There’s a beautiful expression I try to live by: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” This expression has always appealed to me because:
A) You shouldn’t waste your life waiting for better times to come and
B) I love me a bit of rain, no matter the season
Unfortunately, I can’t really remember the last time the soil around here has seen a little rain. And that in a country which is famed for dreary summers.
How to deal with struggle
In Western Europe (and other parts of the world) we have been dealing with uncharacteristically high temperatures and drought for over a month now. Citizens of the Netherlands have been requested to save water and to avoid extensive usage during peak-hours. Farmers are seeing their crops ruined, particular types of trees are dying. And this week, the Netherlands has issued a “code orange” to warn about uncharacteristic maximum temperatures of 37C, with a national heat-plan to battle the warmth.
With a 15 month old baby who shares my translucently pale skin, I’ve been feeling locked in ever since temperatures have started to rise over 25C by the end of June. We would only go out in the early morning or late afternoon, and would seek out the relative cool of our home in between.
If only I would have known what was to come!
Now that temperatures are easily reaching over 35C – and our house has become a reflection of the continuous sultry days and nights – I barely know how to find us refreshment anymore. The curtains remain closed until after the sun has gone down (the moment I frantically start running between windows, opening them in turn to air the place out, providing minimal but much needed cool for the next day).
I also sneak into my daughter’s room at least 3 times a night: Once to open the window, the second time to change her into something to prevent her from catching something from the draft, and a third to close the window and the blinds before the sun comes up. I’m not counting the times in between I go in to give her sips of water and to lay my hand on her cheek to check her temperature.
I do this with as much love and devotion as I do the rest of my parenting tasks, but it does keep me occupied to a point of stressing me out. There’s not really a manual for this, after all.
Am I making the right calls? Is my choice to have her sleep in only her diaper a good one? Is she getting enough sleep in general? Am I fussing over my daughter too much? Or would a little more fussing make her feel better and more comfortable?
People usually describe me as a self-sure and relaxed mother, but this metaphorical “rainstorm” has been rattling my sense of confidence.
The fact that we spend so much time indoors behind closed curtains in a hot and stuffy house doesn’t help my mood. Nor does having the outside view obscured by my bed spread – which now doubles as a sun screen. We have involuntarily adapted to a diet that doesn’t require an oven, stove or other source of heat to keep the house as cool as possible (make sure to check out these healthy no-heat recipes to keep things a little varied, though!). I haven’t vacuumed or mopped the floors in over a month for the same reason (thank God for owning a Swiffer). And household chores are piling up because it’s simply too hot to tackle them without getting physically sick from the heat.
I know this is all an annoyance, like it is for the rest of the people who don’t enjoy this uncharacteristically hot weather (Hey, fellow twitterers!). But I am slowly starting to realize we might be doing exactly what my favorite quote tries to teach us to avoid.
Dancing in the rain
So if you’re struggling with the current conditions, ask yourself this: Aren’t we sitting life out at this point?
My answer to this question is a full-on “Yes. This is exactly how I am dealing with my struggles right now.”
This is why I have taken on the challenge to make a more current adaptation to my favorite phrase:
“Life isn’t about waiting for the heatwave to pass. It’s about learning to chill out in the shade.”
Although I am literally counting the hours until (either day or night) temperatures will drop under 25C again, I have decided to try and find solace in what is, rather what is not. I do this by:
- Realizing my worrying won’t change the weather
- Trying my best, but not over-exerting myself to make things comfortable for my child
- Following the prescribed heat-plan by minimizing physical effort and drinking plenty of water
- Practicing gratitude (make sure to check out the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge to help you on your way)
- Trying to find the silver lining in the situation
I hope this little brain-spin will help others battling the mental strain of this heatwave as well!
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How do you manage to tackle hard times?