Stop Running Someone Else’s Race

running finish line
Image Source

Have you ever seen a little kid’s athletics carnival? It’s the best. BEST. When the littlies go running- there’s no strategy, there’s no designated lanes- it’s just run like the wind and laugh your head off at the end. They run into each other’s lanes, and don’t really pay attention to what other people are doing. They just run. Run where they like, and they have FUN.

Then somehow we forget about the fun part. We start looking at what others are doing. We are given a set lane and we stick to it, watch out if we deviate from the path. And shit gets serious. Like warming up, wearing the right shoes, doing that weird jiggly jump thing at the start of the race before you get in the start position (I’m sure it has a purpose. It just looks a little wanky, you know?).

I am super guilty of this. I’m forever looking at what others are doing, and before I know it, I’m running their race. Huffing and puffing trying to keep up, or accidentally bumping into their lane because I’m not looking at where I’m going. I don’t give up though. Because I’m insanely stubborn. To a fault. Eeep.

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What’s your fuse?

Ever had the urge to scream while simultaneously pulling your hair out and stomping your feet Hulk-style over something seemingly innocuous?

Ever wanted to throw an object really hard at a wall because you’ve just had enough of the crap. Only you’re not quite sure just how bad the crap really is?

No?  Yeah, me neither *shuffles feet awkwardly whilst looking at the ground*

 

I am loathe to admit it, but I have a short fuse. That has become even shorter with the popping of children. I’d like to think it’s as cute as this:

short fuse madagascar
Naaaw. Surely this is what a short fuse should look like right? Image source.

But it’s more like this:

short fuse monkey
This is my actual face. Image source

I have next to no patience at the best of times, but lately? There’s not even a fuse there to be lit. It could be a tiny irk, a whiny voice, a stupid question, making a decision, food…. anything really, it just rubs me up the wrong way and I get that ick. And a screech might be found to escape my mouth. Occasionally hands thrown in the air are witnessed also. Because by doing such an action, it will magically make everything change for the better, right? People stop and listen to you, shit gets done. Surely?

How short do you think your fuse is? Are you a:

Fuse Master– I am the zen of zen. Nothing really bugs me that much. I can let a lot of stuff slide. The most angry I get is a gentle shake of the head and an ‘oh deary me’ muttered under my breath.

Garden variety fuser– I’m pretty good at keeping my shit in check. I have a fuse, but it takes a bit before it is fully lit and I explode. I can explode pretty darn good, but that’s mainly reserved for A grade jerks and kids who insist on spilling the entire contents of a jar of glitter on my carpet.

How-dare-you-even-ask-me-that-question fuser- Fuse? What fuse? I wouldn’t need to worry about a short fuse if people weren’t so infuriating. And the sun wasn’t so bright. And the grass wasn’t so crunchy. And food prices weren’t so high. And kids weren’t so….kid-like. Just don’t look at me like that, ok?

short fuse meme 2
This.

My fuse and I are at odds of late. If we were a Facebook relationship, it would be ‘its’ complicated’. Hormonal, bloated and tired do not help one’s fuse. Just sayin’.  But I have realised of late my fuse was pretty damn short to begin with. And that guilt cycle? You know the one- fuse shortened=explode=eventually calm down=feel like a jerk= guilt=repeat. It’s on a constant cycle and it’s not a nice one.

Firstly let’s just be clear- take the guilt away from it all- anger isn’t a bad thing. It’s ok to feel angry!! The emotion itself isn’t a positive or a negative thing. It’s what we do with it that’s the issue. And half the time we’re aware that screaming like a banshee whilst jumping up and down isn’t actually going to change the situation. It’s good to vent and get stuff out, it’s not so good to scream and rant. So we need to channel that anger and let ourselves calm down so we can do something with it.

Did you know that chronic short fuse-it is (it’s totes a thing) can actually lead to heart disease, make you vulnerable to diabetes, insomnia and blood pressure? (see here)  So in a nutshell- short fuse ain’t cool.

Can we grow our fuse? Or are we doomed to pluck our nosehairs in frustration forever (don’t pretend you haven’t plucked a nose hair. It’s painfully addictive. And they’re there…)?

It’s a conscious decision to make grow a fuse. To not react so quickly. And a good thing to model to our kids, and partners. Because monkey see, monkey do. Grown ups included.

short fuse meme
He’s got a point….

So what do we do?

A few things:

  • Stop.Yup. Stop. Right now. Picture that big red stop sign smacking you in the head.
  • Calm down– Reeeeelax. Slow that breathing down, squeeze the tension out of your muscles.
  • Understand the emotion behind it all– Anger, and that short fuse, normally are just the surface level emotions for something else going on deeper. So a lot of the time anxiety drives anger. Worrying about being late, worrying about not getting stuff done on time etc. Anger normally represents not having your needs met. Like, the need to be listened to. ARE YOU READING THIS KIDS? Even though you can’t read yet… yes I am aware of the irony…..
  • Get a reality check– is it really that bad? Do you really need to lose your shit over it? In 5 years time will it mean a thing?
  • Sort out an alternative– what else can you do beside losing your shit? Laugh it off? Problem solve? Talk to someone? Go for a run to clear your head?

