The particular brand of ass-kickery I’m talking about here is when the obstacles and annoyances and demands mount up tag-team style, and require all your energy, and all the stuff you’d rather be doing goes on the extreme back burner while you put out life’s unexpected fires.
For a time, you slay dragons valiantly. You roar in the face of the forces of chaos, and feel capable and maybe high off your unstoppableness.
Eventually you (and by you, I mean me) start to panic because you’re starting to flag.
And you haven’t even touched the Really Important Stuff in days, weeks, and you fear that by the time you get back to it it will be gibberish and you won’t understand what to do with it, or why you even thought it was so important in the first place.
When you do finally get a moment to catch your breath, the body-machine takes over and enforces a period of rest on you (maybe by giving you a cold, or chronic drowsiness, or an agoraphobic hermit-attack).
And you are so involved with floating on the enforced cloud of somnolent recovery that your ideal life seems terminally far away, and like it might belong to someone else.
Here’s some stuff I try to do, when I remember. (Please remind me when you see I need it.)
1. Give the rss reader a vacation.
Lay off the blogs and the twitter in general if it’s not helpful. If it feels like the whole world is cheerful and moving forward except you and everything everyone is doing is cooler than anything you could ever do, lay off. Give it a break.
It will still be there when you’re more resilient and mentally tougher and not everything makes you say OH SHIT.
2. Get enough damn sleep.
This is huge. The single biggest happiness-underlyer, for me, and I bet for you too. Sleep until you wake up when you can. Nap when you’re called to.
3. Move, if you can stand to.
I like to dance violently to something with a deep, strong baseline, something that sounds like sex or war.
Or headbang to Joan Jett (I don’t give a damn about my bad reputation! No No No No No No No! NOT MEEEE!)
4. Eat vegetables and fruits.
Avoid out-food as much as possible, as much for reasons of self-respect as for health. Beware the refined carbohydrates, but don’t skimp on the chocolate when it’s called for.
5. Likewise, go easy on the mood-altering substances.
This is maybe not the best time to soothe yourself with a scotch bath.
*My term for drinking likkers while soaking in the tub. I’ve never taken a bath in the actual scotch. But life is long.
6. As far as possible, keep the freakouts (Omigod, I’m not doing enough, what do I do next, what will happen, etc etc etc) at bay.
Defer them to saner times if you can. Or put the troublesome thing on your God list (a technique I stole from Jen Hofmann and love love love).
When you’re in the blue dumps, do NOT make any strategeric decisions to which you will try to hold yourself later.
7. Do only the stuff that you’re moved to do, and do it with the intention that it be easy and freeing.
Do it because it meets a need you have in that moment; not because you are driven to it by fear or panic. Like journaling very loosely about ideas and possibilities. Or meeting a friend in person. Or writing an article that urgently needs you to write it. (Ahem.)
Forget loftiness and your legacy any any ideas you have about your prestige. There will be time for that later. This isn’t it.
In case it wasn’t clear, Dear Reader, all of this is not only for you.
It’s for me.
I was talking to a friend who I wanted to put in self-care bootcamp and enforce this regimen on. (Oh, I know – the delicious irony of wanting to force people to take care of themselves, for their own good, whether they like it or not! And she smartly pointed out that I could use a drill sergeant to give me the same treatment.)
Please also note that there is no award for perfect merit, even in something as passive as recovering from an ass-kicking. :) So do with it what you will, what you can, and I will do the same.
(And yes, part of the reason I am posting this list here, even though everything above is totally bleeding obvious, is so I can come here and find it when I myself neeeeeed it.)
This space is like a Quaker meeting that is happening in my living room. Honored guests, please speak as you are moved to. And let’s be awesome to each other, because graciousness among friends is why we hang out together.