[E189] Stress Capacity with Rico and Becca McKay

Episode 189 April 23, 2024 00:47:27
[E189] Stress Capacity with Rico and Becca McKay
Empowered to Connect Podcast
[E189] Stress Capacity with Rico and Becca McKay

Apr 23 2024 | 00:47:27

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Show Notes

We've talked about stress capacity before, but this week we had SO much fun hearing from BOTH of the McKays about how understanding their own stress capacity was a game-changer! Listen for Rico’s raw and authentic take on how reflecting on his own stress capacity has made him a better elementary school teacher, friend, and husband.

How do you know when your stress capacity is running low? What can you to about it?? What “fills your tires” as you navigate “life’s potholes”? We'll get into that and more on today's episode.

Head to our website for a free downloadable about Stress Capacity!

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Speaker A: Welcome to the Empowered to Connect podcast, where we come together to discuss a healing centered approach to engagement and wellbeing for ourselves, our families, and our communities. I'm JD Wilson, and I'm your host. And today in the show, we've got Becca McKay. And for the very first time, her husband, Rico McKay, is with us. And so you're going to love Rico. We have long been friends, but this is the first time we've been able to have him on the show today. And so we're going to talk about stress capacity. It's something that. A conversation they have all the time together, Becca and Rico, a conversation that we talk about in empower two connect world a lot. And so we're going to talk about stress capacity, what it is, how we can support each other in it, and then also just how we can then support our kids and other parents that we are in community with, and just understanding stress capacity and knowing why that is such a big deal. And so we'll just jump right into it now, without any further ado, here they are, Becca McKay, Rico McKay, and myself talking about stress capacity. Well, all right, as we said in the introduction, we're here with Becca McKay and special guest, first time guest, Rico McKay. Rico, thank you for joining us today. I had you muted. That's my fault. Say that again. [00:01:21] Speaker B: I said to be here. It's good to be here today. [00:01:24] Speaker C: Great. [00:01:25] Speaker A: We're starting off great here. Um, so I think for people who don't know you, which is a lot of people who are listening don't know you yet, why don't you kind of introduce yourself and talk about kind of your upbringing, you know, what makes you who you are, and then we'll talk about how you and Becca got to know each other. And so why don't we start with that? [00:01:43] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, hello, everybody. I'm Rico. Um, and as JD said, I am Becca's husband. Um, I. So, a little bit about me, but about my professional career. I started working in education about seven, six years ago. Six, seven years ago. And that is how Becca and I met. She was a school social worker, and at the time, I was a assistant teacher. And Becca will never let me live down that. On our first day of training, I was late. [00:02:17] Speaker C: Extremely late. [00:02:19] Speaker B: I was extremely late, and I stayed at him. An extremely late person. So, um. But right now, currently, I am a fifth grade Ela teacher here in the Memphis Shelby county school district. I really enjoy my job. I get to work with kids from all different backgrounds and all different walks of life. And this class that I'm currently teaching right now has really made, like, an impact on me, so I. I really enjoy my job, so. [00:02:48] Speaker A: All right. And so when we. When we jump into this conversation about stress capacity, obviously so much of it has to do with our past, our background, just kind of our upbringing, um, our professional, you know, status, all those things. So why don't you share kind of your. Your background, your upbringing, your. You're not from Memphis, but from the Memphis area, and talk about your family growing up. [00:03:07] Speaker B: Yeah, I. So I am originally from Mississippi, but at the age of. I don't know how old I was, but I know I was in, like, second grade. I moved to Kansas. So I was. I spent all of my life in the midwest. Went to college in Kansas City. [00:03:26] Speaker C: Oldest of six. [00:03:28] Speaker B: Oldest of six boys. Have no sisters. All boys, so. And I was raised by my mom. My mom. My parents were divorced, so I. We. Like I said, we moved there when I was in about second or third grade. And I was raised in Kansas my whole life, and I don't. I can't. I'm trying to think of a word that would describe my childhood, and the two that comes to my mind is probably a little bit of chaotic, just chaotic, but also very joyful. I had a good childhood, I would say, and I feel like my mom did the best she could raising us, so I really appreciate her and love her very deeply, and. [00:04:21] Speaker A: Yeah, awesome. All right, and Becca, obviously, from your perspective, you guys were working together at the school. This guy's egregiously late in his first day. [00:04:30] Speaker C: Horribly late. [00:04:30] Speaker A: Why is he even working here? Can't even show up to work on time. What is his problem? Also, shout out to the late people, of which I am one. [00:04:38] Speaker B: That's right. Shout out to the late people. [00:04:41] Speaker A: So. All right, so, Becca, your first impression of Rico working with Rico, all that. [00:04:47] Speaker C: Oh, man. My first impression. So my first impression of Rico was, oh, this. He's new to Memphis, and he just wants to make friends. And I didn't know that. He didn't just want to make friends with everybody. He just wanted to be friends with me. [00:05:01] Speaker A: Hey. [00:05:04] Speaker C: But super friendly, super personable. One of the things I remember from early on is a mutual friend of ours. Gretchen was working in the library at the time, and she came up to me and was like, do you know Mister McKay? And I was like, yeah, I know him a little bit. And she was like, do you know he has the voice of an angel, so he can sing very well, and he doesn't share it. With everyone all the time. But apparently he was just singing in the halls, and she felt the need to come and tell me. And you, do you have the voice of an angel? [00:05:32] Speaker B: Thank you. [00:05:33] Speaker A: I will be an impartial third. I'm not impartial. I'll leprechaun. But another third