I realise that the acronym there is SCUGS. Rolls off the tongue, yes?

 

So there you go, when the fuse is short- SCUGS it. Don’t say I don’t give you anything quality.

 

How’s your fuse? Do you SCUGS it? Can you lend me a bit if you’ve got some to spare?

Sometimes it’s ok to quit…..

quitting via sxc.hu
Image source

You know how we often feel like we have to don our superhero capes, totally do everything for everyone, even at the expense of ourselves? Or maybe I’m just one of those ridiculous over-achievers. Actually, good chance of that. Well I’ve learned a very important lesson these past couple of weeks- it’s ok to quit sometimes.

Have you ever quit anything? How did it make you feel? For me, I’ve never quit out of anything before. EVAH. Even when it sucks balls, I still see things through to the end. Because. Stubborn biatch. I think we’re often raised to think that we don’t quit, and if we do quit- or switch out of something, then we’re weak, indecisive, we can’t follow through. And that reflects badly on us.

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Food and Mood…..Dude. Wellness Wednesday

food and mood dwight meme
Thanks Dwight. You’re on it.

So, for today’s Wellness Wednesday post, I’m all about the food. Mainly because I feel like an oompa loompa post-Easter. Because. Chocolate fiend and lack of self-control. But food is the shiz. Truly. It does so much for us.

Now I just need to be open from the get go. I am no dietician. I can’t go and break down food into chemical properties etc. But I do know about mood. And what impacts on mood. We psychs get trained on the physiological aspects of the body and brain and what can influence mood. And food? It’s got a big role to play.

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Top Tips When You’re in the Grind

grind meme
True dat

 

I am really beating myself up this year so far, throwing guilt around like it’s confetti. Guilt for not posting enough. Guilt for not juggling all my roles well enough. Guilt for struggling to adjust to a new routine. Guilt for being a neglectful friend, a frazzled Mum, a nutty wife. So much cray guilt. And it isn’t doing me any good. I’ve been trying to find the words to say for a while, but nothing is coming to mind. When I was lost in my own head this morning though, I was thinking about all the people I’ve seen over the years, and what I’ve taken away from them. A lot of people coming in to see me for the first time are in a bad way. Much worse than my cray guilt. Lost in their own pain/stress/sadness/worry/grief/anger/confusion. It’s messy. From there though, we work through stuff, they learn strategies, and they turn it around. Not always in a straightforward way, but we get there. Sometimes I need to get my head out of the grind and remind myself of these things. Here’s the take-home messages I’ve noticed through the years:

  • Holding onto those negative moments is nothing more than a waste of time. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t make you feel better, and it’s not fixing the problem.
  • When you’re in that dark hole, it can seem all-consuming. But the only person that can climb out of it is you. No one can make you see that until you’re ready to take it on board for yourself.
  • Sometimes things seem worse than what they actually are. And when, in those rare moments, things really do become that bad, you cope with it. Somehow, someway you do. You might not think you can, but you do.
  • Things get better. They always improve, even if a tiny bit. They may not be perfect, but they get better. You have to watch for the subtleties.
  • Shutting others out only serves to make it harder. There’s no time for pride or guilt here. Open up. Even if it’s the opposite of what you actually feel like doing.
  • Know that you have people on your team. You really do. They might get frustrated, they might get annoyed, they might not respond in exactly the manner you want them to, but they ARE there.
  • Work WITH people, not against them. The world isn’t against you, I promise. More often than not those people want what you want, for things to be working well, and for everyone to be happy and functioning.
  • Take the help when it’s offered. You know you’d do the same for someone else, so don’t be an idiot and say ‘oh no I’m fine thanks’ when you’re not.
  • You get out what you put in to life. Be that therapy, friendships, work. You need to put a bit in to get a bit out. And sometimes unfair shit happens, it does, but really, if you give up and get bitter, you’ll get even less.
  • Stuff takes time. When you’re in pain, it’s not going to go away overnight, or in one quick session.
  • Take an interest in others. Even when you’re so consumed in your own world. It can help you get out of your funk. Be honest when others ask how you are. Truly answer with what’s in your mind. And in turn, be genuine when you ask how others are feeling. Because I can guarantee others will be feeling the same way as you. And sometimes others’ are going through worse, and it makes you sit back and really think about how things are.

StopGettingin yourownWay (2)

If there was some way I could give this to future clients right as they walk in the door…..I’d probably be sacked right then and there. But really, I mean if I could just let them know these things, it could almost circumnavigate a lot of crap. But, we humans are funny things that don’t really like to take on board such tips, until we’ve gone through the crap, come out the other side and then have been able to reflect and go “ohhhh yeah. All that stuff WAS right after all…..”. Or maybe that’s just me. Because. Stubborn biatch. So there you have it. If you’re in the grind, print out the tips, stick them on your wall/ put them in your wallet/ carry them in your pocket. Because we all need a reminder from time to time.

gind barney
And we need this reminder too. All hail Barney

 

What’s your top tip when you’re stuck in the grind?