I won’t lie to you. This past weekend was kind of rough. For the second time in a week, I was walking out to the pasture to help my 33 year old horse get up from where he had decided to take a snooze. Every time this happens my heart hurts a little more wondering when it will be the last time we will be able to get him back up.
For those who don’t know me personally, my horse Bolshoi and I will be celebrating our 31 year anniversary on May 11. He has been with me through the trials of my teenage years, four years of college, two countries, good relationships and bad breakups, years on the road traveling to horse shows, winning national championships, and leisurely trail riding through the Florida and Georgia countryside. He is now retired on our farm where I enjoy seeing his sweet face every day and wishing those days would last forever. But knowing they won’t.
Sometimes instant access to the world is soul crushing
Also last week, while innocently surfing the internet, I came across a website called ThunderClap which leverages the reach of social media to help promote social causes. Thinking this would be a great thing to try for my husband’s upcoming fundraising campaign for his new album, I clicked on the link to check it out. The first cause on the home page drew my eye immediately. A horrific animal abuse situation that is so awful I won’t even talk about it here because I don’t want it to be stuck in your head like it is now permanently, horribly stuck in mine. The kind of images and words that haunt you for weeks and months and won’t let you sleep at night.
These things were weighing on me so heavily this weekend and they decided to come crushing down on me in a lovely anxiety attack. My heart was racing, I felt sick to my stomach, and I felt like I might burst into tears. I followed Dawn’s excellent advice in her post Singing and Dancing in the Rain, and used my “pretty umbrella” to help fight the gloom. With no one home but me and the dogs, I retreated to my happy place …the barn.
My way to find peace
My pretty umbrella comes in the form of cleaning stalls, scrubbing and filling water buckets, and making our barn a cozy home for our horses. I walked up to the barn, grabbed a pitchfork and a wheel barrow, and started cleaning. I find this sort of work very soothing and extremely satisfying and doing something to take care of our own animals really helped me to calm down. It seems Bolshoi had come to my rescue yet again just as I had come to his aid this week.
I know when things are going well it’s hard to think about having a strategy for what you might do when as Dawn so eloquently posted, “We find ourselves in times of trouble, where the world seems intent on pouring gloom, despair, and agony into our days.” But you don’t know when the storms may pop up and you do need to be prepared with a plan ahead of time. Taking a walk in nature, settling in with a cup of hot tea and a cherished book, calling a good friend, or even cleaning stalls to help ease the stress. Knowing what that plan is before anxiety strikes will make it easier to take action when the time comes and you are already in distress and not thinking straight.
I will leave you with the wise words of my husband who told me that what I can do right now is take extra special care of our rescued dogs and our horses, hug them daily, spoil them with love, and give them the best life I can. I think Ralph Waldo Emerson put it best when he said,To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. Click To Tweet
Have you chosen your strategy for when anxiety and stress take over? We would love to hear about it in the comments below.