I have spent the past few months rushing to finish editing my book, Finding a New Normal: Living with Chronic Illness, and now that I have one last review of the 5th and last round of edits from the editor I hired, I am suddenly realizing that the timing isn't right for publishing it now. We have a week-long vacation coming up, and I don't want to publish my book and then not be around to promote it and market it. At the same time, my mom had surgery recently, and I had planned to visit and help her out this week, but her husband will be there this week, so she actually needs my help next week ... and we leave on that trip at the end of next week! She wanted me to stay for longer than I thought I could manage, with needing to prepare for (and not be exhausted for) the trip. And, silly me, I was hoping to walk a 5k on Saturday! It's a goal I have been working toward for years, and--thanks to a variety of treatments for exercise intolerance and a lot of hard work--I am ready for it. But squeezing it in this weekend, with everything else going on, was just too much.
I was feeling pressure from all of these different sources and thinking of the David Bowie/Queen song, Under Pressure (which is a fabulous song!):
With all that going on in my life, no wonder I was feeling out of sorts and stressed! Once I had pinpointed the sources of tension that were bothering me, I realized it was not all out of my control. I could take steps to reduce my own stress and relieve some of that pressure. So, Friday afternoon, I decided to:
- Postpone publishing my book until after our vacation, in December. That deadline was completely self-imposed. That's one less thing to deal with before we leave!
- Cancel plans to walk the 5k this weekend. Again, it was a self-imposed deadline because I really wanted to meet my goal before the end of the year, but it was just plain stupid to attempt such a big milestone (and heavy exertion) with so much else going on. Besides, it ended up being in the 20's (F!) Saturday morning - definitely a good decision.
- Hardest of all, I told my mom I could come from Sunday through Wednesday but would have to leave after breakfast Wednesday, as I had originally planned, in order to get ready for vacation and not end up crashed for our trip. I so want to be there for my mom, so this was the hardest step of all, but I realized I have to take care of myself, too. This is our dream trip that we've been planning and looking forward to for ages, and I don't want to spend the first few days in bed. The travel days will be hard enough, without exhausting myself ahead of time.
- Went to my massage therapy appointment on Friday afternoon. This therapy is more painful than relaxing, but I really needed my massage therapist to work out some trouble spots and loosen up my muscles (hmmm...another result of all that stress?).
- Came home and told my husband we were ordering pizza for dinner! This is a BIG treat for us, since I am intolerant to dairy and don't usually eat grains, either. Plus, we had no cooking and no dishes. The pizza was amazing, and we watched an extra TV show while we ate it.
- Had a date night with my husband Saturday--went out to dinner with our oldest friends and watched a fun movie at home.
I realize it is ironic that I am writing a book about emotional coping and daily living with chronic illness, yet I got into a situation where I felt out-of-control and stressed! In the end, though, I applied some of the tenets from my book--like considering what I can control, adjusting my plans to meet my needs, and allowing myself some downtime--and it worked. I am feeling better now and am ready to tackle these hectic couple of weeks ... and then enjoy a much-needed vacation with my family.