Coming Back Home: Church and Nature: My Exceptional Sanctuaries From Stress

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I sat in the Church pews for the first time in two months yesterday. I was alone. Michael was not ready to come back to church. That is a whole other blog post. In this one, I want to talk about how I re-connected back yesterday to something important to me that I had been losing over the summer in the hectic day to day life. What was it? My ability to re-connect inwards with my soul and spirit to get strong for what lies ahead with Michael, and any other life events that are coming my way. It was bittersweet and emotional for me to be at mass alone yesterday, but I needed that time. Lately, Michael has still been having growing pains adjusting to school, homework, and his ever growing need to be on the move and keep busy. His stimming people tell him he has to. I think it is due to all the worrying and stress he carries around in his head. He is literally running from it. That, and the fact as he has told us, mapping out all these destinations on Google Maps means now he has to visit the countless stores and places everyday after school that he has seen. This is part of his love and hyper focus on directions. I am proud yet exhausted, and am slowly trying to find a compromise for both of us. I have told him we stay home once a week this month, twice in October, three times in November, and then in December four days a week, and that I will show him the fun things he can do at home. It has not been easy. There have been tears, fighting and stress on both our parts, but I know we will find a compromise.

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This is why being in church yesterday was so good for me. It helped me remember how to go in ward and find strength to help Michael and myself. The next place I went yesterday afternoon that recharged me, was a park with Michael. While he played, I sat on the bench, and after taking some pictures of the trees and nature around me, I lay back, closed my eyes, and began to slowly heal from the stress of our fights over the last few days, the mental and physical exhaustion of working, taking care of Michael, making time for my marriage, and catching up in my house. I felt my old positive spirit start to emerge again slowly. I was in danger of losing it due to stress and anxiety. And that is when the word hit me: sanctuary. Nature and religion are my sanctuaries and the places I must retreat to when times get tough and stormy.

Exceptional Parents, what are your sanctuaries in times of stress and difficulty? If you don’t know offhand, try experimenting BEFORE your tension levels skyrocket. Try out taking a nature walk or sitting near a body of water, try a new exercise routine or yoga routine, go sit in a coffee shop, do whatever you need to do to heal your spirit. Make sure you show and remind it what it needs to do to recharge so that when things do swirl out of control, you know where to go. I’m sure glad I did, and now I can show Michael to do the same thing. Until next time.

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