Sunday, 22 January 2012

"Sleepy, Grouchy, Dopey..."

No, I am not referring to the least fun of Snow White's Seven Dwarfs. I am referring to me at different times this week. Yup - pretty sure there were moments of sheer fun for the people around me if it was the wrong dwarf rearing it's head!

This past week at work was busy: a few deadlines, a project nearing its close, a new colleague to train. I like a busy week. A busy work week goes by fairly quickly and keeps you focused on the task at hand. And I like my job. However.

On Wednesday I was starting to feel a bit sleepy - fatigue from the pace. Thursday I was feeling a tad grouchy - too much time with others and not enough by myself focusing just on my work. By Friday morning I couldn't put together complete sentences that made any sense for the first hour of my work day. Sleepy, grouchy, dopey - check, check and check! That means that right about now I should be feeling burnt out. Check! But today I can add feeling kinda blue.

For me, this is a like a blaring siren and red lights flashing. As a 20+ year fighter of depression I never feel completely free. Depression is a little devil sitting on my shoulder, just waiting. So I have learnt to be wary and cautious about my health over the years. And I picked up a few tips and tricks along the way:

Keep Things In Perspective: Don't panic - look at the situation. One down day for me, or for anybody, does not indicate depression. It can mean nothing or it might mean something. In my case it's simply a reaction to a busy pace that I have been keeping, if I'm honest with myself, for the last few months. This week and my reaction to it was my body and mind telling me to slow down.

Take Time For Yourself: It's OK to spend time by yourself and for yourself. I have learnt over the years that I need my alone time to recharge. An introvert at heart, sometimes I simply cannot bear the idea of another conversation with another person. It's not you, it's me - really! One lunch break this week I went somewhere alone and had a quiet lunch by myself because I knew that I would feel better if I did. I was able to come back to work and continue on a lot less cranky.

Stay In The Moment and Just Breathe: One of the best pieces of advice that I have ever received was from my first psychologist back in 2003. She told me to stay in the moment, "If you are on the skytrain going to work then you are on the skytrain going to work." Pretty simple concept. But at the time my mind was racing with worst case scenarios for my life so it was a challenge to implement this practice. But I have. When I was faced with a last minute deadline this week, I admit, I had about five minutes of panic. But then I stopped myself, got to work and kept repeating my mantra, "You are just working on this right now. You are just working on this right now." Happily, I finished the task at 4:56pm and celebrated with a hug from my workmate!

Hugs Rock: There is plenty of research showing the benefits of human touch. We have seen the importance of touch on babies and their development, for example. But touch also holds the power to increase those feel good endorphins in us adults. Of course, I know that not everyone wants to be hugged, but I am pretty quick to offer a free hug to someone who is having a hard day. But it's not purely altruistic - it always makes me feel good, too! And you better believe that I am quick to ask for a hug when I need one.

Music is Medicine: As Madonna sang, "Music makes the people come together." It must be good for you if it can make a room full of adults dance a night away. It helps babies develop in the womb. Music has the power to move you - a sad song can make you cry and a silly song can make you smile. I use music in a couple of ways. At work I listen to classical music. It helps me tune out the noise around me and helps me to focus. At home I listen to everything and everything. Today, as we have established, I was feeling a bit blue so I listened to Madonna's Celebration (fun, uptempo dance music) and Kelly Clarkson's new album - her lyrics are fabulous and inspiring. Music simply makes me happy.

Sleep: If music is medicine then sleep is like the air that I breathe. If I am stressed out then my sleep suffers. If my sleep suffers then everything else suffers. So sleep is important to me! But sleep should be important to everyone. My friend, Jen, forwarded to me an article written by Martha Beck about burn out and in it Beck writes, "Sleep as if your life depends on it." Um, it kinda does. Your body repairs itself when it sleeps. Just think about how you feel after a night spent tossing and turning in bed. Now think about how you feel after you have had enough hours in bed and a restful, recuperative sleep. Pretty good, huh? Today, I took a long nap. Because I needed it. When I woke up my headache was gone and I felt rested and calm.

So what exactly did I accomplish today? Well, I put myself and my well being first. Sleepy, Grouchy, and Dopey are gone for now and Happy is back.

KB xo

P.S. What do you do when you need to find Happy? Please share your tips and tricks!

1 comment:

  1. Kristin - love reading your blog - your voice is so truthful and from the heart...I always come away looking at things differently and your coping strategies are such good reminders for all of us!

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