As we head into a new year, I ponder my resolution to have better balance in my life on a number of levels. One of those (very important) levels is in the area of stress reduction and reducing worry in my life. I think these are things we all struggle with, and recently I've come to realize there's a great deal that we impose on ourselves, especially when it comes to our relationships.
This realization came after having several people tell me things that other people said and/or did over the past few weeks and asked what I thought of it. I remembered that when I was under a therapist while going through my life changes a few years ago, one of the things she told me was that the secret to finding balance was realizing what was and wasn't my business. "You concern yourself with your responsibilities and what you control and let go of the things in the hands of others," she said. That's certainly true, and in fact remembering this advice upon being asked my opinion on these various situations and issues made me realize that people, in general, bring on a lot of their own stress by worrying about or fretting over things that other people think, say or do - things they have absolutely no control over.
Why do we do this? My first reaction was that it's arrogance. Frankly, we all have a tendency to beleive that everything is all about us - and that's wrong. The truth is that everything people think, say and do is all about THEM. It's a reflection of how they see the world. Even if they say that "others made me do it," the truth is that they made the decision on how to perceive things and on how to proceed. Nobody "makes" anybody do anything. Plus, by nature, people are going to do what's best for them and the ones closest to them. Why should they do something that benefits you 100% and them none at all when you aren't the center of THEIR world?
So there's one reason, but I don't think that's all of it, nor the major portion. In fact, I think if that were the whole reason, then it would mean that people in general are extremely selfish and short sighted, and I don't believe that such a narrow view applies to most people most of the time. Some maybe, but absolutely not all. Maybe not most. And remember, I said there's some truth to this. Maybe it's a small part, but I don't think that's a "once size fits all" explanation for it. Most people learn, grow, and gain a wider perspective on the world and as such, they aren't so shallow.
I believe another reason is that we want everybody to like us. The problem is, I recently read that there was actually some scientific study that at least 10% of people aren't going to like you. Frankly, I was surprised the percentage was that low. I thought it would be closer to 30%, but the latest study I read said 10% so we'll run with that. Why is this? Plain and simple, personality differences. Some types just don't play well together. If you don't believe it, ask any extremely emotional person I've come in contact with and they'll tell you I'm mean and don't give a crap about their feelings. I am, by nature, a person that leans more toward logic and reason in making decisions than emotion. I usually don't get along well with extremely emotional types that "just want peace" and "want everybody happy right now" because I beleive happiness comes from investing the time and hard work to do things right no matter how you feel about it "right now." If you do what's right, then it will work out in the end, and that's a happiness that last; not a vapor of high emotion that wears off when the party is over and the consequences have to be paid. In fact, since I've been working in professional licensing, I'd say my tendency to make decisions based on logic and reason have become a stronger because by nature of my profession, I'm obligated to do what's right no matter how people feel about it. I don't think that's a bad thing (of course), but I've caught some flack about it because I'm female, and by stereotype I'm supposed to be all about feelings. While I'm ok to say "alright, forget the 10% and thank God for and enjoy the other 90%, well, some people get awfully fixated on that 10% and believe that if they work harder then they can get a 100% approval rating. It seems their effort would be better spent nurturing relationships with the other 90% but in fact, sometimes they turn on the ones on their side to gain approval they'll never have, counting on forgiveness from that 90% that might come, but not realizing that it will have a higher price than they bargained for because broken trust is a very hard thing to rebuild. But it happens, all the time. I've experienced it; I've seen it; I've written about it. Hey, I'm a writer. The ugly underside of humanity is a playground of inspiration. Expose it to me at your own risk.
Just kidding - maybe. And a sidenote on the emotion thing: I'm interested to see if the stereotype of "hysterical emotion" in women downplays as more generations of women have careers.Working women don't have time to fret over every little wayward comment, rolled eye, questionable social media post, tear or tirade that comes their way. Or at least, me and my colleagues don't. But we'll see as time tells this particular tale.
So there's that. But not all people are emotional and out for approval ratings that would make politicians jealous, so reason #2 can't apply to everybody. But it does apply to enough that I believe it should be considered.
There is one more reason, and I think it applies to most of us. I believe the reason people get tied up in what others think, say and do is because they don't want to be alone in how they think or feel. They want to know that others agree with them. They want others to have an opinion with them, or to get mad with them, or to be sad with them, or to take up the cause with them because they don't want to be the only freak swimming against the tide. They want to know they're like everybody else and what the other person is doing is wild/selfish/stupid/crazy/nonsense/whatever. They don't want to be alone in their opinion or feelings because they don't want to look in the mirror and ask "is it them, or is it me?" We all want to be right. We all want the world to understand that our opinion is just as important as everybody elses'. We all want respect. Nobody wants to be a nobody. They want people to know that they're here, that they have value, and that they are just as important as the other 7+ billion people in the world.
Here's the thing, though: Going about it by getting tangled up in other peoples' business is a sign of insecurity. If you truly walk in faith and you're confident in yourself as the authentic human being you were created to be, then you don't need to beg or scream for attention. You humbly go about your own business, believing that the life God set before and the purposes you serve speak for themselves.
That's the cure. That's how you break free from this stress. You get busy living your own life and tending to your own businss and have the grace to accept others and the decisions they make without intruding into their lives with your opinions.
Does this mean you ignore others and don't care what they do? Of course not. You should always do your best to help people in need and if there's something you can do to help others on their life path, you certainly should. The key is to use common sense and discernment. Yes, we all have opinions on things, but we don't need to share them all the time. Everything that flies through your head doesn't need to fly out of your mouth. If you aren't asked for your opinion or advice, assume it's not wanted or needed and keep it to yourself. I'd even go so far as to say that you should still use caution in giving advice even if you ARE asked for it. As one of the elves said in The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring, "elves don't give advice because all paths may run ill." Think before you speak. If in doubt, don't. And realize that advice is a take it or leave it thing - and in many cases, people leave it, so be prepared to have your advice or opinion rejected just in case and be prepared to not get offended. And please, for the love of God, if it won't make any difference and you have a thought - don't. Stop right there and go no further. If it's done and/or there's no way it's changing no matter what anybody says and you really need to get it out, set up a private blog or buy a journal to work it out, but don't go off on tirades and complain to everybody in the world about things you can't control involving people close to you. And don't ask or expect people to take sides with you unless you want to do the equivalent of renting a billboard that says I'M THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM. It makes you look bad and it makes other people run like hell from you when they see you coming. If it's something so big that you can't live with it, find a way to either deal with it or distance yourself from the situation. Just because a war's going on doesn't mean you have to be a soldier in it. Other people might want you to have their problems, but they can't draft you. You don't have to accept them and if you choose not to accept their problems, well then, it's over.
The point of this mile long blog is that I'm coming to understand that balance is something that we have to strive for in every area of life, and personal relationships are certainly a big element there. We do live in the world, with people, so having good, balanced relationships is an extremely important thing. And one way we can achieve balance in our relationships is by not being a busybody, minding our own business, and having the grace to let it be.
Thanks for hanging in there with me on this one. I hope you had a Happy Friday and that you have a great weekend.
If you live in the south, then you know that sinus and allergy problems are quite common. In fact, one character in every one of my books always gets a sinus infection - it's just a common health problem we face in the hot, humid south. One thing I've noticed, though, is that lots of people tend to get them at the same time.
Now why, pray tell, is that? Infections are bacterial based, meaning they shouldn't be contageous. And yet, I was diagnosed with one Wednesday and today Rick went to the doctor and was diagnosed with the same thing. Not only that, but 2 of my colleagues have had sinus infections recently as well.
llness does spread, and it can spread quickly and unexpectedly. All it takes is one person sneezing over the copy machine, or one person going to the movies with the sniffles, or one person touching that door handle and the germs are off. You can also carry those contageons days or sometimes weeks before you have symptoms - a scary fact, considering that I flew to San Francisco and back just 3 weeks ago and my return flights were full (and don't even get me started on the madness and pandemonium on that layover in Salt Lake City!). Not to mention all those people that were at the conference from 37 states. Well, ouch. I might have just set a new record for potentially spreading a contageon! I didn't feel sick 3 weeks ago but if this had a viral base then I could have been carrying it - and look how far.
