It’s the most wonderful time of the year! When the people are stressing and everyone’s venting and fretting their fears!
I don’t mean to sound cynical. The truth is that I really do enjoy the holidays. The problem is that people tend to lose their patience a bit faster this time of year. Packed schedules, gift buying conundrums, shorter days and increased traffic generally lead to shorter fuses, frayed nerves, and a general increase in spontaneous
outbursts. Not only that, but people that suffer with anxiety and depression disorders typically have extra struggles this time of year, as we go into colder weather, shorter days, heightened stress, and being forced to deal with family and friend issues that we successfully dodge the other 11 months of the year.
Might as well throw it out there, eh? Well, I see no reason to around the issue. Look at the pink elephant in the room, everybody! Seriously, I know we love our families and friends, but we get frustrated with them too. And
if it isn’t your own then it’s in-laws, out-laws, nosy neighbors, toxic friends, annoying colleagues, drama queens, and those distant branches you’d really like to prune from the tree altogether but can’t because the Lord has put them in your life to rub off your raw edges and you can’t get away no matter how hard you’ve tried. And you probably have run from them screaming on countless occasions, just to have them come back for another round of fun and shenanagins.
I touched on this recently in a blog entry about feeling like peoples’ intake valve. A good look around showed me that I’m not alone. It’s getting to everybody. And geeze, Thanksgiving was early, so we have an extra week of it to enjoy this year.
Truth be told, it is a lot for even the most stable, well balanced individual to deal with. I know my life is busy enough on a normal basis, so adding Christmas shopping, parties, and increased get-togethers can stretch me a bit thin. I try to keep it in balance, but sometimes that turns in to a juggling act and for a klutz like me, that can be something.
It seems to me that life is a lot like a jack-in-the-box. You’ll be bopping along to your merry little tune, and suddenly somebody or something will get in your face. It scares the hell out of you. And those clowns seem to
jump at us more this time of year than any other.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 37 years roaming this earth, it’s that you have to learn to find and hold on to your own peace. If you’re doing your best, then there’s no point in stressing or worrying about things. In addition, you shouldn’t volunteer to take on other peoples’ problems either. People will try to push their problems on you, but you don’t have to accept it. You can support them. You can listen to them. If there’s anything you
can do to help, by all means do. But learn that you can’t move Heaven and earth, and if that’s what it takes to make the world happy, well, they’re SOL and that’s it. Be ok with imperfection. Learn to accept your best and make it clear that others in your life need to learn to accept it or find the door. And by all means, when those clowns pop in your face, don’t flinch.
That’s the real secret – it’s being grounded in right things and insisting on holding on to your peace and joy no matter what life throws at you. Whatever people say or do, whatever happens, whatever situations you face, believe that you have what you need to get through and that all things will work together for good. It takes
some work to do this, but inner peace is something that only you can find, and you must defend it from the attacks that will always come.
So this holiday season, claim your peace. Find your balance. Accept your best. And don’t flinch.
That’s all today. Next time, I’ll share my “poinsettia delimma” with you. And if you think the jack-in-the-box analogy was something, wait until you hear my “cheeseburger basket and a drive by wave” theory. For now, enjoy this video sure to put you in the holiday spirit - an oldie but a goodie.
I find myself at an odd loss of what to write these days. It seems that since I finished the rough draft of Feathered Frenzy, I've been somewhat at loose ends. I'm not sure why I feel this way. Move is only half finished and still needs plenty of work before it will be at a point where I'll consider it complete enough to send to one of my publishers. And I'm planning to self-publish Feathered Frenzy, so there's plenty of rewriting, revision, proofreading and editing in my future for that project. I've been quite busy with promotional efforts over the past couple of weeks and in fact have some more work I need to do this week. So why do I feel like I'm at loose ends with nothing to do?
I wonder if it's because I've been batting around the ideas for these 2 books all summer, and now that they're drafted then I feel a bit empty. The third book project I was considering isn't going to work out. I thought about rewriting a piece I wrote several years ago, but in reviewing it I realized the reason I never pursued publication was because it isn't publishable! It was some of my early work and frankly, I think it would be better to scrap it and start all over, but I'm not very inclined to do that. I don't have any clear plot ideas, but I'd rather write another fiction novella than do another non-fiction book. I have a clear goal and concept with Feathered Frenzy but with this one I really have no idea on where to go or what to do with it.
