I did it again. I got busy. Got flustered. Got overwhelmed, and allowed many of the things around me to drown me in a swirl of “Oh-my-God-I-must-get-all-of-this-done-or-the-world-will-come-to-an-unprecedented-end.” I think I was “in my feelings,” as I’ve heard many “young” people say. (Remember when you were the “young” people? I think that’s my almost-40 something talking.) Anyway! I realize most people associate summer with all things care-free, traveling, and the like; but, for many, summer represents transitions, new responsibilities, longer to-do lists, and situations that can intensify a few of our anxieties. I’d be on List B.
What’s wrong with that? Everything! If you don’t handle it correctly. And I did not. My key indicators were exhaustion, exasperation, and this morning a sore throat – the kind I only get when I haven’t had enough rest and my body goes back into protest mode and says, “Yeah, we don’t like this. You make us uncomfortable, we’re going to make you uncomfortable.” Note to Body: Point Taken.
I think among my better qualities is that I am constantly reflective. And after a few headaches and moments of being befuddled, I traveled that familiar journey of asking myself, “How did I get here…again?” And I realized, I was filtering through the wrong lens. I am reminded again of that salient serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity (peace/calmness) to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Yep. I was definitely missing that big picture. That being said, when you know better, you do better. Or so I’ve been told.
So I decided, as a spin on a phrase that I heard when I was still in high school (relax, relate, release), I instead needed to relax, replay, and relieve. How so? Very simple. We need to relax because so often the things that we feel the most anguish about are not nearly as critical as we make them out to be.
You could possibly easily list five things that you obsessed about recently that were perhaps very minor. In the big scheme of things, I ask myself if what I’m “sweating” would be of any importance to me a year from now. If the answer is “No,” my new approach to handling it is, “Let’s move on.”
Replay. I’m of the opinion of late that many of my most challenging issues needed to be revisited in my head before moving forward. Sometimes, “replaying” scenarios that have occurred helps us analyze them better. It’s so easy to misinterpret situations when we don’t give enough time to considering what really took place, especially when other people are involved. Journaling comes in handy here.
Writing down what happened and how we feel about things is a great way to remember what occurred with accuracy and authenticity. There have many days I reread an entry from the past and went, “Wow. I didn’t realize I was looking at it that way. I can see how that happened, but given the circumstances, I would do [blank] now.”
Stepping away from an episode can give significant insight. When caught in the emotions of intense experiences, you don’t always see things as clearly. When you relax, you have a physical element to being calm as well as an emotional reaction. Replaying puts you in the driver’s seat of controlling your feelings when you’re not uptight.
Finally, relieve yourself of unnecessary obligations. I am so guilty of tasking myself with things I need not be obligated to. Not intentionally. Not because I have nothing better to do. I think more so, just out of habit. I always strive for excellence, and as such, I come up with many grand ideas of what would make things better. That would be ok, so long as those ideas don’t leave me overextended. This is especially true when I add on other people’s unnecessary expectations. It’s a recipe for disaster.
It is imperative to remember that as humans, our lives will constantly be filled with things we need to do, places we need to go, people we need to see. This is intensified if we have any significant relationships in our lives, be it family, friends, members of our faith, or colleagues. What is unhealthy is when we allow these things to combine in such a way that we are pulled in more directions than we can go.
Stop! Assess your situation and respond to what is most essential. Relax! So you can do so with a calm demeanor and save your insanity. Replay. Take a good look at what is happening and make sure you’re analyzing what’s important – objectively. Relieve. Cut out anything that isn’t required, and thank yourself in the morning. That’s my strategy for rejuvenation… #haveacupofthat, #pursueyourpassion, #catchyourdreams, #bethe1.
Picture: A large cup of all things soothing (Cafe Mocha) from Croissant Brioche, my favorite intimate, French Cafe in Rice Village. The chocolate shavings are mint-infused! #divine, #thisishowIrelax