Simmer Down

I’ve had a sudden onset of migraines the past few months and while I’m working on the medical investigation part of it, I’ve had friends ask me, “could it be stress?”

I keep saying, “no, how can it be stress? I have no more stress than usual.” And that’s fairly true. When this all started, life was status quo. I didn’t have any huge money concerns (other than the usual), no big relationship issues, no big work projects dumped on me, no major crises in my family or work life….it was just my usual everyday craziness. My status quo is a little stressful, but nothing major has changed.

However, I’ve noticed that I’ve been on edge and more easily frustrated recently. I feel that I’m not so laid back lately and things are getting to be easily and quickly. And I don’t think that’s the normal me, but I could be wrong.

I feel like a frying pan. I envision a skillet filled with oil. It’s constantly on a high temperature, only taking a little teeny item to make it sizzle and spew grease everywhere.

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

I need to fix it.

I need to cool that oil down.

I’m not talking about taking a day off work to play golf or a “mental health day” to go to the spa. I’m talking about 5 minutes. Just 5-10 minutes every day. Maybe several times per day.

Three years ago, I started to get my shit together. I stumbled upon mindfulness and meditation and I shared my newfound revelations back then in this post, promising to stick with it.

A year ago, if you told me about “mindfulness” or that I would be interested in it, I’d probably laugh. I connected that term to Buddhism, Eastern religion. I thought meditation was, well, odd…Why did I feel like I needed a change? I was consistently letting the world around me control me.
• I was full of road rage because I let every single instance of driver error, ignorance or poor judgment make me angry.
• I was having a tough time focusing on anything. At work, I’d be reading one paragraph over and over again because I was too busy thinking about the stack of paper next to me.
• I was having trouble sleeping because I just had constant mind races: what I should have said to this person yesterday, what bills I’ll need to pay next week, what will I do on Tuesday if such-and-such happens, why did I let that thing happen 3 months ago, etc.
• I wasn’t able to focus on the moment when I was in it. I found myself sitting on the floor with my kids, playing games and instead of loving that moment, I was thinking about a work deadline, the jerk that ran a red light that morning, the person at work that got on my nerves that day, how I would fit in the errands I needed to do the next day…
• I would judge someone with little evidence. Maybe I caught someone in a bad moment, but when I saw someone do something “wrong” I would immediately think they were an asshole.
• I would harp on someone’s character flaw and think that was who they were as a person
• I began to think that the world was just full of jerks. That everyone was a jerk.
• I began to think that if someone didn’t agree with me, then they were wrong or stupid.
• I was losing connection with human beings.
• I was losing patience with my kids.
• I was losing control of my own thoughts and the term “inner peace” became a joke
I wanted to change this.

That was 3 years ago! I feel like I’m almost back there again. So, I looked back at another post I wrote about working moms and how we overwhelm ourselves. And then another post I wrote very recently, I even wrote about my goals for 2016.

How did I stop “practicing” the stress-reducing things I had written so passionately about no so long ago like “pausing and breathing” and following through on daily mindfulness.

So, I’m apparently very good about writing about it and making promises to myself. But I’ve let some things slip away. It’s funny how when you fall off the wagon of “practicing” anything, it seems to escape you very quickly.

I need to get back to the simmering down. I need the pause again. Sometimes, we need to catch ourselves and refocus. For my friends and my family (and most importantly, for me) I am getting back on the wagon again.

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