I think another reason may be anxiety over the coming month. My September calendar at work is a nightmare of meetings, and I know that finding the energy to write after dealing with meetings once and twice a week and paperwork piling up while I'm locked in the conference room is going to be tough. I know, most people would ever-so-gently suggest that I shelve writing for the month. And to that I ever so boldly say to take a flying leap. My writing is the one thing in my life that is my own. It's the thing nobody else can put their hands on and control. It's non-negotiable. If that makes me selfish, well, you be the martyr and let others control every part of your life. The fact that I almost never have anxiety attacks or problems while I'm working on a book or promotion project (no matter how busy I am in every other area of my life) is a testament to the fact that it's good for my soul, and I will not lay it aside.
Or maybe it's something else all together, but whatever the reason, I'm sure it will pass. After all, there's plenty of work to be done on these two projects, my published works will always be in need of promotion, and I have no doubt that the next great book idea is just around the corner.
That's all today. Take care and have a good week.
I was talking to a friend a while back who sheepishly admitted that their doctor put them on an antidepressant. This friend was very unhappy to be on medication and said they wanted off the pills ASAP.
I countered by asking this friend if they thought it was bad for me to take antihistimines everyday to manage my allergy and sinus problems.
"No, why would that be a problem?" they asked. "After all, you have to take it to be able to function every day.It's a maintenance medication"
"Well, how is that different from you taking an antidepressant?" I asked. "If it helps you feel more energetic and you're able to go about your daily tasks easier, what's the difference?"
They never thought of it that way. And in my experience, it seems most people don't.
I don't understand why we're so hesitant to take care of our mind. We don't mind popping an aspirin for a headache, or taking antacids for heartburn. We'll mention an ache or pain to a doctor in a minute. But if it's our emotions that hurt, well, that's different. That's personal. That's nobody's business.
Well, my allergies aren't anybody's business, but I'm not ashamed of them. I don't advertise this health issue, but I don't hide it either. And while I understand that an anxiety attack and sniffling and sneezing are perceived differently by the general public, well, relief is available. Shouldn't we take advantage of it?
I think that as a whole, society has come a long way in understanding mental illness, but they still have a long way to go. One thing we can do to progress this effort is to be honest with ourselves. If you've lacked motivation for six months or more and getting out of bed every day is a challenge, treat it like the flu and see your doctor. Relief is available.
There may not be a cure for many of the emotional disorders that plague us, but they can be managed. And with the right treatment, you can have a good and productive life, just like you deserve.
You don't life in bondage to your physical ailments - you manage them. don't live in bondage to your emotions or your mind either. Don't be shy. Don't be embarassed. Don't let it define you. Manage it, so you define yourself in spite of it.
Stress levels have been at an all time high at my work, as we've spent the past month going through a major internal reorganization. There's a lot of anxiety and confusion on the redistrubution of duties and responsibilities. Yes indeed, a lot of nail biting is going on.
Only thing is, I'm so used to this that I barely feel it. Every job I've ever been at has gone through some sort of a major internal change within my first three years there. To me, this is almost normal. I can't count the number of times I've been moved, shifted, and re-trained for my job. My father-in-law once told me that nothing changed in his job in his entire 20+ year career. I laughed, having lost track of the changes by the time I had been in my job 7 years.
I think that harkens to a very important change that's taken place in our society. I recently read that the level of stress we currently consider "normal" would have been considered "acute" 50 years ago. I can see why. Advances in technology have sped the world up to the speed of light, and we've become accustomed to a lifestyle that would have left our forebearer's breathless just to hear about! Needless to say, in this fast paced, time crunched society, "slow and easy" are not terms used to describe the modern lifestyle of most. Well, at least most people that aren't retired, according to what I hear. ;) But that's another blog post.
The question is; how do we deal with these increasing levels of stress? We all know the problems it can cause with our health, but it seems to me that most people don't know how to combat it. There are many ways, and I'd like to explore some of them in the next few entries. I'll start this series by telling my first secret, which is having a hobby. I believe it's very important to have something that is wholly and completely your own for no other purpose than to bring you personal happiness and satisfaction in life. Something the rest of the world can't touch. Something that serves no purpose than to bring you joy.
We all need at least one hobby. I believe it's important to our emotional well being. If your life is too busy to carve out a few minutes of your own during the day, then there is a serious need to sit down and set some priorities in your life. You MUST take care of yourself. Otherwise, you're going to break down (physically or emotionally), and then you'll be no good to anyone. So if you want to be the most productive and helpful to others, then you need to take some time out for yourself.
My writing is my hobby. This is my place to create my own worlds, to decompress, and to work out issues and concerns in my life in a context that I'm comfortable with. It gives me a place to handle things my way, and to work things out through alternate realities. It helps me to reconcile the rabbit hole of my life, so to speak.
So what's your hobby? This is the topic of my latest forum post. If you don't have one, I believe now would be a good time to consider what you could do to carve out some time and space of your own in the world.