Emotion.

Today was one of those days where I had heaps of energy early in the day. I was extremely enthusiastic as the day started ready to work with any client that came my way without fear. As we all have experienced that energy can drain out after some time as we interact with others in stressful situations and find ourselves becoming drained of energy mentally and physically exhausted from our efforts. The day started on a high energy output then dipped to a low for the last half where I found myself struggling to want to interact with my clientele.

I work with sellers on an e-commerce platform taking their calls and seeking the solutions to their troubles. Their troubles at times can be surface level troubleshooting which can be fixed in a few words or clicks. Other times the conversations are heavy and involve the stress of money, time, and relationships between business and customer or partners. When people call in no matter how big or small their troubles might be I’m there to listen, empathize, and resolve what we can together.  

It’s an interesting thing to listen to the stress and misunderstandings of others while trying to be of service to them and remain cheerful in challenging times they are experiencing. Working a customer facing job has taught me many things about the way that we communicate and how much energy effective communication actually takes day after day. We often times avoid communicating effectively due to the effort it takes and the patience it takes while speaking, listening, and continuing the process.

Today started out on a really positive high note for me and was dwindled down to a lower positive note at the end of the day because of all the emotion I absorbed throughout the day. I can’t complain though, it was a great day to have a good day.

Realization.

What I was having a hard time admitting was that I was burned out. Nothing was making sense because I couldn’t grasp what was happening around me, I had fallen into a autopilot mode and was just doing the bare minimum to get by each day. Once I was able to come to the realization of what was happening to me it broke me down a little more than I already was and then allowed me to begin to pick myself up and retake control of myself and my surroundings.

Yesterday I talked about walking the dog and just listening to nature around me and taking a little time to read something every day. Those are two big parts of what has helped me regain some sense of control of my life. The following are two more things that helped me stand a little more confidently and are still helping me today; Eating less sugar, and exercising more gratitude.

I’m not here to tell you how to eat, I here to tell you about what I was eating too much of and too little of. I am the type of person who can pick up a group sized bag of chocolates and eat the whole thing by myself in one sitting. I have a sweet tooth that loves to be fed and all too often I just feed it without thought or care of how I will feel afterward. I have known this for a long time and it hasn’t bothered me because I feel that I live a fairly active life and don’t carry too much excess weight on my bones.

This past month I started using sweets and treats as they ought to be used as a way to treat one’s self once in a while. It was a struggle for me as I mentioned before because I am a sweet eater and indulge a little too often historically. I started taking better snacks with me to work like cheese, fruits and various nuts to snack on instead of sugary treats. I also limited my soda intake to one can a day and that can be after work when I made it home to relax. It made a huge difference in my daily attitude and helped me be a little less cloudy than I was before.

I believe I mentioned this before in a few different posts but this is one that really rings with me and has helped me see life in a better light, expressing gratitude more often. Yes, I have always tried to express gratitude each day but I wasn’t expressing gratitude to the right people nor seeing gratitude in the little things around me. I was grateful for having a place to work, owning a house, a car, and a family but I wasn’t able to express that gratitude directly to the little things that really mattered.

I started saying thank you to my spouse more often for the little things she did, I started looking more at the good things that I had worked toward in my life such as my car and home ownership. I started admitting that I was avoiding seeing the good things in my life and swelling on the holes and how much more I needed to be happy. I personally don’t think that I need material possessions to be happy, but I was starting to think those were the only things I needed to be so. You can be happy with very little should you choose to be grateful for the life you have and the opportunities that have come and are coming your way.

As I stated before I’m not saying the things I’ve mentioned above are guaranteed to make you happier than you already are or will pull you out of a funk or burned out stage of life. What I have mentioned above has helped me live with fewer clouds in my head each day. They were part of the tools I personally used to be a little happier than I was yesterday.

Escape.

Have you ever needed a little time to escape? To have peace and quiet, just to disconnect from the world around you and just hear nature? As I mentioned last night I needed that time and space just to reset and breathe. It’s never easy to admit that we might be experiencing a little burnout, that has led to us being a little down for a period of time. I took the past month to escape a little and these are a few things I used to escape.

Reading has always been something I have tried to enjoy and use as an escape. I used a little time each day last month to read a few books, my favorite being “How to Bullsh*t Your Way to Number 1: An Unorthodox Guide To 21st Century Success from the World’s #1 Fake Restaurateur and Paris Fashion Week’s #1 Fake Designer” by Oobah Butler. I have watched his videos online and felt I related to his style and sense of humor. His book was an easy read that helped me better understand how to stop bullsh*tting myself and to start being better at committing to ideas and finding success.

There are indeed times when I have thought that I have great ideas that are destined for success that have fallen flat on their faces because I let the doubts of others around me hold me back. That was something that had been grinding me down over the past months was the voices of others who didn’t see the whole vision I had and believed in. I let their doubts drown out my belief that things would go well on stormy seas.

Walking my dog without headphones in my ears sounds like a silly thing. I don’t really want to get to know my neighbors after all (wink, wink), nor do I want to hear the sounds of birds, horses, cows, and sheep. Just kidding, I love hearing all of those things along with the simple interactions with my neighbors. It’s just easy to plug in and be distant. This past month I just took my headphones out while e walked the dog and that changed things up, I was more connected to real life and all the goodness that is always surrounding me.

It really helped me out with feeling better about my day to day life, disconnect from the digital and live more in the physical. Living here and now can often be a great escape for some and indeed it has been a great escape for me. So take some time and read a book, any book will do. Take the chance on walking without your headphones in your ears and just listen to the present around you and soak up the big moments of today.

Month.

A month is a long time for some and a short time to others. Plenty can happen in a month, you could train and run a marathon in a month, you could write a book, improve your health, take a trip to a few new places, or focus on something with all of your focus. That is what I did last month, I spent some time focused on improving my mental health, I was in a rut and it was a challenge to get out of. I felt awful and uninspired, I felt weak in everything I did and withdrew myself from some of my greatest friendships.

It’s hard to struggle and not always understand why. It is a puzzle to me why I withdrew from my friends and felt the desire to keep to myself. I never know when this is going to happen either, the world suddenly feels heavy and I feel like Atlas holding the weight of the world on my shoulders. Is this something I want? No, but its something I must work through when it happens and move forward from those moments of deep doubt and weight.

Last month after mothers day I took a break from writing every day and decided to look inward and reflect to see how I was feeling, how I could find personal clarity, and how I could be in a better mental state. It was not easy to look inward as I did, writing down lists of negative self-thoughts and a few positive ones. It made me extremely sad to see how poorly I looked at myself when I know that I have heaps more to offer than I thought I did during those moments. I knew that I wasn’t feeling up to par with being my happier self, but that I could work my way through and out of the rut I had found myself in.

If you or anyone you know seems a little off from their usual self don’t be afraid to ask them how they are doing, see if they need an ear to vent to, or just need someone to sit with them in silence until they are ready to talk. Try and be there for them and make sure they know that you are willing to be there when they need. This seems like common sense friendship but it isn’t. It’s something that shows you are a friend with a deeper understanding of the feelings and needs of others.

To my friends who stood beside me through these challenging times, I say thank you. Thank you for listening when I needed, sending memes out of the blue that raised a smile on my face, and laughing with me when I needed a good laugh. Friendship is a beautiful thing isn’t it?

Cooking.

Netflix has opened a world of easy access to cooking inspiration combined with the wanderlust we all crave. I recently started a new cooking series called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat where the very first episode you are welcomed into olive orchards, peoples farms and homes then walked through the process of constructing mouth-watering delights. Not only are you watching masters at work preparing food you are hearing the host speak Italian and traversing through cities with locals.

It’s a real inspiration to travel looking for more opportunities to explore local foods, cook local cuisine, and interact with the people in a more personal manner. Often we spend so much time speeding through checklists of famous landmarks that we hope to see that we fail to connect with the place and people we are surrounded by. From my own personal travel experiences, I can say that too often I fail to follow the footsteps on my travel heroes. I fail to take a moment to squeeze out the real local vibes and too much time squeezing out the travel checklist and Instagram worthy captures.

More of us could benefit from looking around the places we travel as if we were locals. Interacting more organically with others might allow us to make new friends and see more unique sights others may not see because they are following a well-paved path. I’ve learned that there are the little things you miss out on if you are going too many places too fast as you hurry from one destination to the next. I recommend when you visit a place that you find a place or two to converse with the locals, see where they go, see the places they think are beautiful, and where they eat most, then go and see those places.

Just like all the different travel/cooking films you can find on Netflix or other streaming services take your time and experience the moments, conversations, and sights one day at a time, with eyes looking to experience a place as a local might.