party, an unmarried third party who will say, it's true. Rico has the voice of angel, which is why he chose today to debut his new single. [00:05:48] Speaker C: And so here it is. No, Rico and I met, actually, during a pretty. A pretty rough time of his life. His dad was in the hospital nearing the end of his life. And so even from early on, we got to know each other, like, through a grief journey, which is, like, a little bit different. Listeners of the podcast know that I lost my mom when I was a teenager. He had lost his. His dear, dear grandma. And so then watching him walk through the loss of his dad, we became close pretty fast, dated for a while, and then got married during 2020. And it was you. You can imagine how that was. All the, like, canceled plans, lost deposits, you know, worried that they were going to shut down our even outdoor wedding because they were going to do restrictions on the number of people. And so, yeah, I got married in 2020, and it's been cool. We have very adjacent jobs where we both work serving kids, but in different ways. And so we both have a huge heart for kids. I will give a shout out to Rico. One of the first times that I saw him, he was serving as kind of a one on one to a kid with some significant disabilities. I've seen him assist in general ed class, special ed classrooms, and so just have seen him in a lot of ways show up for kids in really meaningful ways. And so, I know, yeah. On this podcast, we talk a lot about serving kids who have experienced adversity, trauma, loss, grief. And he is part of that in his work, too. [00:07:23] Speaker B: So I love the kids, y'all. [00:07:25] Speaker A: Awesome. Rico loves the kids. So today we're talking about stress capacity. And do you want to frame Becca, this conversation from a standpoint of, um, how we're going to look at it today, and then we'll jump into some conversation around it? [00:07:37] Speaker C: Yeah. If you haven't heard, we have a whole episode called understanding stress capacity, where we dig into it deeper, but just to kind of give a really small overview, everybody has a baseline stress capacity. Um, and our baseline stress capacities are different depending on our personalities, our temperaments. Um, we don't all have the same starting point, but then we all have this shared experience of when stressors add up, our stress capacity, like a window shade just starts coming down, and the amount of things that we can handle get smaller and smaller and smaller. Um, I'll add a layer to this, if you're listening, of your stress capacity can be different for different things. So you may have a huge, wide open stress capacity for, um, your family and for relationships and things like that, or even conflict, but you may have a tiny stress capacity for something broke in the car. So if you're listening and you're like, I don't really know for sure. We have different stress capacities for different things. But the reason that we brought Rico on today to talk about it is because once upon a time, we were on a date at a restaurant, and I was like, rico, you have to understand stress capacity or we cannot continue. And he was like, you're making this up. What. What was your response in the moment? [00:08:55] Speaker B: I was like, that's not. I can't. What would. What was the. It was the exact word you told. [00:08:59] Speaker C: Me, the exact word that I made you Google was, I feel. Feel like you're experiencing a low frustration tolerance. [00:09:07] Speaker B: And I was like, you just made that up. That's not a thing. I did not want to listen. And she was like, google it. I did it. And I was like, my goodness, this is me. Like me. Like, I feel like Google described me to a t. Like, it really described me to a t. And I was like, yeah, I have low frustration tolerance. [00:09:31] Speaker A: Yeah, okay. [00:09:33] Speaker C: But understanding that and being able to talk about it has helped us a lot professionally. It's helped us in our marriage, it's helped us even with family members and family trips. And so just the idea that, hey, my capacity is low right now, like, to being able to talk about that with somebody and being able to kind of adjust, I wonder for both. I mean, I'll start, and then I wonder, JD and Rico, both of you, all stress capacity is pretty large. Like, I can handle in a. On a good day, I can handle a lot of different stressors, and I'm pretty good at, like, problem solving. Um, I think it comes from working in schools and feeling like a lot of my day to day was crisis management. So I have a pretty big. I don't know. JD, what would you say your stress capacity is, big or small on a good day? [00:10:18] Speaker A: I mean, I think the most relatable thing so far, is it situational? So I. Professionally, I feel like there's. It just takes a lot to get under my skin. Um, and so my stress capacity, I feel like at work is pretty large. My stress capacity at home varies widely based on the topic. Like, there are some things that set Elizabeth off that don't even register on the radar for me on a stress stress wave. And same for her. Like, she'll say, why did you snap them? And I was like, I would look at them like, did you not see what just happened? Like, you know, and I'm just. I can't believe that she does not find the same thing just, like, catastrophically stressful. And so I think that that's probably true for everybody, but for me, I noticed that it's very different in different ways. When we started parenting, one of the things that she said at some point was she was like, elizabeth said, I just did not expect you to be such a stressed out person. Parenting, because nothing stresses you out in regular life, and it's the uncontrollable aspect of parenting you're not doing. We were dating on our terms. We were, to some extent, married on our terms. There were some low level frustrations of like, hey, I'm gonna go to bed, and like, cool, I'm gonna stay and watch Sportscenter for another hour. And. And she'd be like, well, but I thought, we're gonna go to bed together. And I'm like, what? No, I usually watch, like, 3 hours of the same thing like this and, like, two ice on the couch. Like, that's what I. That's what I usually do. [00:12:02] Speaker C: This is my routine. [00:12:05] Speaker A: And she was like, well, I just really. And it clearly was something that, to her, was like a marriage thing. Like, you go to bed together when you're married. And so, like, that just was something that was like, I'm going to have to give this up now. And now a weekend, I was like, oh, this