Hi all, welcome back! It’s been a while since my last post. Life has been a bit less than gracious over the last month and a half since I came back from vacation. The brain space typically reserved for reading and writing had been eaten by what corporations euphemistically call ‘restructuring’, which is never a pleasant experience.
I will not write much about books today, but the past month got me thinking about human resilience. Because despite all the noise, all the talk about the age of anxiety and depression we are superbly, unbelievably resilient. We recover in no time when you put it in perspective. Of course, it also comes with age and the support structure we build in our life (family, friends, work friends, hobbies, sports). I can only speak of my experience, but I do hope all of you, each in their own way and sometimes even unconsciously, are building your support and resilience structures.
As every other person I’ve had my share of crises in my life, but what I noticed this time is that with every one of them I am stronger. If what happened now has happened to me in my 20ties I would be shattered, this time I had a difficult month and am now actively on the mend. There is still some way to go, but even my initial reaction to stress was not as overwhelming as I expected. No problems sleeping, no stomachache, some teeth grinding and tense muscles, but I learned how to stretch properly to relieve that too.
Why was it different this time? I allowed myself to be stressed and sad and a bit manic for the first two weeks when the adrenaline was fuelling me. I had to do that to channel the energy that adrenaline kicked off. Then the realization dawned that it will not be one of the fast crises, it will take a few months for the situation to settle. My body moved from adrenaline to cortisol. In my case way more damaging, because it is not so visible, it’s slow-burning stress. This is also when experience from previous crises kicked in: start exercising, stop the after-work drinking and venting sessions, start doing pleasant things for yourself (lighting candles, having an odd lazy day), stop feeling guilty about not reading and not writing. I allowed myself to feel not great, but also actively working to feel better.
I leaned on my friends and they were there for me, but after the initial hectic weeks I try to limit the amount of moaning and venting, instead, I listen more to what is going on in their lives. Selfishly using it for my benefit, to distract me from my situation. Another aspect was eating, typically I would eat throughout stressful times to calm myself down (the fake sense of security that comes from feeling full). This time I try to stick to my diet in at least 80% (everyone needs a pizza now and then!).
Another strategy was to start learning, to find a sense of achievement outside of the unstable work environment, to build my self-confidence, without anchoring all of my self-worth in the work I’m doing. I booked the date of my certification exam, so I now have no excuses, but I also gave myself enough time to work through the material.
All this seems to be working, I feel calmer, more collected, able to enjoy the warm glow of candles and fairy lights, the coming Christmas. I’m still not back to reading at my normal rate, because I find it difficult to focus for a long period of time, but as you can see I started writing at least a bit. All will be well!
And December is here, which is my favorite month of the year because of Christmas and my birthday, and one of my least favorite because of short days and winter 🙂
Enjoy your pre-Christmas time! And I hope to be back soon with some book reviews.