Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘stress management

Thoughts in the Stressful Mist

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Folks, it’s March 1. We’ve had fog on and off where I live for a few days now, and tonight we’re supposed to have rain, sleet, and snow.

I say all this because that’s “the mist,” though there’s also a metaphorical mist, too. (I call this “the mood of the area,” not just of me.)

And I have to deal with both mists, or I can’t function.

We all do this, mind. We all have to deal with weather, and whatever life events are happening around us, and try to do it with equanimity. (Or at least not screaming, as that is considered bad form.)

So, how are we supposed to keep going when we’re under immense and enormous stress? And how can we remember that we, too, are worthwhile souls, no matter whatever is going on around us?

What I try to do is take it moment by moment. One thing at a time, one moment at a time, and one thought, even, at a time: Focus. Be concerned, yes, about whatever is troubling you.

But don’t let it consume you.

Sometimes I observe this better in the breach than in its keeping, of course. I’m human. I have bad days. And on those days, I have to remember that things can change on a dime — and that good days are assuredly ahead, whether I can see them or not.

If things feel like they’re overwhelming (and if you’re anything like me, they often do), try to take a breath. Then take another. And a third.

After that, take whatever tasks you have in front of you in their order of importance. (If you’re really feeling terrible and can’t figure out what the order of importance actually is, take the easiest and/or quickest first.) And go slowly; remember that you aren’t at your best, but you are trying. That does matter.

And that you, too, do matter.

Otherwise, also remember this: No matter how close the relationship, if someone treats you badly, you do not have to put up with it. You should try, at least once, to say you do not like this behavior and wish the person would change it…but if it’s something that either can’t or won’t be changed, you have a decision to make.

Only you can make this decision. But you need to remember that refusing to make a decision is also — wait for it — a decision. (Odd, huh?)

Anyway, whatever mist surrounds you — that of overwork, extreme stress, bad health, bad weather, or anything else that is getting in your way — try to remember as best you can that it will pass. No matter how bad it is, it won’t last forever…

And you need to make sure that you, yourself, are still there for the better days ahead. (OK?)

 

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Be Good…to Yourself?

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Folks, I have been thinking about something for the last week or two. And I hope it makes some sense.

We see all sorts of bad stuff on television, on the internet, and any other way we consume media these days. And it can be hard to keep going. People dying in Florida at a school shooting (why, oh why?) is only the latest awful thing to take over the airwaves.

This affects everyone, whether you know it or not. People dying when they don’t need to is hard for society as a whole to bear. And it seems to happen over and over again.

So, why am I saying to be good to yourself, rather than all the stuff I normally say? It’s simple. I think in addition to talking to your legislators (if you feel the need), making donations to groups you support (including those supporting responsible and safe gun ownership), you need to remember to take time for yourself in your day, especially when times are hard or bad.

Most of us don’t do this. And then we wonder why we get worn down to nubs at the end of the day.

I have friends who have multiple jobs, and also write. I have other friends who are like me; they try to help their family members and friends as best they can, do their work, and cram in writing whenever possible. (Tonight, mind, I’m also cramming in a concert with the Racine Concert Band, another thing I enjoy doing.)

We don’t remember that we, ourselves, are the priorities in our lives. We think about others. We don’t think about us, because we’re taught not to, and the few who do seem to think about themselves at all are so blatantly narcissistic, any reasonable and decent person wants no part of that.

But there is a continuum, you see. You don’t have to be a narcissist to be good to yourself.

All I ask you tonight is, try to do something good for yourself every day, if only for five minutes. Listen to some music you haven’t heard in a while but you really like. Read a chapter of a book you’ve been meaning to get around to. Take a bubble bath. Go find one of those massage chairs (or ask a friend) and get your neck and/or back massaged.

That way, it’s easier to do everything else you need to do — including when you need to deal with bad news you’d rather not have to deal with (such as the latest school shooting) — with a fuller heart.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 20, 2018 at 7:35 pm