is, this is way better. This is. This is dumb. I was wasting so much energy saying up so late. So, anyways, all that said, uh, I think it's different in different places. And my background, my, my history, my own insecurities illuminate those stress capacities in a way they don't for everybody else. And same for you, right? [00:12:41] Speaker B: Yeah. I think mine. My stress capacity, y'all. I know the listeners on this podcast that know me, but I keep it real. So I think mine starts out low. It really does. I don't like, it's little, it's. It's very small. And I, you know, don't, like, look for things to, like, set me off, but, like, they find you. They find me. But it's like the smallest things, like, I feel like, in my, like, work and professionally, I feel like I do have, like, a large stress capacity. Yeah. Like, I'm able to, like, handle a lot at work, because if you know anything about education, like, you have to be flexible. Like, things change sometimes by the hour. So you have to, like, you have to have, like, the capacity to, like, do that. [00:13:32] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:13:32] Speaker B: But, like, my personal life, I'm like. And Becca can probably tell you this. I. It starts low. Like, the bar is low. But, like, I feel like over the last maybe five years or so, like, knowing Becca, like, I have gotten better at that. But it's, like, big things. I tell Becca this all the time. Like, big things in our life, like, don't set me off, but, like, something going wrong with the car will just send me over for a week, and it's. That is just the truth. Like, it's the small thing. So, um, yeah, that's mine, and I'm the opposite. [00:14:09] Speaker C: Like, little things, you know, you get a flat tire. Like, that doesn't really rattle me, but, like, big life things not going our way or going different or, um, things that are unexpected, things that are changing my, like, quote unquote life plan. Like, those things are a lot harder for me than the. Than the little things. So we're kind of. I don't want it to. I don't want you to feel like I'm saying, like, mine is better and yours is worse. That's not true. [00:14:35] Speaker A: Yeah. That is something that's important to understand is. [00:14:37] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:14:38] Speaker A: Marker of health. Yeah. This is a neutral thing about ourselves. It's crafted within us by our, you know, biological makeup, by our history, our family histories, like, our life experiences. And so it just is what it is now. I think once we have a baseline of it, we can grow what we're talking about today. We can, like, grow that by understanding the same way that if, you know. Okay, so we live in Memphis. The roads here are comparable to. I don't want to be demeaning, so I will not compare to other countries roads to Memphis because it would mean to that country. Um, our roads are terrible, so they. There's potholes everywhere, bumps in the road. We also have the worst drivers in the United States of America here. So, like, you're dodging, uh, Nissan Altima, so drive out tags and potholes constantly in our city. And so, um, I have a. Have one tire that has a very slow leak in it. It's got, like, a nail in it. And I do a thing. You talk about low stress capacity. Elizabeth has a low stress capacity for the fact that I do not like getting this tire repaired. [00:15:45] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:15:45] Speaker A: I have a pump in my car that when it gets low, I just pump it back up. That's. That's pretty dumb. Um, but it's something that I do because I don't want the stress of having to go to the shop and having to wait there. And I don't know how long it's gonna be and all that. But I know if I don't keep that tire aired up, it's gonna hit a pothole and break the wheel off the car. [00:16:02] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:16:03] Speaker A: It's pretty soon. So I have to, like, I have to be conscious. That tire is low. I gotta make sure I keep air in it or else it could be trouble, because we live in an area that could exasperate that air capacity and tire. So I think for us, one of the things that we can start to look at is understanding where your stress capacity is, which you can talk to family members, to friends, to spouses, to co workers, to get a baseline understanding of your own stress capacity. Might not be what you think it is. And then once we know that, we can start to figure out what are the things that are, like, big stressors for us that take that capacity, what are the potholes? What are the Nissan Altimas in our life? And then how do we accommodate for those things? Because talking about, especially in a classroom setting, like, if a kid does something in the classroom setting, you can't go take a 30 minutes, calm down, break, like, on the spot right away. [00:17:00] Speaker B: Very true. [00:17:00] Speaker A: You could. You get fired. [00:17:02] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:17:03] Speaker A: So how then do you prepare yourself for those moments? And so that's part of what we want to talk about today. [00:17:10] Speaker C: I like those two questions. Like, what's the pothole? And then what's the air in your tire? Like, I feel like those are the two questions that you're asking. [00:17:16] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:17:16] Speaker C: So what are the potholes for you? [00:17:18] Speaker B: Um, I think the potholes for me is. I. That's a good question. I. [00:17:28] Speaker C: There's big and little ones. You know, the little one. What's the little one? [00:17:32] Speaker B: The little ones is the. Something going wrong with the car? [00:17:36] Speaker C: No, that's the big one. The little one is if you forget to eat breakfast. [00:17:40] Speaker B: Oh, okay. Yeah, you're right. The little. Okay, that is so true. The little ones is if I forget. [00:17:45] Speaker C: To eat breakfast, if you don't exercise, if you're not, like, if you're not taking care of your. [00:17:50] Speaker B: I'm not taking care of my body. Right. Um, and it's if I don't eat breakfast. Like, it starts to hit me every day in, like, class around 10:00 a.m.. Yeah. Like, I have, like, because I teach fifth grade and I feel like I can be real with fifth graders. Like, okay, if I'm starting to get a little, like, snappy around 10:00 a.m. I didn't eat breakfast. Yeah, like that. That's it. And I can, like, keep it real with them and. Yeah, so that's. That's definitely a pothole. [00:18:20] Speaker C: