I don’t have a green thumb. When I first met my husband, he gave me a cute potted miniature rose. One morning, I put it on the patio for some sun, and promptly forgot about it… until a week later. Alas, the tiny rose was no match for the fierce California sun. Needless to say, my husband never gave me plants again. My dad, however, grew up on a farm, and plants thrive under his care. Recently, I wanted to plant a rose in the backyard of our new home. With my dad’s help, we planted a healthy and robust rose bush. The first bloom was glorious! The beautiful blossoms were as big as a grapefruit, and bloomed for days. After the flowers wilted, I continued to water and care for the plant. However, when some of the leaves started to shrivel and yellow. I knew something was wrong.
Lately, I felt a bit disconnected from God in the midst of a stressful season. Instead of forcing myself to worship or give thanks, I took a break and remembered the last time God showed up…
I burned out at the tender age of 27. Check out some of the invaluable life lessons I learned from that experience.
If you haven’t heard, July is journal writing month. Keeping a journal is a great way to be mindful and reflect on our busy lives. There are many different styles of journaling. Some popular recent trend includes bullet journaling, or using journaling prompts. Personally, I’ve found journaling a great resource for processing through emotions. I love to write out my thoughts by hand. I love the feel of the pen moving on paper. While some people journal digitally, I still prefer the old fashioned way of handwriting. There’s something about the process that’s quite satisfying.
It’s one of those evenings again. I have some free time, and was excited about catching up with chores around the house. As I glanced around at my surroundings, that familiar sinking feeling came back. Just looking at the piles of dirty dishes in the sink had sucked all of the energy out of me. “What’s the use? The clutter is never going away.” I felt defeated even before I began.
This is a hard topic to write about because no one likes to face or think about our own anger or negativity. I grew up around family members who had a tendency to have angry outbursts. Part of me still feels very traumatized by these episodes. Never did I think that I could also lose control like them. I understand that feeling angry itself is not a sin. Even Jesus was angry on many occasions. However, I am still responsible for my actions and words when I’m angry. A while back, there were a few occasions where I lost control in anger and said some hurtful things to loved ones. Someone finally confronted me about my unacceptable behavior. It was then I had to acknowledge to myself about the deep frustrations I’ve been experiencing.
I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned on managing anxiety. In the process, it became clear how deeply personal my journey has been. I wish there’s an “easy button” to banish anxiety for good, but that’s just not the case. However, changing my mindset and learning life skills in the right areas have helped me cope with stress much better. I know everyone has their unique set of challenges. All I can do is share my experiences in hope that it may be encouraging and helpful to those who may have similar struggles like me. Here, I will give a quick overview, highlighting the key elements that made major differences in my life. Eventually, I hope to discuss and explain these areas in more detail.
I had a pretty hectic schedule these last few weeks. We patched up an unexpected leaky roof, filed taxes, and celebrated Chinese New Year (which is kind of like Christmas for Chinese families except kids get “lucky money” from relatives instead of gifts from Santa.) Only now can I get back to my normal routine. Feeling drained, I made sure to take things easy the week after the festivities to rest up. Usually, a few free afternoons are all I need to recover and feel rested. However, last night, when our internet had a slight hiccup, I went into full-on panic mode again. The sudden wave of anxiety shocked me. The week of rest I had before didn’t seem to matter much. Emotionally, I felt like I had not rested at all.
I wrestle with anxiety often. I’m not sure if it’s an Asian thing, but many of my girlfriends also have similar struggles. When I was young, when my mom came home late from work, I would jump to the worst scenario possible and couldn’t shake it off. It’s weird. I remember having a rather carefree childhood. Somewhere along the way, this fearful mindset snuck in.
The clock just struck midnight, and it is now officially the last day of 2017. In the past, I took the last days of the year to meditate and think about the future directions. This year, however, I’m doing something different. I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned and how I’ve changed in the last twelve months.