Living in an RV – Three Ways to Control Worry

How to Control Worry

Tempers are rising as we prepare for our months-long travels to Canada. We are counting down the days now till we leave on our big trip across the U.S. and Canada for Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and all points in between.

Living in an RV is the easy part.  It’s when you’ve decided to have some serious adventures, it gets a little more exciting.  I woke up one morning and told Stephen I had a middle of the night panic attack about what could go wrong with the coach on our extended trip and what it might cost. After I had shared my fears, Stephen realized he’s been having unexpressed stress, and it may be affecting how he’s relating to me.

It was good to get these concerns out in the open and face the dark side of adventure. We’re usually excited about what we’re going to see and experience, and our heads are filled with romantic notions of travel. But every once in a while, it’s good to look into the abyss as well and know what kinds of difficulties could arise and if we’re ready to roll with them or at least get through them without killing each other!

So, now that our worries have raised their ugly heads, what to do?

Here’s a link to some very insightful advice and an excerpt on how to handle worry.

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/how-to-stop-worrying.html

Create a Worry Period

“Telling yourself to stop worrying doesn’t work—at least not for long. You can distract yourself for a moment, but you can’t banish anxious thoughts for good. In fact, trying to do so often makes them stronger and more persistent.  You can test this out for yourself. Close your eyes and picture a pink elephant. Once you can see it in your mind, stop thinking about it. Whatever you do, for the next 60 seconds, don’t think about pink elephants!  How did you do? Did thoughts of pink elephants keep popping in your brain?”  Try this:

1. Create a “worry period” Choose a set time and place for worrying. It should be the same every day (e.g. in the living room from 5:00 to 5:20 p.m.) and early enough that it won’t make you anxious right before bedtime. During your worry period, you’re allowed to worry about whatever’s on your mind. The rest of the day, however, is a worry-free zone.

2. Postpone your worry. If an anxious thought or worry comes into your head during the day, make a brief note of it and then continue about your day. Remind yourself that you’ll have time to think about it later, so there’s no need to worry about it right now.

3. Go over your “worry list” during the worry period. If the thoughts you wrote down are still bothering you, allow yourself to worry about them, but only for the amount of time you’ve specified for your worry period. If they don’t seem important any more, cut your worry period short and enjoy the rest of your day.

Our pink elephant is this:  We don’t have much of a financial safety net, so there’s a bit of foolhardiness in our casting our fates to the wind. I asked Stephen today as we were getting the coach serviced for the trip with an oil change ($500). What is the meaning of foolhardy? He said a combination of foolish and enthusiastic. I just looked it up, and Webster says:

Foolhardy is a combination of the noun fool and the adjective hardy, meaning “brave” or “bold.”

Put them together, and you’ve got “foolishly brave.” Someone who is foolhardy throws caution to the wind and takes reckless chances. A foolhardy mistake is typically the result of this kind of impulsive behavior. But foolhardy doesn’t always imply foolishness or stupidity; foolhardy can convey courage and romance, as in the case of a foolhardy passion or desire.  I love this image from the tarot deck of the fool card.  Fits me to a tee.

Here’s the thing. We are 70 and 72 and long ago decided that we’ll live our lives by two guiding forces. Creativity and adventure. So, how can we be anything but foolhardy if those are our two guiding passions?

It was good to take a deep breath and reflect on all the possible predicaments that could befall us. If you are an RVer, you know what I mean. Blowouts, breakdowns, bad weather, etc., etc. They are things you certainly don’t want to think about when you’re planning your great adventure!

But after all, the very meaning of the word adventure implies difficulties. Conferring with Webster again, I find another way of thinking about adventure:

“An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.”

In my very first post to this blog, I said, “we will get through this together.” I went back and read it to remind me to take a deep breath. Here’s the link to that post. http://theartofrvharmony.com/test/rv-relationships-best-friends-3-behaviors-avoid/

What motivates you to face your worries about the unknowns inherent in living in an RV?  I’d like to hear.  If you like what I’m offering on my blog, please subscribe and take the trip along with us!

RV Relationships Can Be Difficult: Reset your RV Life

RV Living and Loving
RV Living and Loving

Reset Your RV Life

RV relationships are the heart and soul of this blog.  On the opening page of my blog I said, “Our relationship will be the laboratory that shows the work it takes to be in harmony.”  Read more here.

Getting along in your RV life with your partner is different than normal life where there are a million distractions.  In RV living it is usually just the two of you and sometimes you need to reset your relationship.  Recently, when things got heated, Stephen and I captured some of the content of a flare-up in this video.


keywords:  RV relationships, RV life

 

Disagreements happen.  And, they happen over and over again.  We’ve been working on this relationship for 40 years, and to stay in love and still enjoy each others company, we continually work on staying connected.  Did I say work?  I’ve heard it often said that you have to work on a relationship but, I think, isn’t it more like you have to stay present to that place where you intersect?  It’s a muscle you develop and you must keep exercising it or it withers.