Yeah. Well, I think that you. When we. When we first started dating JD, he would make fun of me because it would be like, we'd be on a road trip. It would be like 12:00 and I'll be like, what's for lunch? And he would be like, you're on such a schedule. [00:18:34] Speaker A: And he. [00:18:34] Speaker C: He would belittle me about it, berate me, I'm being dramatic. He would give me a little bit of a hard time about it. And now that we've started to, like, pay attention to our stress capacity and, like, where we're at now, he'll be the one that's like, hey, we got to stop. Like, we got to get something to eat or, um, or, you know, even. Even proactively, like, when we go on trips and vacations now, um, if Rico doesn't exercise, he doesn't feel well. And so, like, in, like, stress capacity wise, like, he doesn't feel like himself. And so it. We may be. We took a trip to Phoenix, Arizona. Like, we're finding the planet fitness to go make sure that we're exercising. Like, so depending not. Not letting your physical body go, even when, you know, you might be in your day to day routine or you might be in, like, on a vacation or on a trip or, you know, state testing is coming up and we've already been talking about, like, you're going to have to be in a room. You're going to be really bored. How are you going to make sure you're walking and moving and drinking water? Like, just this. Those types of things to pay attention to. I would say that's a baby pothole. And then the bigger pothole is. Yeah, like, something goes wrong in the house, the car, or at work. I think it's funny that you said you're really flexible at work because it wasn't always that way. So I wonder, how have you grown in your ability to be flexible? Or maybe do you want to share what it used to feel like for Rico McKay? [00:19:57] Speaker B: I feel like it used to feel like, for me, I would just, like, fly off the handle at work. Like, something, like, didn't go the way that I thought it should go or the way majority of people in the school thought it should go. I would let them know, but probably not in a kind way. [00:20:16] Speaker A: You'd be the one to defend the honor of. [00:20:18] Speaker B: I would be the exact nice way to say it. That's a very nice way to say it. But now I feel like even, like, my coach at school, like, she, like, knows me. Like, if something, like, last week, we had, like, a whole, like, thing that there was a lot of things that kept getting changed at work, and I was like, okay, like, I'm not liking this right now. Like, what can we do to, like, keep things steady? Like, steady for, like, the kids? And I feel like five years ago, that wouldn't have been me. I probably, like I said, would have just flew out the handle and been like, yeah. [00:21:03] Speaker A: Just shared the opinion straight up instead of asking questions, getting curious. Yeah, I think. I mean, it's really interesting for me. And I'll speak more to, like, the home context, like, when, for. For our. Our dynamic at home. We have four kids there right now for a couple months out of the year. Two of them are the same age, so they're 13, 1311 and six. And, um, there are things that each of our kids do that uniquely fill my bucket, and there are things that each of our kids do that uniquely kick holes in that bucket to make the water drain faster, and none of them are the same. And so it's been a really interesting psychological evaluation for myself to realize, like, why do these things bother me in the way that they do? And some of it is along son daughter lines. Like, some of the things, like, you know, the youngest, our baby, and this is probably just the baby of the family thing. There are things she can do that would have made me fly off the handle when the other kids were little, that now I'm like, well, this is adorable. I can't get enough of this. And other kids are just staring, like, mouth open, like, are you kidding me? And so some of that comes with being the youngest in the house. But one of the things that we've realized for Elizabeth and I, one of the benefits of just awareness in this area is that we can start to recognize each other's stress capacity and kind of like tag team wrestling partners, like, tag each other in and out when we need to. And so, for us, this last year has been extremely hard on a bunch of different fronts. There's been some medical complications with several members of our family. There's been school fresh frustrations. There's been all kinds of stuff happening, and that affects Elizabeth and I both differently. There'll be days when I get home kind of skipping and whistling through the door, and I'll be able to pick up in an instant, like, oh, okay. Like, I've got a lot of capacity for the chaos happening in the house right now, so I can tag Elizabeth doubt and be like, hey, do you want to go take a nap? Would you want to get out for a second? And she'll show me about for a little bit? And then I'll step in, because in that moment, like, it's easy for me to be able to then, like, give a gentle reminder, like, hey, we're going to clean up all these tiny shards of paper that we're cutting up all around the table when we get done, right? Yeah. Great. Okay, cool. And then I can help, you know, start dinner and all that. There are other days where, uh, Elizabeth come into the picture, or she'll just notice and hear something happening, be like, okay, would you like to go run or something? Would you like to get out for a few minutes and just take a break? Because it feels like you are. [00:23:43] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:23:43] Speaker A: Really stressed out. Right. And so knowing each other and being able to witness that has helped immensely, because when the window is very small for one of us, we can. We can jump in to help each other. And then also, it's helping to teach our kids. Like, if there's questions of, like, well, how come, you know, how come dad isn't here right now? Elizabeth can say, well, look, he, like, he's just stressed right now, and we take care of each other. And so the same way, like, if you're having a hard time, we'll say, do you need to go to your room and, like, chill out for a minute, listen to music for a few minutes? Like, we're just taking care of each other and, like, helping each other to regulate. It's what we all are trying to do for each other is we're trying to model for them like, that. Being in a healthy relationship, and not just a healthy marital relationship, just a healthy relationship, period, is we look out for each other, and