Sneaky germs! It's not fair. I'm the lifeform with the higher brain function and yet, it seems they won this round. That's probably why viruses and bacteria have survived so well and for so long. They're incidious little creatures that have survival down to an art. Hitchhike on higher lifeforms while you multiply and spread, and then strike when the numbers are high enough. No thought. No planning. Just action. Hrmph. Not a bad plan to survive, but still not nice. I mean really, what have we ever done to you? Well, besides kill you with doses of antibiotics that, ironically, have side effects that are almost as bad as what you cause.
Outsmarted by bacteria. Hrmph.
Well folks, if you do happen to get the sinus crud followed by an infection, I am truly sorry. I went through four airports in four days to a well attended conference with absolutely no idea that I could potentially be carrying
something. Truth is, we all do it, though. We just have to not bear grudges, realizing that we're being used by evil symbiotes, and move on. And as I said, antibiotics work well.
I hope you have a great weekend. Take care.
Well folks, it happened for the same reason every other massacare happend. Somebody was crazier than Chinese Chicken Salad and we have a system that won't touch crazy with a 100 foot pole until there's a body count.
And that, as they used to say, is the rest of the story.
It's the sad and ugly truth, though. According to FOX news, James Holmes acted on his own and his apartment was booby trapped to the point where 5 surrounding buildings had to be evacuated. Ok everybody, try convincing anybody that nobody saw something odd happening around there. I can't water my lawn without a relative seeing me or somebody from church driving by, and this guy pulled THAT off without anybody noticing?I don't think so. The more likely scenario was that people did see it, but they ignored it for 2 reasons:
1. It made them uncomfortable and they hoped to stay safe by staying out of his way; and
2. It's not like trying to do anything about it would have yielded results anyway, because it's not a crime to be weird.
It's sad, but I've looked into these things, after incidents like this and in a few instances where I suspected I was dealing with a time bomb fixing to blow. In every case, I was told the same thing: it's all about personal rights. You're head can be "a bag full of cats" (as Bruce Banner put it so eloquently in The Avengers), but unless you break the law, nobody can do anything. At that point, you have personal rights and unless you volunteer to get mental help, then nobody can force you to do it. Situations where people are mentally ill and refuse to seek help usually wind out 1 of 2 ways: In jail for commiting a crime like this, or dead because they tempted fate too hard and The Reaper won. Or worse yet, they killed themselves AFTER a maccacre that left a huge body count before they turned it on themself.
And let's be real, folks. How many mentally ill people look in the mirror and say "I think I'm frigging crazy. I'm going to get help right now" and march straight to their doctor. None, because part of mental illness is failure to recognize that you aren't right. A lack of self awareness is symptomatic of every mental disorder in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM - the bible of mental illness that describes pretty much every mental defect we've found yet, for those that haven't heard of it in a while).
It's a thin line, and unfortunately it puts unsuspecting people like those that innocently went to a movie in Colorado last night at risk. Because you never know where those loose cannons are, and that lack of awareness doesn't allow them to see you as an innocent stranger. To them you're the villian, the boogeyman, big brother, and another cog in the wheel driving reality to hell, as they see it.
This incident is another illustration of how the system is broken. We can't do anything to help others unless they break the law, but by the time they do that, they're so far gone that it's difficult if not impossible to help them. The prime time for treatment has passed, when they were aware enough to help themselves. By that point they're completely in another world, and it's neigh on impossible to bring them back. I'm not sure what the answer is, but clearly there's a need for a better one than we have. I don't want to step on personal rights, and individuality covers a pretty wide latitide - but aren't we able to discern what's eccentric and what's bordering on being a threat to self and others yet? If we aren't, then that's something that the medical and mental health professions need to work on.
So no, it had nothing to do with the movie. It had nothing to do with sci-fi, or fantasy. Crazy comes in all shapes, sizes and genres. This guy might have latched onto the persona of The Joker, but he was no super villian. He's nuts, plain and simple, and once again another one shows the world just how much damage one deranged mind can do.
