This week I've had a few ups and downs having to do with the usual end-of-semester stuff. I'm not even a student anymore, but since most of my freelance work is for college and graduate students, I'm still very much in tune with the academic year and how that affects performance cycles. You'd think that 7 (!) years out of finishing my doctorate I'd have separated myself from the insecurities and self-esteem issues that come with being a student, but there are some things I think I'll never shake. I'm a grown up, I'm a parent, I even have a real job with an actual employer (though it's only part time and pays a pittance, literally) and I like to think I have a healthy perspective and balance in my life... and yet there are days the littlest, most trivial things make me lose confidence. Today was one of those days. At least by this point I know this has more to do with my state of mind than my actual abilities, but I felt off my game and it was discouraging.
Now I need to feel better! I don't yet, but I'm working on it. Here are a few things that help me when I'm feeling down or discouraged or tense. Or sniffly (as in the case of #1).
- While I don't ordinarily have much of a problem with seasonal allergies, the last couple years I've had a problem with what I suspect is oak pollen. For about a week in the spring I'll sneeze uncontrollably and I think my face might turn inside out from all the itching in my mouth and eyes and cheeks. It hasn't hit hard yet this year, but for the past two weeks I've been waking up with a raspy throat and dry eyes. Hydrating with mere H2O is fine, but honey-lemon water is even better! And it's exactly what it sounds like; I heat a cup of water in the microwave, then stir in some lemon juice and honey. It soothes my throat and is a nice way to wake up in the morning before everyone else is up and at 'em.
2. Thirty Day of Yoga on youtube. OK, I'll have to admit I've only done Day One, but I'm going to go ahead and recommend it anyway. I've been wanting to take a yoga class for years, but carving out a couple hours every week on a regular basis with family needs and my volatile freelancing schedule just hasn't been possible. A singer friend of mine has the same problem, and then she found this series on youtube and invited me to do the first one with her last evening after rehearsal. Man, it was great. The stretching, the focus, the Intentionality, if you will, is just what I need.
3. A full night's sleep. All kinds of studies show that sufficient sleep has a hugely positive impact on your immune system and mental health. Of course, this is easier said than done, given the crazy sleep cycles of my 7yo daughter, who as often as not wakes up in the middle of the night needing comfort and cuddles. Also, I don't usually sleep much past sunrise, which is before 6am these days. Still, I find that if I properly wind down with no screens at least a half hour before I go to bed and get a decent night's rest, it makes such a huge difference the next day. If I'm reasonably well-rested, I stand a much better chance of facing whatever daily challenges lie ahead than if I'm cranky and tired and relying on extra cups of coffee to keep me going. This is especially true now that I'm past the age of 35, I might add!
What about you? What do you need to feel better?