we need to be able to help. If we know each other, we can help take care of each other and give each other what we need when we need it. And so I think it highlights this. [00:24:37] Speaker C: Idea that what you're capable of is not the same as your capacity. And so, like, you're super capable of coming home, making dinner, doing all the things right and on. And so is Liz. And on some days, like, she's capable and she has capacity. And on other days, you have capacity. And then there's, like, obviously, the inevitable, like, when both of your stress capacities are low and you're just doing your best to kind of carry each other through. [00:24:59] Speaker A: And that's what chick fil a is for. [00:25:00] Speaker C: That's what chick fil a is for. [00:25:02] Speaker B: Chick fil a is for. [00:25:03] Speaker C: That's right. [00:25:04] Speaker A: Yeah. Then. And when you both have a low capacity that day, like, that's when you have to kind of get creative and real and, like, you have to kind of real time make some negotiations with each other. Like, all right, this feels like, you know, I'm holding my hand up above my head. Like, this bar feels, like too high of a bar for today. Like, I don't know that we can prepare this healthy dinner we had on the plan for today. I feel like maybe salmon goes in the freezer and chick fil a happens instead. And, you know, maybe we're also going to eat there so we don't have to clean up afterward. Maybe we're also going to eat there and let kids run the play place for a little bit to wear them out for a few minutes so we can come back home and just go straight into, like, bedtime routine. Like, we relied on that a lot when our kids were smaller if we needed to. And so, yeah, just knowing each other, knowing your situations, and then, like, when you're both in a low capacity, making whatever negotiations you need to be able to get through to a moment where you can have a break, and if. [00:26:00] Speaker C: You'Re, like, in a season, I think everybody's gone through. And we were talking just the other week, Rico, about, like, state testing is coming up, and that's really stressful for teachers. And so you have been communicating, like, your stress capacity is pretty low right now in general, but you can't live like that for months. [00:26:16] Speaker B: Right? [00:26:16] Speaker C: And so we've been finding ways to expand it that on the weekends or, like, how we're structuring our lives, like, how are we exercising? How are we, like, what are the things that we're doing to try to make the best of a stressful season, not to make the best of a stressful season, how to weather the stressful season in a healthy way, and how to not let it become just like, okay, now it's a year later. We haven't really thought about it. We haven't really talked about it, and now all of a sudden, like, we're biting each other's heads off because both of us have just worn to the bottom of our capacity. So I think, like, the second part of that original question, like, how do you feel? How do you put air in the tire? Like, what are the things that you do to expand your stress capacity? We've kind of mentioned it a bunch of times. First, you have to know that your capacity is low. You have to be, like, aware of that, and you have to figure out, everybody's different. What works for Rico and JD and Liz is different from what works for me. Like, we have to know ourselves and we have to know what. What do we need to fill that tire air to be able to weather the next pothole? Like, what are the things that we have to do? So for me, it's like, guys, I need time alone. Like, it's. I mean, I. I like people. I really enjoy being around people. Last week, we had a work trip where I was around people for about 48 hours nonstop. And I enjoyed it. I. It wasn't horrible for me, but when I got home Saturday, I don't think I came out of the room. Like, I was like, I need to be by myself. And so Rico knows that about me. So it wasn't like, that wasn't the day for him to be like, hey, Becca, let's do, like, let's do this and this with our friends, and let's do that and that with our friends. Like, it was like, a day to be like, hey, this is Becca trying to recalibrate for the week ahead. Does that make sense? So, like, knowing each other, I don't know what fills. What fills your tire with air, Rico. [00:28:01] Speaker B: Whenever you're feeling low, um, I think something that fills my tire with air is I have been really into, like, cycling the last, like, three years. So it's just like going to take a cycle bar class, going for a walk at Overton, or. I went out a couple weeks ago with my team from work, and I really enjoy working on my team, which, like, working education, you know, that can be a hit or miss. Like, enjoy working on your team or you cannot. So luckily, I feel honestly blessed to, like, work with such a good team. So it's like, the opposite for me. I, like, want to, like, be with people, right? Get to see my best friend this upcoming week in Nashville. So that'd be. That'd be great for me, too. So, yeah, I like to do stuff. [00:28:51] Speaker C: You just like to do. It doesn't even have to be with a bunch of people, but whereas I like to sit and chill. So we're kind of opposite in that way. [00:28:57] Speaker A: Yeah, same. I mean, I like to do stuff like that when, if there's going to be a time where, like, if Elizabeth and the kids are going somewhere for a day or two, like, immediately my mind is like, what am I going to do to, like, maximize, you know, resting or taking, or having fun or, like, taking advantage of, like, getting to do some stuff I don't normally get to do or work on the house in a way. And I don't always pick that last one, but I should. And so I try to, like, I'm immediately stressed out at the thought of or stressed in a good way. Like, I can't waste this, like, time I've got or if Elizabeth and I are, somebody's got kids or, or we've got a babysitter or there's this, like, window time we've got. I immediately am like, all right, how are we going to fill this up and make it, like, really fun and how we're going to, you know, and that can be stressful for some people in our situation. Like, that can be, that's not always how Elizabeth thinks of the situations, too. And so a lot of times she does want to rest by just, like, resting, which is, which is helpful. And so, yeah, they're just resting. Yeah, just resting. Like, what a novel idea. And in my mind, I'm like, rest. I'll rest when I'm dead. So. So that's not always healthy. Like, there are times I need