And sadly, we learn that as much as we love superheroes, they are fiction - and this time ugly reality won.
That's all for today. Happy Friday to you.
I recently read an article on Discovery News at http://news.discovery.com/human/morning-people-happy-120611.html
about how early birds feel happier and healthier than night owls. Well, of course they do. They run the world. Especially here in the southeast United States, where the old rural lifestyle of "up before dawn, down at nightfall" is still alive and well.
Want proof? You should have seen the brouhaha that happened over a year ago when our agency director mandated that at least 2 people in every section had to work until 5PM every day. That might not sound like any big deal to you, but most of our staff comes in at 7AM - 7:30 AM and gets off between 3:30 and 4. And I'm the "late bird" on our staff, coming in at 8AM. People fight for their right to work those early shifts. I know several people that even get up at 4 and 5 in the morning, go to the gym to work out, shower, and come in shining at 7 or 7:30 A.M.
Yes, I think they're insane. Folks, I have 3 birds at home, and I get up before they do 6 days a week, and they aren't exactly squawking when I wake them between 8 and 9 am on Saturdays. Nature doesn't rise before the sun, and I don't understand why humans are so motivated to do so. It simply isn't the rhythem the human body is designed to run on, and yet we are forced to do so for the sake of living in "civilized society," from starting school at 7:40 A.M. (yes, we have schools that ring first bell at 7:40 a.m. around here) to reporting to work at 8AM or earlier (I've known, and still know, people required to report in at 6AM).
I'll follow that by saying that of course the elderly are mostly early risers. That tends to happen when you have 30 years of reconditioning by being forced to rise before the sun to report at work at the crack of dawn.
Needless to say, I am a natural night owl. My energy levels are higher later in the day, and getting up in the mornings is a downright painful experience for me. But alas, the early birds run the world, so I must suffer and conform to their way if I want to be a part of civilized society. I just don't think it's fair that we're forced to rise early for day to day life, and how often are people forced to stay up late? New Year's Eve is the only time I can think of when it's extolled to stay up when artificial light is needed. It used to be that you had to stay up for Christmas Eve midnight services too, but that changed several years ago when the church responded to the outcry of those that thought it was unfair to drive after dark and stay up after 8PM for worship, so they started offering 5pm and 7pm services.
So no, I'm not surprised that early birds are happier and healthier because they've got the world conformed to serve their happiness and health. But it's the night owls that are the creative types. So when you get up at 4 in the morning to hit the gym, remember that the person that read that book you're reading on the treadmill was probably pounding the keyboard to create that brilliant work well past YOUR bedtime.
That's all for today. Take care and have a good week.
Well, as irony would have it; it seems Rick's illness had a viral component that brought it out and I caught it yesterday. After a weekend with both of us sick, I realized that there are two rules for dealing with someone who's sick:
1. Never try to force feed them, especially if it has a gastrointestinal base. Believe me, whatever you fear might happen from not eating will be nothing compared to what will happen if you force them to eat; and
2. Don't pepper them with a million questions. People in general are too addicted to asking questions. Please please please - limit the questions as much as possible. You'd be surprised at how much you can discover for yourself if you put your brain on things for 5 minutes. In fact, this is a good overall rule even when everybody is perfectly healthy.
That being said, I will warn you that there is a virus going around and it's absolutely VICIOUS. Neither of us has been this sick in a very long time. We're healing, albeit slowly. This is definitely one that we (and our septic system) will remember for a long time.
Take care all, and take precautions. I know it's winter and illness is lurking but the proper precautions can save your grief. Wash hands, clean up, flu shots, and etc.
More later. Bye!
Welcome to my latest "mini blog series" on surviving the holidays! In these weeks leading up to the holidays I'm going to offer my experiences, insights, and observations on getting through the holidays without losing your sanity. I'd like to open this series with a list of do's and don'ts - basically, simple tips that will help you get through this season with less stress and more time and resources to enjoy what the holidays are all about.
DO keep a schedule with you at all times, as this is a season filled with cordial invitations to events of all sorts - and those invitations can come at any place, at any time. It's never safe to be without a calendar this time of year. If you don't have a mobile device, get a small calendar that you can carry in a purse, briefcase, or pocket.
