Posts tagged stress
Never Enough

“Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place” The Breakfast Club

This blog post was knocking around in my head through the holiday season and resurfaced in the new year. During Christmas, there were many times I felt inadequate. How many gifts is enough? How many holiday gatherings is enough? Should I do more? Can I do more? Worry about all of these questions causes me to miss out on the joy that comes with gatherings and gifts. To abate the guilt, I wait until the 2 weeks (even 2 days) before Christmas to buy gifts so I don’t struggle with whether I am doing enough. And I participate in every gathering.

New year for change

I remind myself every New Year’s Eve that I have more time on my hands on January 1st than any other day of the year.

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Just say ok

From the moment you wake up, you are making decisions.  Thousands of microdecisions are made everyday.  You are either taking action on a decision or processing whether or not to act.  There are likely several decisions ping-ponging around your brain at any given time.  It is exhausting.  

Every person has a process of sending a decision through several internal filters or a personal algorithm.  Those filters include your values, your desire for control and your intuition to protect yourself.

Our decision-making systems can be on overload because companies build their business to give you lots of choices.   To prove this, go into a Starbucks and listen to 10 people place an order.  Or walk down the cereal aisle at the grocery store. 

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Stay in your lane

One of the main reasons I blog is to work through a problem or situation, reflect on an experience, and to have personal accountability when I make a recommendation (which is pretty much every blog post).

One of my personality traits is to make sure everyone is happy.  I am a peacemaker and problem solver no matter where I am.  I don't like people to feel uncomfortable or disregarded.  I don't like to leave a situation in unrest with no plan to fix it.  Trying to make sure everyone is happy comes with the disadvantage of trying to have the answer for everything and be everything to everyone.  

I learned, with practice, how to say "I don't know" and, even more specifically, to say "I don't know everything".  That doesn't stop me from wanting to know everything or following up with "I will find out".  

Here are a few ways I can support someone and stay in my lane.  

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Clever way to stop thinking about work

Service professionals bill by the hour. Most attorneys bill by the 1/10 of the hour. It is the only way they get paid for their work.

When I am drafting, researching, and writing notes on a case, I bill for my time.  Typically I am in front of my computer when I am doing these tasks.

What about the time I am thinking about the case, but am not "working"?  For example: (1) the drive home from the office; (2) when I try to go to sleep; (3) when I exercise; or (4) when I take a shower.  Should I bill for that thinking time?

When I realize I am thinking about work during non-work time, my first instinct is to take my mental Whack-a-mole hammer and whack the thoughts so they leave me alone.  This isn’t very effective at making the thoughts go away. 

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Cracking the mindfulness code

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment nonjudgmentally.

15 years ago, I participated in a Mindfulness Stress-Based Management course.  The course was 8 weeks long and based on the book “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabia-Zinn. 

Mindfulness is available every waking second.  I also enjoy meditation but it requires stillness of the body for a period of time.  Truthfully, it would be wonderful if I could spend time doing either for any second of the day.    

I have always believed that mindfulness required the full attention of my entire self.  That may be true.  I decided, however, that I can only be mindful with my brain and one other part of my body.  When I realized this, I felt like I cracked the code for integrating mindfulness into my life.

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Say what you want

As I close in on the fourth decade of my life, I am tuned-in to generational differences.  My 7-year uses slang I don't understand.  Few of my GenY friends use SnapChat.  My millennial niece has to explain words like "ships".

As a parent, I am acutely aware that I am the greatest influence on how my child choses to behave.  I've heard that millennials have less capacity for resilience than generations before them.  Primarily because, as they grew up, their parents protected them from disappointment.  I can relate.  (1) I don't want to see my child sad and hurting; and (2) I don't like conflict.

I pick up my son from after school care.  It closes at 5:45 and he never wants to leave when I show up.  He sees me walk in the door and it is autopilot "grumpy face and whine".  He doesn't want to leave, regardless of the time.  

I have explained to him that it makes me sad when he reacts to me with those emotions.   His reaction also makes my stress level spike and my body goes to flight or fight mode.  I get anxious writing about it.

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More faces. More books.

On Saturday, I did a media cleanse.  A media cleanse is something I made up.  A “cleanse” is more commonly associated as a method of food elimination and intestinal, uh, stimulation.  Merriam-Webster defines the word cleanse as “a very restrictive short-term diet primarily intended to remove toxins from the body”.

My scope of the media cleanse was the elimination of news and social media for a calendar day.  I did it the weekend before the election to keep my sanity.  At that time, it was mostly elimination from Facebook and Twitter, i.e. social media.  Since then, I have become a subscriber to the New York Times and have easy access via my iPad.  I find myself binging on news and social media when I get home after work.  When it started to creep into my workday, I did a call for accountability partners to join me in a media free day.

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