Return to Normal, Actually Try Mindfulness, Tie Up Loose Ends, & Avoid Internalizing Others’ Emotions

Return to Normal

Monday: Returning to work finally after a two weeks of being out sick, actually felt like relief rather than ‘back to the grind.’ I was eager to catch up on projects I’d had to neglect, and return emotionally to a sense of normality. Fortunately, my coworkers were happy to have me back, and my boss voiced such appreciation of me that left me stunned. I’m lucky enough to believe that the fondness for me in the office was healthy to begin with, but my reception back recalls the adage, “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and fortunately, the feeling was mutual.

Actually Try Mindfulness

Tuesday: Dealing with the all too physical manifestation of stress for the last couple weeks, I’ve started trying to actually practice mindfulness exercises I’ve read in magazines, or heard about on TED Talks. The one that I recalled the easiest today was to ask myself where I am in the moment as a practice to stay grounded. I found it most helpful while driving, or when I got too engrossed in a project that I’d begin to find myself tensing up physically in my desk chair. Whenever I found myself mentally either too engrossed in a task, or tripping over one worry and landing into another in my solitude, I would stop mid-thought, and ask myself silently the simple question, “where am I?” I’d answer something like “I’m in the car. I’m driving to rehearsal. The moon is barely visible. It’s a pale blue.” Or, “I’m at work. I’m writing an article for the E-Zine. My back aches,” and I’d stand up and stretch. The practice was very useful, in that it made me focus on my needs, and see whatever inconsequential worry I was allowing to take hold of me, in a new, removed perspective, realizing the majority of them likely wouldn’t matter in a matter of days, let alone in five years.

Tie Up Loose Ends

Wednesday: I’ve been fortunate enough to be tasked with a couple new gigs recently, One little writing gig, contributing to an author’s promotions for his published book, and starting up with a company that does HR Consulting and Training. Having been immensely busy, I needed to finish up the first project before embarking on the new. So today, happiness meant working overtime to tie up loose ends. I began at a Panera, which got increasingly crowded closer to the dinner rush– guess I’m not the type to be able to work in a cafe just yet. So, I took advantage of having rehearsal directly after, and found a quiet spot at the theatre to continue my work. I finished the project that night after rehearsal. Relieved, I was ready to start on the next.

Avoid Internalizing Others’ Emotions

Thursday: Being more prone to empathy than the average person can be a gift, but often is something I’ve had to learn to temper and minimize. I am easily affected by another person’s stress, bad mood, or anger, and with lifelong practice, I’ve improved slowly in not internalizing others as much. When I was younger, the practice applied to friends, and, lately, I’ve had to learn to do the same with my coworkers. In such a small office, the tiniest snafu is felt throughout, and the teeniest sigh of exasperation echoes. Today, I tried to become more aware of when this happens to mentally remind myself that I cannot solve other people’s problems for them , as much as I would like to, and that my own responsibilities come first, which are a weight that is already heavy enough. Rather, what is in my power is to be kind and supportive, and to help once my own duties are accomplished, which are my first priority. In analyzing this problem at work, I realized how it permeates throughout my entire life currently, including my life working with other artists in my off-time. I’m going to start applying this helpful perspective regardless of setting. I need to focus more on the health of my own inner life, which is really the only one I have any control over.