Saturday, January 6, 2018

Prioritize the Stress Factors

Good and timely topic as I’m currently dealing with the chaos of moving during a major holiday season. Sigh. Just this morning I was heading down the serious anxiety attack path but a good friend is coming over later to organize and help unpack. I’ve been unpacking a few boxes a day but I swear the pile was regenerating itself overnight. Add to that a cat who was extremely upset and spent THREE DAYS (and nghts) roaming the new place yowling at the top of his lungs, and yup, I was pretty well fried.

The cat is happier now that I’ve got some major things unpacked and arranged. I found one of his favorite cat toys and we spent a lot of time with him sitting on my lap, being petted and admired.

I’m trying to write and release on a much more rapid pace in 2018, plus there’s the ongoing political situation, and so yes, I’d say this is a time frame where I do need to deploy any and all proven techniques for managing my stress and staying productive.

First of all, being a morning person, I eat a good breakfast. Being hungry makes me off balance and less capable.

Then I have my To Do List. I keep a big running, list, where I jot down things as they occur to me, lest they be forgotten, but then I have my prioritized shortlist for the day, which contains only the top 3-5 things that MUST be done today or all Chaos will break loose. Truly. Often I find when I actually sit down to put together the list, the formless black cloud of impending doom and anxiety I’ve been under shrinks to a tiny dustball. It usually turns out that I’ve been wildly overthinking what actually has to be done on any given day. I also break large tasks down into smaller ones, to make the effort manageable. Maybe I make the first phone call about an interview today, then tomorrow I do the followup, then the day after I write the post and so forth. There’s a lot of second tier-organization happening behind the way I work.

I devour magazines and serious news commentary. I love the back to back shows of Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow in the evening…but you know, sometimes it’s all just too much. There’s just a tidal wave of events going on in the world that frustrate me and upset me and scare me (nuclear war anyone?) and I’ve come to realize that on occasion I have to not be the most informed person on all of the breaking news and analysis. I voted, I’ll vote again, I contact my representatives when something really concerns me, I make my donations to candidates and causes I support…so it’s ok if I skip the news cycle some days and go binge watch “Making the Team”. Most of the things that happen in Washington DC, or as a result of events in DC, don’t affect me personally (although some do, of course) and neither can I wave a magic wand and do anything about them, so it’s no use for me to get all spun up.

Social media is the same – I LOVE to be on twitter and also spend a lot of time on Facebook throughout the day. But there are days I have to walk away from it, whether there’s an author kerfluffle going on, or more of the political stuff. If I don’t see the tweets and posts, they won’t create anxiety for me.

I also know when I’m done for the day and it’s time to stop pushing to get tasks crossed off the list. I sit with the cat and read, or watch TV or a movie, and relax. I know I’ll be full of energy again in the morning and ready to tackle the next day’s To Do List.

Best wishes to you for a very happy New Year!
Jake hangs out in the china cabinet during the move

1 comment:

  1. Glad you're getting some help with all those boxes. I think they DO regenerate! They scuttle off and hide too -- I just found something this week that's been missing since we moved here in 2012!!! o.O (PS - We watch Hayes and Maddow daily too, but you're totally right. Once in a while you have to turn off the news and take a short breather from the firehose of events!)