to stop and just allow myself to physically rest. There are a lot of times I find that, like, emotional mental rest by getting out and doing something fun with people I love, like, yeah. And so I think one of the things that questions I have for y'all, like, professionally, how do you. Because, again, you're not always able in the moment to stop and care for yourself the way that you need to. So how can we create environments in work that allow for us to kind of care for each other in this way but then integrate these practices into work? [00:30:46] Speaker C: I think it's helpful to just open the conversation. So, like, y'all know Jesse and Tana to the people that are on the podcast a lot that I work with closely. Like, it's important for me to tell them, hey, guys, my capacity is low this week. Like, I'm feeling drained. And so if my, like, if I'm being a little bit less enthusiastic or if you're, like, wondering if I'm mad at you. I'm not mad at you, but, like, I'm just not at my best self. So just, I think communicating can be helpful. And then I think, um, when you work on a team where there is space to be able to get your needs met, that's great. Sometimes you can't. Like you said, like, sometimes it's. Yeah, we have a deadline, and we have to just bust through this, and we can. We just have to find it within ourselves. And I think that that's fair. Like, a lot of people are in that situation. A lot of people don't have the luxury to just, like, take a 30 minutes nap in the middle of a work day. [00:31:37] Speaker A: Right, right. [00:31:38] Speaker C: But we can at least communicate. I think opening the conversation can be really helpful. It can make people feel safe to, like, share. Yeah, me too. Or, like, hey, I'm feeling pretty good today. I can, like, I can bring it today, and I can help us move through this. [00:31:50] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:31:51] Speaker C: And then I think, like, in professional context, obviously, like, that, you have to have trusted and felt safety to be able to do that. Right. So if you're in a workplace where your boss is not super understanding, are your coworkers understanding? Or if you're in a context like Rico, the district may not care that you have a low stress capacity, but your principal might or your teammate might, like. So you're not always in a context where, like, everyone cares, but the people that do, I just think, open the conversation about it, get comfortable sharing about it. What do you think? [00:32:23] Speaker B: Yeah, I would say the same thing. Um, I just said, like, I really enjoy at work, like, working on my team last week, very frustrating moment happened, and there was something that was, like, at work that was confusing me. So if I'm confused as the teacher, that means the kids are confused, right? And we were just all confused. And it's the week before spring break, you know, everybody's just, like, ready to go on break, count down the minute, counting down the minutes. And I got, like, so frustrated that I, like, had to go across the hall and, like, tell my teammate, because we, like, all of us have, like, this relationship. I was like, I just need literally four minutes to just step outside, and I will be right back. And she understood that. Like, she was like, okay, I watched the cake. I watched the class. Like, there was no questions asked. She know that I was, like, about to have, like, an unraveling moment, and she was like, okay, just go take it and come back. So I think, like Becca said, has been able to, like, trust your team, like, trust the people that you work with that in and that you're able to communicate that with them. [00:33:31] Speaker C: So, what did you do with those four minutes? Do you remember? [00:33:34] Speaker B: I breathe in my nose and out my mouth for four minutes. [00:33:39] Speaker C: You also shot off about 78 text. [00:33:41] Speaker A: Messages to your wife. [00:33:50] Speaker C: But that was your way to release it. [00:33:52] Speaker B: That was. And I was just like, you didn't. [00:33:53] Speaker C: Do in front of the kids. You didn't text me in front of the kids. Not to be like, you're not supposed to be on your phone as a teacher, so you knew. I need to, like, process this. [00:34:03] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:34:03] Speaker C: So I'm gonna tag out and step outside for a second. [00:34:06] Speaker B: So you can. [00:34:07] Speaker A: You can text quite a few text. [00:34:08] Speaker C: Messages in four minutes. [00:34:09] Speaker B: You can? [00:34:10] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:34:10] Speaker A: I mean, we should have a competition later on, after you release your new single. We'll, like, have a competition. Okay. So we. You know, I think one thing that I think about in this is, like, I feel for some of our brothers and sisters who do not have the ability at work to pivot or, in a moment, work through. And I wonder if those. You know, Becky, I wonder if you think about any, like, proactive strategies. Like, hey, if. I know I have a stressful work week coming up. Like, I think for. For those. If you're. If you're hearing this, like, oh, yeah, great to have a teammate across the hall who can just give you a five minute break. I can't ever get a five minute break because I'm. Whatever. So, for folks in that situation, it's way more important to kind of preventatively or proactively, kind of know yourself and. And kind of think through your days, and, like, I've got a stressful day coming up. How can I go ahead and take care of myself ahead of time? Can you think of anything, like, strategies that would be helpful in that way? [00:35:08] Speaker C: Oh, man. I feel like a hypocrite because I'm so bad at this, but I think that boundaries are incredibly important in protecting your stress capacity and growing it. [00:35:16] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:35:16] Speaker C: So, if you're in a stressful work season or it's a day or a year, um, saying yes to the things that fill your bucket, like you said earlier, and saying no to the things that drain your bucket outside of work. [00:35:31] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:35:31] Speaker C: And so you might. You know, it might seem like you're being kind of mean to somebody if you might be like, no, now's not the time for me to do XYZ. Or maybe you're somebody who, like, really loves to help people, but now's the time to say, no, I can't babysit, or no, we can't go to the movies, or no, I can't come help you with