Cassie Shepherd

May 23, 2012

De-stress Mode

I am in a family crisis and intervention course. I learn about different ways families and individuals should cope with stress and then I am trained to effectively provide therapy for them. Of course, to absorb the full learning experience it is essential I take the same stress test that is given to potential crisis victims. 

Now, don't be alarmed that I ranked nine points short of the highest stress level. A score of 291 out of 300 probably is nothing to be concerned about. Over the next year "the experts" say I am at risk for a serious illness, but I long passed the severe depression mark and I feel great. 

I wonder if crisis victims go through a denial period? 

Alas, I am taking steps to "de-stress." 

First - I changed jobs. Yes, again. When we settled in our Springville home, it was only a matter of time before I left my Highland job. Every week I lost six hours in travel time. And with all due respect, the job was stressful. Their youngest son was adopted and suffering from a long list of behavioral issues. It was a great case for my research, but it wasn't helping my anxiety.

I interviewed with a handful of families and had job offerings with all but one family. And, let me point out that was because they were scary. I completely (purposely) blew the interview from the moment I walked in the door. When she asked for my references I told her she couldn't have them. It was a quite hilarious interview, but that is a story for another day. 

The job I finally accepted was one that I had initially applied for in February, before we moved back. In short, they're a terrific family! They have four children and one on the way. I started with them a week ago, so I am still getting the hang of things, but I think they like me. At least I hope!

I hate feeling like I don't give a job 100% of myself. So, it was extremely difficult for me to ask, my first week on the job nonetheless, if I could work fewer hours. Mitch and I spent hours going over my school schedule and all my obligations over the next three months and felt I was going to have to drop some classes and put off graduating or cut back on working. 

How blessed I feel that the family I am working with were flexible and said they would work around my schooling. I know it isn't easy for them and especially after just hiring me I am so grateful they could provide me the opportunity to continue working on my school. The Kearney's helped pay for my school and now I feel like this family is making other sacrifices for me.

Someone is watching over me.

Second de-stress step - getting more sleep. I hate the sound of that. I feel lazy, but it is the truth and I have to deal with it. When I was 17, I had mono and have never been able to have the energy that I feel that I should since. Every six months or so I go through a phase where I think I don't need more than seven or eight hours of sleep so I push myself to run on fewer hours. I can do it, but I get chronic headaches so I am quickly reminded I have to make time to sleep or I am useless in my studies. 

Third step - exercise. This is a work in progress. Some days I am great. Other days, not so much. I know that I feel better when I exercise and it is crucial to keeping a healthy balance in your life, but I make excuses that studying has to get done before I go running. Sometimes it really does and sometimes I just need better motivation.

Fourth step - leave reality at least once a month. Last weekend, Mitch and I took a sudden unplanned break and headed to Logan to see some friends. The three hour drive up and back down was the first time since Mexico that I felt like Mitch and I were able to have a good life discussion. In June, I am hoping we can make it to Southern Utah. I love Southern Utah. 

Fifth step - make time for my hobbies. We inherited my parent's piano. Woohoo! My brother and I visited Deseret Book last week and I bought myself Paul Cardell's primary songs arrangements. It is way too hard for me, but one day I'll be able to play it. I've been making a little time each day to practice. I also want to take tennis lessons, but working fewer hours means less money so that'll probably have to be put on hold. 

Finally - spiritual realignment. I have been to church twice since March 4. One of those times we only went to sacrament. There is a long list of reasons for this, but, again, stories for another day. I have been able to go to the Temple though (I am loving that it is only a ten minute drive). I know that Heavenly Father has been close to us throughout these crazy months and I have felt his companionship holding me up on my rough days. Last Saturday we were in the Salt Lake Temple and I am grateful to have felt the peace that the spirit brings into our lives. It was a beautiful experience.

Above everything, I am grateful for my Mitchell. He has been supportive, thoughtful, helpful, generous, and incredibly sweet during this transition. He has showered me with treats and flowers and I am thankful that he is willing to work hard for our family. Sometimes he is at the hospital for over 24 hours, but that doesn't stop him from coming home and cleaning or helping with dinner. He is a good man and I am lucky to have him!!!



  1. This totally sounds like something I need to do! Congratulations on your new job. They're lucky to have you!

  2. I'm glad you're liking the new job and also glad that you are taking some steps to de-stress. Don't work yourself too hard :) I tried calling you tonight and it said your number has changed? Will you email me your new number?

    1. Um, weird! I didn't change my number. Regardless, I'll e-mail you or try giving you a call tomorrow.

  3. Wow...amazing all that has been going on. That is awesome that the family you are working for is able to work with you and your schedule. Someone is definitely "watching over" you. I love the story about the scary family, too funny.

  4. So, Stressy Bessie, I hope things are getting better for you, and that your "de-stressing" plan is working. :o) Actually, I thought your ideas to help the process were very good! I want to know what success you're having.

    1. Has the job change helped yet? I know the travel time improved dramatically and I'm thinking cutting back on the hours has also made a difference. Good!
    2. You sent me an e-mail last night at midnight. What's with that? You're supposed to be sound asleep at that hour... Hmmmm.
    3. Regular exercise is a great motivater also. When we move, you can play tennis all winter at the clubhouse which might help. Dad and I are going to try to do some walking. I had an epidural yesterday, so hope to see some improvement in the next few days. Dad's back got worse after Memorial Day and he is still sitting around on the hot pad, but I'm sure it will just take time.
    4. I'm so glad you're happy about the piano, and are anxious to get back to playing it again. It can definitely be relaxing.
    5. It sounds like you're doing well with your spiritual goals as well. That's where you'll find your greatest help. (I know - faith without work is dead though.....)

    OK. So how is the schoolwork? Was Mary able to help with your huge paper? Whew! Take it one day at a time, my beautiful daughter. It's a busy time in your life, but a happy one also. I love you!