It all starts with the inquiry into yourself. What did I do or not do to make this happen or not happen?  This takes courage.  Humans have egos, and those egos are constantly at work to render us blameless.  Look a little deeper with more curiosity, and you will see there are many rooms in our minds.  Some of these rooms have no light so we don’t enter them.  But, they may be where your behaviors originate that cause you to be further and further apart from your partner.  It’s hard to look at yourself.  Really really hard.  You might be surprised though that inquiry into yourself may lead you to discover something you did or didn’t do that could’ve contributed to the discord. 

Stephen said a sweet thing to me this morning.  He said, “I know you’re always reaching for harmony in our relationship.”  Well, I would say I do always end up there, but I can tell you the stubborn little girl in me sometimes takes her own sweet time to get there!  Then, I remember that I have the power to reset our relationship.

One of the top destroyers of relationships is the

“you gain, I lose” mentality.

Looking around on the web at what other people are saying about this topic I found this:

“Every time you do something for your partner—run an errand, fix something, pick up a child, make a meal—even when these things entail a sacrifice on your part, you strengthen and expand the fabric of your relationship. If you think of this fabric as a quilt that covers both of you, it’s sensible to want it to be stronger and bigger. The belief that adding a square to your partner’s side of the quilt takes one away from yours is false. More squares just make the quilt bigger for both of you to share. And fixing holes in the quilt, such as misunderstandings and unmet needs, enables the quilt to keep you both warmer. Giving to your partner and meeting his or her needs is always a win unless it means sacrificing your principles or your dignity. Moving from a competitive to a collaborative frame of mind, where you’re both working together to make each other happy and fulfilled, changes the entire dynamic of your relationship.”

https://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/the-simple-3-step-relationship-reboot-fiff/

 

It feels soooo good to be back on the other side of disconnection.  Your small space RV relationship pretty much demands striving for RV harmony.  And if you are like us, and your usual way of being together is holding hands, laughing together, and sharing life, it is so worth it to do what ever it takes to, as they say in Congress, “reach across the aisle.”

We are three weeks away from leaving for Canada and I am atwitter with excitement!  Being here at Cochiti reminds me how much I love a campground.  People are different here.  They are more present and relaxed.  Awake to life.  That’s how I feel.

RV Relationships [9 Benefits from Hugging]

All about Hugging!

Oh yes, things can get quite heated when living in an RV! One of my readers suggested getting a dog as an effective way to cool down by taking said dog on a good long walk! Can we get hugs from our dog traveling buddies? Yes! My Gracie is a hugger. She will press her body and face into me as if she wants to become one and I’m immediately aware of feelings of love and calmness. Other times she, for unknown reasons, will begin staring at me. What is happening? Research shows that the simple act of mutual gazing between humans and dogs increases our Oxytocin levels. Our blood pressure returns to normal as our brains are bathed in calming chemicals and, our dogs receive the same calming influence from this shared encounter as we do!

I uncovered an unusual historical piece of information about our relationships with our dogs while I was wandering around the internet. In ancient Egypt, people believed that a dog’s lick could heal sores or lesions (there may be a basis in fact for this because dogs’ saliva contains antibacterial and antiviral substances, as well as growth factors). I’ve always disliked being licked by my dog, but maybe she’s trying to heal me of something!  Isn’t that the greatest thing about our dogs – they are such a mystery to us but the closest we’ll ever get to the animal kingdom.  Maybe I’ll change my mind about that licking given this evidence!

So our dogs can get us through those first moments of high frustration when dealing with our human companions. But what then? Sooner or later it will come back to how we are getting along with each other. Here’s something you can make sure is happening with your partner regardless of your verbal communication. Hug each other. Hugging has incredible powers. It can also set the tone for any talking that needs doing.

I read somewhere a while back that to get the most benefit from a hug, they should last at least 30 seconds. There is a saying by Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist,

“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”

So, inside our coach we’ve added these breaks into our daily life. We almost never hug eight times a day, more like two or three, but we do stay in a hug for at least 30 seconds. It’s amazing how it changes the temperature inside our tin can on wheels by meeting each other through our bodies several times a day with no sexual content. I don’t need any other evidence that this hugging ritual is doing good things for us but here’s some information I came across that confirms what my body is already telling me.
The following list of hugging benefits by Marcus Julian Felicetti can be found at:  https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5756/10-Reasons-Why-We-Need-at-Least-8-Hugs-a-Day.html.  His list shows that a proper deep hug, where the hearts are pressing together, can benefit you in these ways:

1. The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.

2. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.

3. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.

4. Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.

5. Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.

6. Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.

7. Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.

8. The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding. And, it’s synergistic, which means the whole is more than the sum of its parts: 1 + 1 = 3 or more! This synergy is more likely to result in win-win outcomes.

Speaking of giving and receiving, another way we like to hug is to come up behind each other at odd times, say when I’m doing dishes or Stephen is having a glass of water and just give a spontaneous hug from behind. We call it docking. It feels like getting a battery charge!

I love knowing I have this power in my relationship. Power to create closeness. Power to mend divides. So even if you are having these moments together with your partner, try being more deliberate with your hugs. I can’t wait to hear what you discover by enhancing your relationship with more hugging!