DON'T be afraid to decline an invitation. It simply isn't possible to do everything - there's too much going on. There is a polite way to decline an invitation. Simply say "I appreciate you thinking of me and offering this invitation, but I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to attend." You don't owe anybody a doctoral dissertation on your calendar. It's perfectly ok to say "no" just because you need time to do other things, or for yourself.
DO go ahead and make travel plans and arrangements now. Waiting until the last minute is stressful to you and rude to the hosts. It takes a lot of "doing" to hosts guests in your home, so be considerate and let them know arrival and departure dates and relative times now so they can plan for your visit accordingly.
DO make shopping lists. In this season of buy, buy, buy, it's easy to lose track of how much you've bought. Do like Santa - make a list and check it twice.
DO check your resources to avoid needless spending or duplicating resources. I was fixing to buy more wrapping paper this past weekend - until I checked my supplies and discovered 10 rolls of paper from last year. People won't remember what wrapping paper, gift tags, bows, boxes or gift bags you used last year and truth be told, you probably didn't remember until you pulled it out of storage.
DON'T be afraid to ask someone on your gift list what they want if you're completely stumped on what to give them. We usually buy gifts for the same people year after year, so after a while it's hard to be original. Don't try. Just ask.
DO ask the people on your gift list if they're ok with receiving gift cards for presents. People seem to have strong opinions on this. I love them, as do most of my family members, but I've had some friends that believe giving gift cards is wildly offensive and insensitive. I actually plan to do an entry just on this topic soon.
DO regift if you got something in the past that hasn't been opened or used, but be careful and DON'T regift it to the person that gave it to you. In fact, if you get something that winds out in the "strorage" drawer or closet, it would be wise to put a note on it indicating who gave it to you to prevent such an embarassing error.
DO observe important traditions, but DON'T feel obligated to hand on to ones that don't mean much to you - or others. Things tend to pass in time. People get married, people have babies, people die. Some things stay and some things go, and that's ok. Keep what means the most and let go of what doesn't.
DO take care of yourself and mind your health - mentally and physically. Be sure to take time out for yourself, excercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. It's easy to skimp on self care during this busy season.
DON'T go off your medications now. I'm not being a smart alec. Money is typically tight this time of year, and often people decide to skip the medication refills to save a few bucks. Don't do it. Your doctor put you on your medication for a reason, and you feel better because of it. If you go off now, you will suffer. This is no area to skimp on ever. It's for your better health. You have enough on you without having to battle your body as well - and you will if you go off your medication. So don't do it. And if, by chance, you do feel it's ok to do so, I urge you to do two things: Do it under doctor's supervision, and strongly consider waiting until January and making this a New Year's Resolution instead.
DO realize that there's no such thing as a perfect holiday. As much as we'd all like our holiday to look like a Norman Rockwell painting, realize that's art, not reality. We live in an imperfect world and it shows that every day, in every way. It's extremely rare for things to go as we planned, and they never go perfectly, People get sick, cars break down, things get sold out, casseroles burn, wrapping paper tears, turkeys don't cook right, gift bags bust, the milk goes sour, people fight, shipments get delayed, bad weather hits, somebody moves and the Christmas card is returned on December 26 leading to misunderstanding and hurt feelings - the list can go on and on.
So there you have it - a few simple, common sense list of suggestions to get through the holidays. I believe that's a good place to end this entry, as well as a perfect lead in for the next entry in this series.
Next Time: Can't We All Just Get Along - It's The Holidays! (or, Reality 101)
Rick and I visited a friend from church yesterday that's in a nursing home. She has cancer. It's spread from her lungs to her brain, and the prognosis isn't good - in fact, her life expectancy is in terms of weeks. This is the third person I've known to have cancer in the past couple of years, and honestly I hope it's the last. It's so hard to get inside peoples' suffering like that - not only theirs, but their families and friends as well. It's tough on everybody.
