Saturday, August 21, 2010

Staying Busy

Last week when I started drafting a list of ways many of us survive unwanted separation from our spouses, I realized that I was listing each strategy in order of when I discovered it, not necessarily in order of importance. So while the most important stuff will come later, for now, this one's a pretty big one:

Coping Strategy #3:
You absolutely MUST stay busy

I don't think this one can be stated enough. When I find myself spending too much time wallowing in the awfulness of being separated from Carlos, the truth is, I just have too much available time. Although generally Lucas takes care of demanding my every waking moment, sometimes I have to actively look for ways to fill the remaining time so the glaring awfulness doesn't get to stand out. Besides the obvious (work, daily tasks), I've had to look for ways to invest myself in other people and other pursuits so that I can divert my energy to something besides mourning over the time my family has lost. Here are things I've either tried, plan to try, or think other people might enjoy trying:
  • Get together with friends. Friends who know better than to ask, "So, any news on ____[insert significant other's name here]____?" every time you see them.
  • Take a class. Someday. I'd like to formally study French.
  • Sign up at the gym. I seriously should be doing this!
  • Join a new ministry at church. I recently started doing nursery duty at church and I actually enjoy it a lot. I'm also planning to re-join a small group to increase my adult interaction with members of my church.
  • Tutor the neighbor kids just because. Or sometimes you don't choose to, they just arrive needing help. Either way, there are tons of worksheets on lots of topics available at abcteach, you can generate simple but challenging math worksheets at SuperKids Math, and you can create all sorts of puzzles at Discovery Education.
  • Learn to knit. Learn-to-knit has a lot of basic videos for total beginners who want to learn how to knit. has free videos of most stitches and methods called for in any pattern you might find. Ravelry is pretty much a full-scale online community full of patterns, yarn, and tools to organize and share your projects.
  • Study a language. LiveMocha (or RocketLanguages if you've got money to invest in this) is a great place to learn interactively and intuitively. SharedTalk is a cool site for practicing your language skills with real people. For a really great list of language-learning resources online, see Mashable's guide HOW TO: Learn and Practice Languages Using Social Media.
 Staying busy also gives you a sense of satisfaction that while the US immigration process is inefficient and flawed, you are a shining beacon of productivity and growth. At least that's how I like to think of it...

Here are Strategies #1 and 2
Here is Strategy #4: Choosing Victory


Amanda said...

For sure keep yourself busy but be sure to not over stress also. I know I tended to do that before we moved and I would end up breaking down over the stress. I love your list though they are all constructive things and will help you out in their own way.

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