Monday, September 17, 2012

Fast Fall Freefall

You're probably thinking- "Wow! With a title like that, this post is sure to be something totally awesome." Uh, not to burst your bubble, but I'm just a big fan of aliteration. Seriously, Fast Fall Freefall. Say it five times fast. I dare you.

However, that doesn't mean this post won't be awesome. It is. I think. Although I'm making it up as I go so I've got no idea WHAT it's going to be... Oh wait! I've got it! Let's talk about something that really counts as we step into fall and realize that wham! the holidays are right around the effing corner.

Mental health. Everyone's fave topic.

Really though, I'm not kidding. How many of us get into fall and start feeling stressed out? Stress doesn't have to be classic either. You don't need to be one of those whiners who moans and groans and pops Xanax. Sometimes stress sufferers are quiet. They plug along in the background until they just drop from exhaustion. That's not a good thing people!

Stress causes all kinds of icky health problems. So don't let yourself be overwhelmed. Take a step back and recognize those signs that you maybe need a day to yourself. You know what they are. We all feel it creeping up. Maybe you snap at people when they ask you something mundane. Maybe you're having trouble sleeping because your mind is racing around trying to anticipate every little aspect of the day to come. Maybe you're ready to crawl into a corner, curl into the fetal position and just hide until global warming finishes up and we all turn into toast points. Whatever!

So here's a quick tip- its OKAY to call in sick or take a personal day and just lay in bed. I'm not joking here. If you find yourself on the brink, DO it! Don't wait for the men in white. Crawl back into bed after the kids go to school, or your significant other leaves, or whatever, just crawl back in bed and watch soap operas, or Oprah, or play video games if that's what you love. Hell, spend the day doing Farmville or one of those bubble popping games. (Of course you might want to hide your new high scores from your work friends if you're playing hooky) Point is, take that day and use it to recharge your mental batteries. We need that time to literally do nothing important. That helps to reset the brain, the emotional state, and even the heart in some cases.

Now, once you get reset? Then its time to build some decompression time into your daily or weekly schedule. You need to discover what works for you and utilize it. Don't give me that "I don't have time." crap either. You either make time or you go nuts, pull your hair out, and have a heart attack. It's that simple. Spending some quality time with yourself, doing something that you love, that's a huge part of mental health.

We don't all do the same things. Me? For those of you who know me, I'm a horse fanatic with a capital F-A-N-A-T-I-C. I don't deny myself those hours spent with Mercy. They're important to me. Even on days I don't ride, its good to go out and groom her, wash that massive tail, give her some beauty treatments, and just be silent. Nobody can share a comfortable silence like Mercy Me. I'm telling you, she's therapy GOLD!

That's not the only thing I do to protect my mental health though. It's a full time occupation, I promise. I have two kids, a few part time gigs, my writing, a husband, and grad school. I NEED to keep myself from losing my mind. It's imperative. So I'm careful about what I focus on. Sometimes I deliberately procrastinate. I know that sounds bad, but occasionally its okay to say, "Hey, I really cannot deal with this right now. So I'm going to make a date to do it tomorrow. And right now, I'm going to go sit in front of the Playstation and veg." And that is OKAY! Let the house get a little dirty, let the laundry pile up, make yourself a list of things that have to get done and prioritize. Do what really cannot be put off and then go relax for awhile. If your schedule is so tight you cannot afford to procrastinate, make it an hour, a half hour, fifteen effing minutes! Something! I'm not kidding here, whatever task you think HAS to be done? It'll get done in half the time and at double the quality if you just take a break and then get to it.

So as our fast fall freefall approaches, don't neglect yourself. Don't neglect your emotional state just to project an image of someone who has it all together. And all those people out there who seem like they DO have it together? They're pretending too, unless they've mastered the art of decompression.

Remember- you should always make time to pick up a book and read for awhile. Escape to the Extraordinary people- NOT just a catchphrase. It's a lifestyle choice. One you won't regret.

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