It’s one of those days: You’re sleep deprived, recovering from a cold, over-worked, having to deal with the most hated parts of your profession (What is it for you?), and you’re PMS-y (sorry men).
Sounds like melt-down,
shut down material to me.
How can you pull yourself out of the pit before
all out emotional catastrophe hits?
1. BE AWARE – Without this there is no hope. You know you are in trouble when your co-workers ask “Why are you so irritable today?” Or “What’s wrong with you?” and you are SURPRISED by the question! Take a few minutes and let yourself quiet before entering your work environment. Notice any feelings or sensations that are nipping at the edges of your consciousness. Take your noticing a step further and ask yourself questions, “Hmm, I’m feeling cranky, what’s up?” or “I’m not wanting to deal with ______ now. What is that telling me?”Look for information, not judgment. Now’s not the time to whack yourself in the head.
2. Take a time-out — you need to stop what you are doing, get off the merry-go-round, and re-assess your options. What activities can be put-off, rescheduled or deleted all together? Tone down to only the absolutely ESSENTIAL tasks while you are not at your optimal levels. For example, one Monday I had something scheduled every hour for 10 hours straight. Then PMS hit hard. I dropped ¾ of the activities and only kept the most necessary, unavoidable ones. I took time out for a “rest” in the afternoon between appointments so I could focus on the next step.
3. Use your “self-talk” arsenal. I’m an auditory learner so I take this advice very literally – I talk to myself out loud. If you don’t already use anti-catastrophizing tactics start now. These are borrowed from cognitive behavioral therapy and work wonder for changing your perspective and attitude.
a. Say the thought/feeling (i.e. “I can’t handle this! I hate this.”)
b. Question it (“Is this true?”)
c. Come up with proof for the doubt. (Well, I’ve handled this before and I can do it again.)
d. Turn the language around (I can handle this even if I do hate it!)
e. Find support to give yourself – find a lifeboat.. Ask “who or what can help me feel more capable (in control, aware, competent, etc.) in this situation?” ex: oh, so and so is an expert at this, I’ll call her and pick her brain before the meeting so I feel confident.
f. Identify the feeling behind the thought/lie (i.e. I’m scared of looking like a fool and this has me wanting to run and hide…)
g. Congratulate and reward yourself for being PRO-Active and not giving in to the mood gremlins that thrive on your stress.
Some healthy ways to reward yourself:
Cancel a meeting and go for a 20 minute walk on the beach with your shoes off. Feel the sand shifting along with your stress.
Call a friend you miss and have a 15 minute catch-up girl chat. Laugh a lot.
Exchange funny tweets!
Go get a spa treatment
Walk to your favorite “juice” spot and have a yummy smoothie, while standing in the sun for a few minutes.
Run home and play with your cat or your dog on your lunch break.
You’ve got the idea. Recover your smile and realize you successfully avoided over-reaction melt-down mode.
To increase your arsenal of tools to draw upon next time try incorporating some of the following into your life on a regular basis:
• Reflective journaling • Work with a life coach • Exercise regularly • Take up yoga or meditation • Prayer • Surround yourself with funny friends • Start a nurturing hobby like gardening, knitting, marathon racing, or bird-house building! • Express joy and gratitude daily • Join a supportive group situation where you can be vulnerable and safe. This could be an actual support group, an affiliation group, a church small group. Explore your options. Living intentionally in community, although challenging, is well worth the rewards.
What do you choose as your escape pressure valve? How many ideas have you tried? Tell me what has worked for you in the comments.