice and go with what feels the best to you. Besides doing things that already make you happy, don’t forget about the power of a change of scenery. You don’t need an exotic vacation. Maybe just an afternoon lounging at your favorite restaurant or taking a hike in a nearby park. But where ever you go, don’t forget your favorite art tools. Just a quick doodle, a series of photos can take you out of your head enough for some stress to seep away. And when that stress leaves, even for a moment, you may find a sliver of clarity to help guide you forward.

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