Ice Dams…A Metaphor for Life

For those of you in the Northeast currently experiencing the worst winter in history you might have thought I said “Damn Ice!” but in actuality I said Ice Dams.

As I was sitting on the couch, sipping hot cocoa, and watching the water drip in through the top of the picture window into the bucket on my living room floor I realized how apropos this metaphor is to my present situation.

In layman’s terms ice dams are typically created by a lack of sealing or insulation to the attic in combination with an excessive amount of snow on the roof.  The heat from the house seeps into the attic melting the lower level of snow, which is trapped by the upper level leaving no where for the water to go but to leak back into the house in various locations.

Spending money to prevent ice dams by properly insulating the attic, clearing the gutters, and removing as much snow as possible from the roof is a far more cost effective investment than waiting until a waterfall pours into your living room.  Fixing the ceiling, walls, and other damage can be extremely expensive.

You may be thinking, “She has to have a point here…Heather doesn’t have a home improvement blog, she has a joyful living blog.  Get to the point, Heather!”  I appreciate your honesty.  Thank you for your patience.  Here it is.

Prevent the buildup of stress and frustration in your life.  It is far more cost effective than waiting to clean up the fallout of your psychological leaks and restoration.

I mentioned the metaphor was timely because just prior to the contemplative cocoa sipping I had exploded all over my house.  Literally.  I had thrown a hissy fit over something completely ridiculous.  In my defense, I typically would have treated myself to a preventive meditation, yoga, or hike when feeling frazzled.  But alas the 26th school cancellation due to extreme weather created a buildup of frustration with no time for prevention.  (PS- I do realize I’m full of it here.  If I had prioritized my sanity more I would have found the time but I just didn’t do it.)

Learn from my mistakes and take the time to feed and calm your soul so that you can better handle the stressors that arise with poise and humor.  Each person will have a list of preventive medicine that works best for them but here are a few popular suggestions to get you started:

  • Breathe.  Begin your day with deep breathing exercises.  Slowly breathe in through your nose for a count of four.  Then slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of six.  Do this five times focusing your attention only on the breath. Note-you can do these throughout the day as needed.
  • Exercise.  A highly effective way to let off steam, clear the mind, and release endorphins (those lovely chemicals that make us feel all warm, fuzzy and happy).  Running, walking, dancing, ball playing, or any other activity that gets you moving and shaking will do.
  • Treat.  Some find a therapeutic massage highly effective.  Others find taking time for a leisurely lunch with friends more in order.  Whatever you consider to be a ‘treat’ will work.  Take time for you.
  • Inspiration.  Read an uplifting book.  Watch a heartwarming show about someone good getting the help they need.  Journal about a project you’d like to complete to assist or encourage someone.  Call a friend that always brings a smile to your face.

Avoid allowing stress and frustration to build up.  Invest in yourself.  It will go a long way to preventing the fallout of saying or doing something in anger or aggravation that you’ll later regret.

Action Step:  Right now choose your favorite way to decompress and add it to your schedule on a regular basis.  Preventive maintenance for your sanity is clearly the best option.  Enjoy!

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About FindYourFire

Writer, speaker, and life coach Heather O'Neill is president of Progressive Image and creator of the Fire in Five program...helping people reconnect and find the joy in their lives.
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