We get down. We work long hours. The results aren’t always obvious. Colleagues or managers may be imperfect human beings with their own issues that impact us. We hurt for those we are trying to help. Our spirits sometimes run low. Good friends can help. When they aren’t nearby, my best friend may be me. Here is some advice to give ourselves.
(I didn’t write this list. I don’t know who to credit – and I endorse it. Some of the points may seem unusual. One is the use of cold water. Last year in a stressful time I had an anxiety attack. It hadn’t happened before and I went to Emergency thinking I might be having a heart attack. When it was determined that my heart was fine, the physician recommended that if I feel that way again, I should splash my face with cold water. Checking into this I learned that “a chilly zap from cold water signals to your brain to release endorphins, the feel-good hormone.” This can lead to a decrease in depression symptoms and anxiety and an improvement in stress levels.)
Here is the list I found, tweaked just slightly:
Shower. Not a bath, a shower. Use water as hot or cold as you like. You don’t even need to wash. Just get in under the water and let it run over you for a while. Sit on the floor if you gotta.
Put on clean, comfortable clothes. Put on your favorite underwear. Those ridiculous boxers you bought last Christmas with candy cane hearts on the butt? Put them on.
Drink cold water. Use ice. If you want, add some mint or lemon for an extra boost. While you are pouring, splash your face with the water.
Clean something. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Organize one drawer of a desk. Wash five dirty dishes. Do a load of laundry. Scrub the bathroom sink.
Blast music. Listen to something upbeat and dancey and loud, something that’s got lots of energy. Sing to it, dance to it, even if you suck at both.
Make food. Don’t just grab a granola bar to munch. Take the time and make food. Even if it’s ramen. Add something special to it, like a soft-boiled egg or some veggies. Prepare food, it tastes way better, and you’ll feel like you accomplished something.
Make something. Write a short story or a poem, draw a picture, color a picture, fold origami, crochet or knit, sculpt something out of clay, or anything artistic. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it. Create.
Go outside. Take a walk. Sit in the grass. Look at the clouds. Smell flowers. Put your hands in the dirt and feel the soil against your skin.
Call someone. Call a loved one, a friend, or a family member, call a chat service if you have no one else to call. Talk to a stranger on the street. Have a conversation and listen to someone’s voice. If you can’t bring yourself to call, text, email, or whatever, just have some social interaction with another person. Even if you don’t say much, listen to them. It helps.
Cuddle your pets if you have them/can cuddle them. Take pictures of them. Talk to them. Tell them how you feel, about your favorite movie, a new game coming out, anything. If you don’t have a pet, engage with the plant in your window. It is also a being.
Find something to be grateful for. Write it down. Share it with someone. Thank someone. Do something kind for someone else.
Know that creation believes in you and supports you.
- Randy Weekes