your car. Even though I am capable, even though I'm really good at that right now, I am not doing super well. That's really hard to do because outside of work, you almost want to disconnect and be like, I'm a different person, and I can do all the things that I want to do. But if you're in a tough season, I think those boundaries, being in place of being aware of it and then taking steps, like, okay, now is the time where I'm focusing on my energy and, like, investing in myself and meditating and praying and getting community and what fills me up so that I can weather the storm of, like, whatever the work season is. And then in the moment, the one of our faves, Robin. Robin talks a lot about psychological boundaries. And so she talks about, like, in the moment, being able to have psychological boundaries. Like, for most of us in our jobs, you know, this is not life or death. For most of us in our jobs, this is out of my control, or this is in my control. So, like, some of the stressors that we face are legitimately dumb things. [00:36:52] Speaker B: Right. [00:36:52] Speaker C: For your example, Rico, like, you're having to change things every five minutes because somebody at the district wants you to, and that it's fair to be like, that's dumb, but also, like, you're not in control of that. And so the psychological boundary of, I'm going to have to do some things that don't make sense to appease whoever for a lot of people that serve. Like, I'm thinking of our child welfare professionals. I'm thinking of people in systems and government work and child welfare. We have a lot of demands that are coming at us from above. [00:37:21] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:37:21] Speaker C: Having the psychological boundaries to be like, you know what? This is what I can control, and this is what I can't control. [00:37:27] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:37:27] Speaker C: Allows you to be a little more flexible, whereas I know I can get stuck with this doesn't make sense, or this isn't always right, and so I can get really stuck, and that can just shoot my stress up. [00:37:38] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:37:38] Speaker C: Does that make sense? [00:37:39] Speaker A: 100%. But I think, too, like, that's what we get into. Like, the not just proactive, but preventative. So, like, yeah, for, you know, we. We talk about things we can do, like, within ourselves, working out, eating. Right. Um, you know, being aware of sleep. And I am totally hypocritical, but I am the worst about getting the sleep that I need, because once I go to sleep, I'm back at work again, basically. So, like, I, like, once I'm awake at night, like, and I've got that time, and, like, the house is quiet, it's like, well, now I can do, like, I can. I can watch whatever I want to watch. I can eat whatever I want to eat. Like, I've got this time now. And so it's, you know, as a seven on the enneagram, like, a constant fun seeker, I'm like, now's the time. Like, now's my moment. If I go to sleep like a responsible adult, then I'm just going to wake up having missed out on all this. Come on. Six more episodes of this show I could burn through right now. So. So I've had to work at. And I'm not great at it yet, but I have had to recognize during stressful seasons, like, I cannot push my body to the brink and expect it to just hold the line when really stressful stuff comes up. Like, I've got to give myself what I need preventively. And I think when we go beyond that, that's when we step into, like, what does it look like to seek out a counselor, seek out a therapist to be able to work through some of this with. And to be able to figure out, okay, there's some cyclical stressors that continue to hit me, that seemingly don't hit my co workers the same way, don't hit my spouse the same way. Like, could there be something deeper that I'm holding on to, that that is actually causing this explosion? Same at home. Like, hey, my kids do something that seems very minor to everyone who watches, and then I lose it over these things. Maybe I need to talk to somebody. Um, maybe there's even, you know, in the realm of, like, uh, physical therapy that needs to happen or something like that. You've got nagging injury that, like, you notice being worse at different times of the day. And it's just the thing. It's the. It's. It's your own version of the leaky tire that, like, you just do what you need to in the moment and take your tylenol or put your brace on or whatever. But maybe it is time to get that looked at, to be able to have. Have time, uh, where you're not constantly in pain, right? So, like, all those things I think about, you know, help you if you're not able in the moment very often, to get yourself what you need. And, like, we gotta look at preventative care for ourselves first. Right. [00:40:08] Speaker C: That's so good, JD. Cause stress capacity is not your personality. [00:40:11] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:40:12] Speaker C: Which, like, sometimes I feel like we can think that it is. Like, oh, I'm just not good at handling that. And it's like, no, we were humans. We can grow. We can invest in ourselves. I love that suggestion to just, like, look deeper. Um, we've got parents that listen to the podcast who are in stressful seasons for years, and they can't necessarily hit the eject button like they're in it. And so what can you do to invest in yourself to be able to handle those stressors or as an educator or working in nonprofit? Like, what are the things that you can do? I love that suggestion because. Yeah, it's not your personality. It's not like, oh, Rico just has a small stress capacity. End of story. [00:40:47] Speaker A: Right. [00:40:48] Speaker C: The end. Right. That's not what it is. Right, Rico? [00:40:50] Speaker A: Right. [00:40:54] Speaker C: I'm messing. No, but you've grown a lot. [00:40:56] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:40:57] Speaker C: In your stress capacity. And I think anything you want to share about anything that has helped you with that over time. [00:41:06] Speaker B: I would say something that's helping me currently in the moment is I tell Becca all the time I need when I'm in something stressful, I need to look forward to something. Whether that's something is just like spring break this week. Yeah. For example, like, we have Becca mentioned earlier, TCAP coming up, which is the state test in Tennessee for all schools, coming up in, like, four weeks. And I know that if I. It's going to be after