Thursday started out like a normal Thursday– wake up, shower, get dressed, take daughter to the bus stop, get home, make coffee. Everything was going fine…. until I looked out the back window and noticed the water in our pool was still and calm. Uh oh. Normally the water jets are powerful enough to make some slight ripples across the surface, so calm water meant there was a problem. Going out to get a closer look, I saw that the water level was well below the skimmer and it puzzled me that I hadn’t noticed it the night before, so I walked around the pool looking for a leak. Not finding one, I chalked it up to simply not paying enough attention the day before, turned on the garden hose, plopped it into the pool, and started filling it up. Ok, crisis averted, back inside to my coffee…. I was feeling the stress of it, but I reminded myself that I didn’t have anything on my schedule that couldn’t be rearranged. So I felt a little better.
Until 2 hours later.
After that timeframe, I thought for sure the pool would have enough water that I could turn the pump back on and resume normal operations. And sure enough, the water level was halfway up the skimmers. But when I plugged it back in, water spewed ferociously out the side of the pump. Uh oh. That’s not normal. Not at all. So I unplugged it again, ran inside to get my phone, and called my husband because I have no clue about complicated machines like pool pumps. Long story short– we had to submit a warranty claim to the pool center where we’d purchased it a few months before. And I got to sit around waiting most of the day for various salespeople and repairmen to get in touch with me. Talk about stress!
Now I admit, having my pool pump spring a leak and then having to wait for the repairmen is definitely a first world problem. But the stress and anxiety I felt about the situation is something we all experience. Every single day we’re all faced with a variety of stresses. Work, school, home, friends, family, colleagues, driving. shopping, watching our kids’ sports games– the list goes on and on. Stress is everywhere. We can’t escape it. So if avoiding stress isn’t an option, what can we do?
Here’s what I did–
- Ok, first, I complained. I posted about it on Facebook. I texted my sister and my husband. Yes, I’m a mental health professional, but I’m also human with very human responses. Something goes wrong, we like to complain. So that’s what I did. And it did make me feel a teeny tiny bit better in the moment. That didn’t last long, and it didn’t really change anything. So…
- I reminded myself that I have resources for dealing with this stress. The pool pump (thankfully!) is under warranty. The pool center employees were really helpful in getting the claim started. My sister asked how she could help. My friends responded to my Facebook post.
- I put it in perspective. Was this a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad thing? Not really. It was largely an inconvenience. Luckily, it was a light workday for me, so I could rearrange things easily.
- I listened to some music. I’m a musician, so music of some kind (whether it’s listening to it or playing it) is typically one of my first coping techniques for dealing with stress.
- I kept re-focusing myself onto other tasks whenever I felt myself getting anxious about the pool repairs throughout the day. When I felt the anxiety creeping up again, I’d remind myself that I had done everything within my control to fix the situation and that I needed to let the worry go because 1) it wasn’t productive and 2) I’d done all I could. Crossing things off my to-do list helped keep my mind off the stress and helped me feel like I was accomplishing things (instead of sitting around stressing about the repairs).
And how does that help you?
Stress happens to all of us. We can all use some of the same coping techniques to manage it. If the techniques I mentioned above don’t work for you, you can find others that do help you! Maybe coloring, or exercise, or playing with your pet will be more helpful to you. Whatever it is, I encourage you to try different activities and approaches until you find the ones that work.
If you’re more curious about how music can play a role in managing stress and anxiety, I’d be happy to explain! Contact me anytime!