Sunday, November 20, 2022

When the Struggle Bus is Over Capacity

 This week has been long. I think most of the previous weeks in 2022 have been as well. The air feels thick with stress, tension and low level anxiety everywhere I go. From stores to office buildings all the way into our homes, the world as a collective whole has felt tense to me this last year. I mean, truthfully it's felt this way since 2019. Tensions built and pulled back the last two years causing most of us to become accustomed to at least a low level of stress buzzing from our environments at all times, which has led many people to experience burnout. There's simply too many conflicts co-occuring in our lives at once on a constant basis. We can't address them all. There's no space to relax and regroup before the next. Some people do perform better when challenged by a stressful situation, when the event is singular in nature. Having to meet a deadline or having to rise up and out of comfort zones can be stimulating for us, leading to creative solutions. Our brains get a surge of adrenaline. The issue is when the challenges keep coming at a rate to where rest isn't possible, or the problems are not solvable. Maybe they aren't even unique, new or huge, but they're always there, hanging in the background, breathing on the backs of our necks, nagging. This constant state of low level stress ends up feeling like a gray cloud that hangs over us making the air around us constantly thick with a tinge of oppression and anxiety. It's difficult to keep a healthy perspective on life when our daily environment feels this way. We feel exhausted, defensive and agitated. Human nature dictates that we save our small amount of resources for ourselves and our families. People guard their time, money and energy fiercely under these conditions. We find ourselves unusually snappy at others and others to us, thus the cycle gets stronger. Burnout is ugly and uncomfortable. It also feels very personal. I shortens our vision, making us feel like we're the only ones suffering, or even perhaps, that others are the cause of our current blah state. We feel victimized and look for the perpetrator. That all too frequently ends up being anyone who hits us the wrong way, in the wrong moment, causing a backlash from us.


Most of the articles written about issues such as this have this nice list at the bottom of things we can do to alleviate the problem. I wish I knew. I don't think there is a singular solution to this complex, worldwide tense state we seem to be experiencing. Between war and a global recession, we are all suffering. The only advice I have is to remember that. We are all struggling right now. Emotions are high and energy is low for everyone. Be kind. Remember we're all human, so practice empathy and compassion when dealing with others. Literally, those things are a skill. The more you practice, the better youll get, and the better you get, the more positively you can affect the world around you, leading to more of the same. We're all in this together.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Sensing Fall

These are my favorite days. The sky is a clear light blue and the days are still warm, bordering on hot, but mornings leave you needing a jacket. Early fall feels full of change. Reminiscent of school days, maybe. Things feel new. The air is light and the trees are beginning to change color. 

I have experienced this change of seasons 43 times now, yet somehow each time feels new. Every year from September through to November, I feel in awe of the seasonal change of fall. Unlike winter and summer, which their arrival never feels pronounced, fall and spring is always short, but beautiful in color and weather. 

I definitely don't live in an area known for beautiful landscapes or pleasant weather. However, I think its important to find something interesting, something positive and something worthwhile in every day, in every environment. 

There is so much stress, illness and unknowns occurring in my family's life currently. There is no denying this as a fact. Still, i try to take tiny moments in my day to search for those things I mentioned above. My brain stores much of my life experiences as sensory information, so its relatively easy for me to feel a calm moment just by experiencing something in my environment that reminds me of calm/happy moments of the past. The smell of cut grass, blooming flowers, newly fallen snow, leaves crunching underfoot... these are all examples of things that bring me peace, joy and moments of calmness in an otherwise chaotic world.

What kinds of things trigger peaceful feelings for you?