Tuesday, February 24, 2009

//Monday... why did it have to be Monday?

Just when I started to like it, something happened on Monday that caused me to loathe it all over again.

° It really began when I forgot to add coffee to Darth Maker, a variation on a theme of never ending java-related goofs in my life.
Yesterday was one of those rare days when I actually needed caffeine to keep my eyelids open, as opposed to my normal reason for drinking caffeinated beverages (that being I'm an addict who refuses to suffer through withdrawal symptoms). Had this been one of those days, I would have merely started the coffee making process over. No biggie. But an ongoing project at work necessitated that I go into the office early on Monday, which meant getting up earlier as well; or in my case, staying concealed in the warm, womb-like comfort of my bed for the longest possible time. The consequence of this decision is that I hurried through my normal routine, which likely caused the java goof, and also meant that I didn't discover that my to-go coffee cup was filled within nothing but hot water until I was only 5 minutes from work. So not only was I coffee-less, I was also, for lack of a better term, a zombie until I hit up the nearby Starbucks. All this and it was Monday.

° Then before 1:00 P.M., the Dow dropped to levels not seen since 1997.
It appears that the stock market always dips while I'm in the office... how interesting. Could it be that my working is causing the current economic crisis?!? Clearly the only way for me to prove whether this correlation is positive or negative is for me to go on vacation. Possibly to Hawaii. It's for the good of the country. I'm just looking out for everyone. Really, I promise.

° News that several hundred more people were going to lose their jobs at various companies around the city made for a sobering afternoon.

° The combined frustration from the many little glitches, oopses and oh noes that occurred earlier in the day made me want to bake. While scarfing down a Power Bar during my brief lunch break, I came up with a new take on s'mores cookies that looked good on paper. Fast forward several hours: It was bold, brilliant... and a complete mess!

Given the choice between repeating a process that's been practiced several times over, or trying a new method just once to see if you can improve upon an old idea, I would choose the latter (ain't it obvious?). Of course, context is important here. I wasn't trying to revolutionize the way we perform bypass surgery; I was baking on a whim. I wanted to make s'mores cookies, but the complex process I created resulted in fewer cookies and more goop. Sometimes my futzer tendencies pay off, and sometimes they don't. (I can already hear my boyfriend saying "Mmmm hmmm.") So I cleaned up and reminded myself that if the above results were the norm and not the exception, I probably would have chosen a different hobby a long time ago.

Pity party over.


Monday was by no means craptacular, but it was off just enough to necessitate some correction. By which I mean, some self-care was called for. Having gone through a graduate program in psychology and completed a 2 year clinical practicum, self-care and I are no strangers: It's lectured about in addition to, alongside with, and sometimes more often than a lot of the topics that get brought up in class. In fact, not practicing adequate self-care as a therapist is considered to be unethical in some circles. Understandably so, as a therapist can't be a very effective listener if they themselves are coming apart at the seams.

But mental health practitioners aren't the only individuals who need to honor themselves; we all do. No matter the profession, it's important to have designated "me time" on occasion. When I was an art history major in undergrad, I managed to let an entire semester slip by before it dawned on me that I hadn't rewarded myself for taking on as much as I had, academic-wise, work-wise, and overall life-wise. The was the day when Muffin Day was born. From then on I promised to treat myself better and indulge every so often.

So what do I do when I need a time out? Oh, any number of things. I try not to have an established routine when it comes to self-care, because then it starts to feel more methodical and planned, like a chore almost, instead of spontaneous and fun. As we all continue to have suboptimal days, and as we all continue to try and muddle through them, I hope you'll care for yourself when you need to the most. Detailed below are the easiest ways I'm able perk myself up.

° I might go run 6 miles. I'm a recovering asthmatic who's been running long distances for 4 years now. Nothing brightens my spirits faster than remembering the days when I could scarcely run at all and then comparing those memories to today.

° I might write a letter to my Gama so she can know about my most recent shenanigans. Long letters, short letters. Half the fun is picking out the card stock.

° Sometimes it's necessary to put down the spatula, turn off the oven, and let someone else do the cooking for you. It may not be Masu Sushi, but Kabuki does sell unagi and tuna bacon (a.k.a. toro). And really, you can't help but smile when you say "unagi!" really quickly.

° I might surround myself with beautiful things (loved ones, friends, art, scenery). This is Tim the basil plant, and I acquired him on Sunday.

° In all likelihood, I will put on one of the 300 CDs in my possession and either relax, or dance around in my living room.

° And yes, sometimes baking is more about self-care than it is experimentation. Last night, however, was not. Nope. Definitely not self-care.

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