Archives for the month of: March, 2017

Whew! Yesterday was a bit of a doozy. I was tired and stressed out at the same time (never a good combination!) and the emails just kept pinging my inbox. I could feel that fist (you know which one I’m talking about) in the middle of my chest squeezing tighter. I know that’s not good and that I need to deal with it, but I felt that I had to answer all of my emails right away. I was due to have lunch with a friend yesterday and I wanted to cancel in order to work on what I needed to get done. I’m so glad I didn’t!

I started the week off-kilter and it’s been that way ever since. Don’t you just hate that? In my typical fashion, I was just going to work through my anxiety, come what may. I’m glad that my brain told my hands to stop typing and my legs to start walking. As soon as I sat down with my friend and we started talking, I forgot about everything waiting for me back at the office. It’s like none of it ever happened! That fist in my chest loosened until I could breathe freely and I felt more confident. I noticed that as soon as I sat down at my desk after lunch, nothing seemed as daunting as it appeared only an hour before. I actually became more productive in the afternoon than I was in the morning!

Don’t deny yourself a lunch break, short walk, time sitting on a bench people-watching–do something during the course of your day that allows you to relax and forget for awhile! I tend to clam up when I’m stressed and to stay in one place, when I know that is the worst thing I can do. Letting off some steam truly made me feel more confident and capable so that my afternoon at work was a breeze compared to what I thought it would be. It’s important for us all to remember to take care of ourselves at work or school, not just in our free time!

How do you unwind at work?

Take-a-Deep-Breath-Whale
Source.

A few weeks ago I posted about how I wanted to restart my presence on social media, namely Facebook. I started the process by installing Messenger Lite. I was never fond of Facebook Messenger because of how the app gathered so much data from users and generally felt intrusive. For a while, I was able to use the service without having to install the official app by using third party solutions. When Facebook made the service incompatible with third party apps I had to rely on the mobile browser version, which was less than ideal. I ultimately came up with a reasonable solution with Messenger Lite—an official stripped down version of the app intended for markets where users generally run older versions of Android.

Next, I began to tweak the mobile browser version of Facebook since I’m also not a fan of the official app. I realized that in my absence, Facebook reworked some of its features and algorithms. I discovered I had the ability to choose people and groups I wanted to see first in my news feed. I also unfollowed (not the same as unfriending) people whom I regularly find to be frustrating. Such frustrating posts are almost never directed at me, but I vehemently disagree with their content and I don’t want to spend my free time arguing over nothing. My logic is that if a friend shares content that constantly raises my blood pressure then such content is not worth reading.

If social media outlets start to become a source of frustration and stress and their usage isn’t directly related to your job, there’s no obligation feed on that source of stress. Either cut the source of stress out of your life or give up on the platform. I chose the former and I feel much better about using Facebook.

 

How is your social media life? Are there platforms you’ve completely given up on or have you tried to make them work?

Me 1 Laptop 0 by Steviep187 of Flickr

“Me 1 Laptop 0 by Steviep187 of Flickr” Also, what I felt like doing to my PC at times after using Facebook

This post piggybacks off my previous post a bit–I’m going to talk about writing and how my creativity has improved since I really started to focus on using my time wisely on my commute. I keep a small notebook in my work bag at all times and I’ve been using it almost every day–to make lists, write down notes and ideas, but mostly to write what I want. I used to write all the time–mostly poetry, but sometimes memoir/essay-esque pieces as well. Once I started my first 9-5 job in an office, I stopped writing for awhile and I felt the loss; recently, though, after waking myself up and asking myself why I’m not writing, I realized that there is no good reason.

When I started writing again, I felt very rusty and I was afraid of putting anything on the page. I was afraid of feeling stupid or less than (which, I told myself, is ridiculous because who’s going to read any of what I write unless I show it to someone?), so I had to force myself to keep going and not quit. I’m so glad I did–once I shook off the cobwebs, so to speak, I felt an amazing power within myself. I can write what I want, when I want, and how I want! How liberating!

I now look forward to getting on the train, putting my headphones on and playing music that relaxes or inspires me, and writing whatever comes to mind. Sometimes I become so engaged with what I’m doing that I almost forget that I have to get off at my stop think this is so important: whatever it is you love, don’t make excuses–just do it. And keep on doing it! Maybe you don’t make money doing it, or maybe you do but it is not your primary source of income; maybe you’ll never make money doing it–who cares? How does it make you feel? I love to write and I love the way it makes me feel and that’s okay with me for now.

What do you love and how do you make time for it?

writing-1209121_960_720

Source.

I had planned to get refocused in February and ramp up some areas of my life where I felt stagnant. My plans were derailed when I fell ill with a nasty cold and it seemed to take much of the month to recover. In the first week of March I decided to get out of my comfort zone and refocus.

The first thing I did was participate in Lent. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and lasts 40 days until Easter. It is during this season that many Christians give up something in order to become closer to God or to emulate Jesus when he fasted in the desert for 40 days before starting his ministry. Most people give up things such as meat on certain days of the week, sweets for 40 days, or even social media. Personally, I decided to give up red meat and poultry. (Hopefully I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew. Ha ha.) The effort has definitely forced me to refocus and has washed away much of the routine in my life, which feels refreshing.

The second thing I did was to tackle my gaming backlog again. I failed to complete any games in February, but decided to try again in March. As much fun as it is to play video games, it is a low priority hobby. After all, work, bills, and obligations come first. However, I noticed that if I spend all my time worrying about obligations, I forget to take time out to have fun. Then I resent the fact and a downward spiral begins. That spiral ends in feeling burned out. Playing video games and completing them is a great way to work at a goal, feel accomplished, and relieve stress. Fortunately, I’m on the cusp of finishing a game I’ve been playing off and on for eight years in various forms. (Okami for the curious.) Putting this beast on my completed list is going to feel great.

The last thing I’ve been doing is literally taking care of myself by squaring away outstanding doctor’s appointments. These appointments to see my health providers were made in late December and early January, but I’ve been putting off those office visits. The procrastination was due to my intense dislike of office visits and being stuck in waiting rooms in general. Now that I have my appointments it feels like a huge mental weight has been lifted.

 

Spring is normally viewed as a season of revival and new beginnings. It is certainly starting to feel that way for me. Have you ever felt unfocused in your life? If so, what did you do to reclaim that focus?

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms by Nicolas Raymond of Flickr

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms by Nicolas Raymond of Flickr

%d bloggers like this: