How to Stay Sane

Most of us live in a busy world. Our lives exist in-between moments of technology and sleep. If that confused some of you, let me explain. Once upon a time when you left home if someone called, they left a message and you got it when you returned. No, that wasn’t a fairytale and really happened. And while you were out, you didn’t much care about what was happening at the house. Everything waited for your return. There was a pause, a break. Now those calls follow you in the car, bathroom, grocery shopping, mountain climbing, you name the place. They interrupt any activities. And if it’s not you, that has this electronic artery, it’s likely someone around you. If not, there wouldn’t be the pre-ads to shut off cell phones in the movie theatres. Heck, my church makes an announcement before mass begins. Nowhere is sacred or off-limits. There’s not that disconnect anymore. And if there is a disconnect because you have sucky cell phone coverage, that’s what’s stressing.

People seem to have such a need to remain connected constantly. Think about it. How many times a day do you check social media? And how many social media accounts do you have? Do you regularly check to see who followed or unfollowed you? Are you distressed by not getting likes or comments on posts? How many people do know boast about the number of subscribers or internet friends they have? And what happens when the cell phone battery dies and there’s no outlet. How does one react? I admit I’m guilty. Recently, I was about two miles from home before I realized I had forgotten my cell phone. It took everything in me not to make a U-turn in the middle of the road and head back. I waited until I got to the corner. Just kidding. But seriously, it was a struggle for me to think of considering my day without my artificial heartbeat. What made it less distressing that I knew I would be gone a short time and shouldn’t need my phone for anything. And I’ll also confess that the majority of the time that I was gone and had a bit of empty time (e.g., waiting in line at the ATM or debating between bargains) I found myself reaching for my missing phone.

Even my elderly mother is addicted to her tablet. I honestly do not believe she has watched a movie or anything on television in the last three years without it in her hand. At first, it was solitaire. But somehow a slots game was loaded, and that is her vice. She doesn’t play online or for money. The ironic part is that if given a choice to go to an actual casino or play the tablet, she’d play the tablet. Or she might go and take the tablet with her. Her eyes do not divert from it. What is more ironic is when I was younger, she would pitch a fit if I didn’t give her my undivided attention when she talked to me. I rarely did that, by the way. It only was when I was invested in a movie, and it was approaching the end. My mother had a knack for interrupting with the most in sequential matters right at the climax. Like she would know I’d been waiting all week to see a movie on cable and pick that time to say I needed to get my clean clothes from the laundry room. Ugh! Now, there can be trees falling, and she won’t bulge. Seriously. A few months back, there was a severe thunderstorm. A large limb crashed into the roof, and she barely blinked. But I digress.

A popular anxiety and/or depression is having no social media content. I suppose the notion here is that a person fears missing out on something. My question is: Is that a bad thing? Must we know everything all the time? Sometimes ignorance is bliss. There is so much negativity in the world and few positive things are highlighted in the media. Consider the news. According to experts, the feel-good stories do not sell. I can’t remember the last time the lead story was one that was uplifting. Doom, gloom, and tragedy is everywhere. And on the rare occasion that a feel-good story does take center stage, it frequently is not newsworthy. A cat being rescued from a tree is great but probably not news. A community program to feed the elderly for free is (in my opinion). And with so much negative energy, do people wonder why everyone is in a bad mood or treat others so poorly? Instead of feeling anxiety from a social media respite, one should feel relief.

But in a way, I can understand a person preferring the world of the internet as opposed to dealing with real people. Some people are downright nasty individuals to deal with. I’ve had some bosses that way. Okay, so I will go off on a tangent for a moment and rant.

Some time ago, I had encountered a supervisor who was having an affair with a married director. Now while I find this distasteful, I understand that sometimes people make bad decisions and get wrapped up in situations. It is not my place to judge. However, y’all… This woman not only was having this affair, but she also flaunted for the world to see with no regard for his wife and children. Not only that, this man was one in power, and her promotions came because of how she performed on her back. She was allowed to do and say whatever she wanted to any and all other employees without repercussions. I remember remarking that a woman like her had no qualms to cut anyone’s throat to get what she wanted, and she frequently did. She consistently harassed and berated her coworkers and subordinates.

Employees had no lines to make formal complaints because her lover or her lover’s equally powerful coworkers would squash them. And she developed a legion of minions who jumped aboard to ride the promotional train. Every department where she worked, there was misery. When word got around that she would be transferring departments, employees in the new department would begin requesting transfers. The agency knowing that her transfer was a huge problem but refusing to acknowledge it, would deny those transfers. This caused employees to quit and the employees who remained to work shorthanded. The positions would be slow to be filled which meant employees worked longer and harder without compensation. This, in turn, led to more transfer requests and resignations.

What ended the reign of terror was that her lover, for whatever reason, resigned. She was no longer able to hide behind him as a protective shield. She finally began to be held responsible and resigned. Her going away party was a celebration. Many employees did not participate, but others were pretty much coerced into partaking. The expectation was to bring a dish. Normally, these types of parties had terrific food. I’m known for my spicy dips which can get pricey for the ingredients and time-consuming. For her, I made Jell-O—just two boxes and no fruit. Bye! Of course, my coworkers called me out on it. I replied by saying, “Ding dong the witch is gone.”

So, what was the point of that rant? Believe it or not, it wasn’t to vilify the supervisor. It was to illustrate how misery can find its way into one’s life and drive a person to the brink of insanity. If I could list a fraction of the havoc she created, I would have enough material for a daily soap opera. She truly was a horrid individual to have to work with, and she projected her nastiness unto the rest of the staff. If anyone mentioned her wrongdoings (either professionally or in her private life), that person was given a reprimand for gossiping, despite what being said being factual. This woman also held the belief that her authority and say-so transcended working hours and extended into a person’s private life. She honestly believed she could dictate what employees did and said off the clock. For example, if I wrote on a social media page that I dislike when people talk with their mouths full, she would assume I was speaking about a working situation when there were no names or identifying information. I at one point told her that she had a guilty conscious, over-active imagination, and an engorged ego to consider she was worthy of my time to mention her on any of my social media platforms. Well, I guess I am today, but I don’t she’s still trying to clock me. Although she still may be trolling.

For me, working with her for me wasn’t as bad as it was for some because I’m incredibly skilled at disassociating. I could be standing in front of her and completely oblivious to what venom she was spouting. At some point, she became aware of this ability of mine and grew worse. But then, she gave up once she realized it was hopeless. And if there were a winner and a loser in this entire tale, which I don’t think it is, I suppose I won since I’m still there and she isn’t. Or maybe that makes me the loser. Who knows? In any case, now that I’ve explained where I’m coming from, here are some tips as to how to maintain your sanity.

  1. Take a break. A real break. If you can’t afford a vacation, try a staycation. Whatever you do, completely unplug from the world and enjoy life technology-free. Take walks, ride bikes, go for swims, eat out at a trendy new place, catch a movie, see a play, visit an art gallery, etc.
  2. Pamper yourself. This is a continuation of the previous. Buy yourself a gift. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. It just needs to make you smile. I splurged and bought myself an eyeliner. I know what you’re thinking… oh wow, a liner. Groundbreaking. Well, for me it is. I’ve had my eye on it for a while. In my opinion, it is pricey for an eyeliner, and it’s not something I will wear every day. Although I’m sure I’ll wear it more than once, I have plans for wearing it for a special event. Reportedly, it’s good quality. For those reasons, it’s a treat myself.
  3. Break your own cycle. If you’re in a rut, get out of it by doing something different. It can be a subtle change or something. Just don’t fall off the deep end and try something like scuba diving without knowing how to swim.
  4. Always keep everything in perspective. It’s easy to have things twisted, misconstrued, or exaggerated. Overdramatizing situations is one of the fastest ways for things to go south.
  5. This very important. When badness exits your life, LET IT. So frequently people hang onto people and situations that are no good for then. They hang on with a death-grip until it’s nearly too late and impossible to rebound. In all fairness, sometimes being too close blurs objectivity and blinds a person. That can be understood. But then comes a time of eye-opening, and the person willingly shuts his/her eyes because he/she does not want to deal with reality. It thought of the pain of releasing something is so great that one allows the source of the pain to continue. That’s like feeling sick and realizing the sickness is due to have a tick attached to your leg. Instead of removing the tick, the person takes an aspirin. Well, that relief is only temporary. The source of the pain is still there and growing. The removal process also may be painful, but the road to recovery lies beyond it.
  6. In the same fashion, once something negative has left your life, close the door and bolt it. KEEP IT OUT. Don’t spend time healing and getting yourself healthy only to waste it by re-infecting yourself. Don’t let the negativity of the past creep back in. Some leopards may change their spots but not many. And dare I suspect that the ones that do weren’t real leopards from the start.
  7. Have a place of tranquility. It is good to keep this place a secret from others. This will allow you a place to escape and deescalate without being under the watchful eye of others. It may be a room in your home which is off-limits to others it may be a place like a coffee shop or beach. It does not matter where it is as long as sit is a place that allows you to regroup. And as a bonus, there’s nothing that says you can’t have more than one of these places.
  8. Have a friend who is levelheaded and trustworthy. We all need that one person who brings us back down to reality and tells us not what we want to hear but what we need to hear.
  9. Do self-time outs. Sometimes, you have to step back and count to ten, twenty, or a thousand. Frankly, I found counting to be more frustrating because I would begin to lose my place with invasive thoughts. I found listening to music worked best for me. A good friend found that working out or running worked for him. Still another friend found that cleaning something worked for her. The choice of activity does not matter as long as it is one that diverts the attention in a positive way and burns off the negative energy.
  10. There is something to be said for the power of positive thinking. Start the day by saying something good about yourself. Lists the positives in your life. Have a list of things that you want to accomplish for the day and that will make you happy.
  11. Be nice to others. This goes a long way in keeping your sanity. One will find that small acts of kindness get returned when least expected. Once I was having a frustrating week. When I returned from lunch one afternoon, my favorite candy bar was on my desk. I never found out who placed it there, but I knew it was from someone who cared. It was a message that everything would be okay and that the horrible stuff that was occurring would pass.

And that’s all I have for now since this post is getting long. I do have more tips, and if you’re interested in a part two of this topic, please let me know in the comments. Also, what are some of your tips for maintaining sanity?

Enjoy sports romance? Check out my adult romance, Defending the Net. It is the second in my hockey series and guaranteed to melt the ice. It is sold at Kindle, Apple Store, Nook, Kobo, !ndigo, Angus & Robertson, and Mondadori Store. DTN is the second in my gay sports romance novel series and guaranteed to melt the ice. Order a copy now at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.

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Life’s Roux: Wrong Doors, my steamy romantic comedy about what could go wrong on vacation, is available at Red Sage Publishing. To order, follow the link to http://bit.ly/2CtE7Ez or to Amazon at http://amzn.to/2lCQXpt.

Copies of my romance short stories, anthologies, books, and novels are available in paper, eBook, and audio on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. The links are listed on my Writing Projects page (http://bit.ly/2iDYRxU) along with descriptions of each of my stories or novels.

NEWSLETTER! Want to get the latest information and updates about my writing projects, giveaways, contests, and reveals first? Click https://genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com/newsletter/ and signup today.

Don’t forget to visit Creole Bayou. New posts are made on Wednesdays, where no Creole, Cajun, or Louisiana topic is left unscathed. Plus, get how-to self-help tips, how to writing tips, and keeping the romance alive and fresh suggestions. If you have any questions or suggestions about this post or any others, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @dolynesaidso. You also can follow me on Instagram at genevivechambleeauthor or search me on Goodreads or Amazon Authors.

Finally, take the fear out of rush/pledging. If you or anyone you know are interested in joining a college Greek life organization, check out my special series posted each Monday for everything you wanted (and didn’t want) to know about college fraternities and sororities. In these posts, you will find information about both formal and informal recruitment for both NPC and NPHC organizations. Don’t know what NPC and NPHC are? No problem. It’s all explained in this series. This series also provides loads of information for parents who are unfamiliar with the processes, what is expected of parents, and how to be supportive. Visit Sorority Bible Table of Contents to view any or all of these posts.

Coming February 2020

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