If there's one thing that I've learned through seeing three people fight this battle, it's that you have to enjoy life. It's not just the big things, like health, family, home and relationships either. It's also the small things. Like weekends, good books, free time, going to the movies, a good song on the radio, purple nail polish, and red roses. Very often, it's the small things that really bring joy. You have to learn to find that joy and to embrace it.
It just makes me sick to see so many people walking around, taking things for granted. If they saw what we saw last night, and considered that this could be the fate of so many of us, I'd think they would slow down long enough to quit griping about all that's wrong and appreciating all that's right. This world is screwed up, but God's still in it, and there's plenty of blessings to enjoy.
I often lament my busy lifestyle, but I'm wise enough to see that it's the result of great blessings, and they are blessings that I am thankful for all the time.
Yes, there are plenty of problems. Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows. Turning on the TV or logging on the Internet can tell you that. So many people have that 20/20 vision for problems, but they don't have that kind of clarity to see what's right. And that's why there's so much depression and violence in our society. We're too fixated on what's wrong. We need to change that focus and see what's right. There are so many blessings right under our noses.
If you got up this morning and felt good enough to get out of bed and do 1 thing, you're blessed. If you had breaksfast, that's 2 blessings. Start counting your blessings there.
Maybe if we switched our focus from the bad to the good, we'd find a new perspective. Maybe we'd find solutions to some of these problems. Maybe we'd find that some things we see as problems aren't really problems at all. I would love to challenge people to trade in their griping for gratitude for just an hour.
It's something to think about. And with that, I will be off. I hope the rest of your weekend goes well.
Hi all; I hope you're doing well and having a great week. I tried, I really did, but it just hasn't worked out so far.
The foot is healing, for which I am extremely grateful. I haven't been brave enough to get back on the treadmill yet. Maybe in another couple of days. Today is the first day I've gone the whole day without pain.
The rest of life, however, has been one for the "what the hell?" files (although that's not what we really call it but hey! I'm trying to maintain some sort of decency!). Work has been one thorny issue after another, all week long. I untangle one mess and here comes another. There must be some evil imp ravaging my cubicle. I think I beat most of it into submission today. *Hopefully,* and I say that in the "if the Lord wills and creeks don't rise" sense, I did manage to get things flowing properly, balls in other courts, and I made my final visit to the State House for a committee meeting for this session today. *Hopefully* As things have shown a tendency to unravel - or worse, to pull a phoenix and rise from the ashes - I'm not counting it done yet.
Then yesterday we got word that a friend at church lost her battle with pancreatic cancer yesterday. Don't worry, I'm not going to put you through those musings again. We went through this - oh wait! Exactly a year ago today, when a friend at my former workplace died of THE VERY SAME THING!! There's much I don't understand and this scary timing is one more thing on the heap. But I suppose faith is about accepting that you don't have the answers and being ok with the questions. Or something like that.
I'm trying to find out how things keep getting past me. I don't know stuff that I usually find out without even trying. For example: Did you know the new Transformer's movie is coming out on July 1st? I knew they were making one but had no idea it was done. I also didn't know that they moved a new deposit machine just up the hall from my cubicle, that several files I've been looking for are in the cabinet right next to my desk, that you can get Microsoft Office for iPads, that the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out last weekend, that "True Grit" was a remake, that they were thinking about extending the legislative session, or that there's an old wives tale about more people dying in the spring because of something with the sap in the trees (another one for the "what the...? files). I think I've been working too hard and too much. Yes, I've had problems with my mind wandering lately, but this is ridiculous. I definitely need to take a break this weekend. No writing, chores, errands, visiting, volunteering, or anything.
So here I sit with all these questions and more. Like why does my parakeet sing like a canary? Why does my computer smell like my perfume (that never gets near this machine)? How did Zack chew curtains that are nowhere near his cage? Why did Chloe growl at me when I got home? What is going on with this crazy, hot weather? And many, many more.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is life in the rabbit hole! Hmm. I sense inspiration for short stories in my future. Life like this is the catalyst for it.
Well, my brain is fried so it's time to go. I hope you have a Happy Friday tomorrow. Heck, I hope I have a Happy Friday tomorrow either. It's been a challenging week, but I'm not giving up on having at least one good day in it.
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.