spring break next week is going to be a very tight four weeks, like, until the test is over. [00:41:42] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:41:43] Speaker B: So I know when the test is over, that's when all the fun things can start for fifth grade, like, we have fifth grade graduation. We have the fifth grade picnic coming up. It's like all these end of the year fun things. [00:41:54] Speaker A: Field day. [00:41:55] Speaker B: So I'm like, I, like, need something, even if it's small, like, to just, like, look forward to. [00:42:03] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:42:03] Speaker B: So, yeah, I'm gonna ask. [00:42:06] Speaker C: I'm gonna ask a more specific question. How has therapy helped you grow your stress capacity? [00:42:10] Speaker B: Therapy has helped me grow my stress capacity because I've, like, which sounds like cliche, but, like, I feel like I've really, like, discovered, like, who I, like, am in therapy. Like, I. My therapist uses the enneagram a lot, and I'm an eight on the Enneagram, so I know that, like, okay, these things are, like, these things are gonna set me off, but, like, I can find healthy ways to, like, I don't have to, like, go to 100 in every single situation. Like, some things can be talked out. [00:42:49] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:42:49] Speaker B: Even though, like, I don't necessarily, like, want to talk them out all the time, but, like, some things can be talked out. I don't have to be, like, upset. And so I think that's something. A way that therapy has really helped. [00:43:02] Speaker C: Me with that, something that I really like that we started doing with our prem. So we had premarital counseling, like a lot of people do before we got married. And then we decided at the end of that, like, every six months from here on out, we're just going to go for a checkup. And it was kind of a. I don't know where we got the idea to do that. I don't know anyone else that does that. But it took the stigma out of, like, we must be on the brink of divorce to go to counseling. [00:43:26] Speaker B: Right. [00:43:26] Speaker C: And now it's just part of our rhythm. And because it's someone who worked with us before we got married now, because it's someone who's known us for several years in, um, he knows kind of what to ask and what to push on and what to bring up, and it's just been, like, super helpful. And I think what you're saying, JD, is, like, he helps make connections that you can't always see. Like, he knows how to connect it to your past or your experiences, or he knows how to, like, connect you to the past and then push you forwards to a different future. [00:43:54] Speaker B: Right. [00:43:55] Speaker C: Um, I am a licensed social worker. I can't therapy myself. Rico and our marriage. [00:44:02] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:44:02] Speaker C: So, just like you, I love that you brought that up, JD. But, like, you need someone else with a different perspective to be able to shine a light on that and to be able to support you. And it doesn't always have to be like, something critical, horrible wrong is happening for you to get help and to get insight. Yeah. There. We won't open the. We won't open this hand, but we once upon a time, had a very terrible, no good, horrible, very bad Thanksgiving trip. And it was like, the culmination of all the stress capacities hitting at once. And so the next year, like, our checkups are in April and October. So that happened in November and in our April check in, because that's our six months of our marriage or whatever, we went ahead and started talking about thanksgiving. [00:44:48] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:44:48] Speaker C: And then in October, we talked about the next thanksgiving, and then we had a successful thanksgiving, and there was still stressors stuff still didn't go the way we thought, because when you get together with family, it never will. [00:44:59] Speaker A: It doesn't. Right. [00:45:00] Speaker C: Um, but it was not the very terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thanksgiving, because we had, like, worked on it and we had taken the time. That sounds like a silly thing to talk about in therapy, but it was, like, kind of life changing for us. [00:45:12] Speaker A: But it'd be silly. If you just have routine, regular thanksgivings that are never stressful, then it'd be silly to talk about it. [00:45:18] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:45:19] Speaker A: For y'all, that was, like, a particular point of stress and sometimes not talk about it. And I love that. Yeah. So I think, you know, as we kind of put a bow on this conversation for. For the time being, I think, know yourself, take care of yourself, and then don't consider yourself to know yourself if it's not verified from, you know, sources close to you. Right. Because a lot of us, we have blind spots for our insecurities or shortcomings or. Or weaknesses. And so, um, know yourself, take care of yourself, and then, you know, let's all think preventatively about how we can, like, identify those. Those small stress capacities and then grow them. Any other thoughts from you guys before we head out? [00:46:06] Speaker C: Thanks for being here today, Rico. [00:46:07] Speaker B: It was great to be here. [00:46:08] Speaker A: Yeah, glad to have you. Well, just a huge thank you to Rico and to Becca for joining us today and just being willing to share more of an insight into their personal lives. And I just. This conversation is a really important one for us as humans. This kind of goes beyond parenting, obviously. Um, within parenting, it's vital for you to understand your own stress capacity just to ensure that as often as possible, you are not parenting your children out of stress. Right. But, um, it's also important for us to be able to understand it within the context of parenting, to teach our kids how to understand their stress capacity, how to know how to feed themselves, how to. How to fill themselves up, and, um, and how to watch out for those. Those kind of potholes in the road, so to speak. So, uh, just really love Rico. Really love Becca. Grateful for them, and grateful for you listening to us again. So for everybody here at etc. For Kyle Wright, who edits, engineers, all of our audio. For Tad Jewett, the creator of the music behind empowered to connect podcast. I'm JD Wilson, and we will see you next week on the empowered to connect podcast.

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