Saturday, March 28, 2015

Relish the Highs, Respect the Lows

I've stopped trying to fool myself.

I mean that in many ways, but let's just stick to this one thing for now:

Planning a day to the hour rarely works for me, and if anything, that type of planning just ends up being another procrastination medium. The worst kind: a kind that both gives the illusion of productivity and puts more things onto future-me's plate, which, as you probably guessed.. happens to be just me when I wake up in the morning.

So I'm trying another approach. One that doesn't neglect an idea that has been gaining momentum lately, and one I've known to be true: managing one's energy is more efficient than just managing one's time. One that takes into account the natural ebb and flow of energy that is unique to how a person is as an individual, and is therefore easier to follow, and as a result, less discouraging.

To relish the highs, and to respect the lows.

Relish the Highs

This first part is a bit hard for me to do because I've been used to a really slow-paced lifestyle. It basically means: Make the most out of times where you feel like doing something, when you feel inspired, motivated, and energetic. I'm the type of person who tends to over-think everything, so instead of taking advantage of energy jolts, I tend to use it to micromanage every single detail, and it ends up depleting me before I even get to the meat of the activity! Relishing the highs, for me, means to just GET TO IT, don't think too much, make the most out of the limited resources if they are available right now. You can always keep things as a draft, and edit later.

It also means to schedule creating during times where the particular type of energy or focus needed for the task is available. A few months ago, I tried to evaluate my different kinds of energy and focus levels at different times of the day. When am I likely to find it easy to focus on creative tasks like writing or drawing? On repetitive, passive tasks like games, chores, and coloring? I figured it out, but what I failed to do was to "show up", sit myself down, and actually make something during those times. It's partly due to my schedule, but it's mostly because I tend to work in circles and keep saving things for later because I have this character flaw where I can't start if I don't have all the things-to-know down! (And even when I do, I usually become too tired to start right then after planning so much, then I save it for tomorrow, then tomorrow I'm not in the mood anymore! Woohoo!) I'm sure there's wiggle-room there that I neglected. So I'm going to have to start really going at that now.

Respect the Lows

At the same time, there are times of the day, or even unpredictable, random moments where I just can't be bothered to do much. Or I can't do a particular kind of task well. They're not impossible, but they will take a lot more effort and need more time-consuming revising because they were done with a hazy mental state.

During these times where forcing myself would just be inefficient, I try to take care of myself, or to do other kinds of things more compatible to my current disposition. This part is getting easier for me to do. That seems like it is to be expected since I'm a lazy potato and all, but actually, even while I am being very relaxed and slow-paced, I'm mentally not really at rest. I usually am ridden with guilt and anxiety (just ask my boyfriend!). But I've started to learn to forgive myself. And when I tell myself "It's okay, just try again later." I'm more likely to get back up and try again, rather than when I get really mean and annoyingly insistent towards myself.

Sometimes I just have to give myself space. And before you write that off as me just having an undiagnosed Multiple Personality Disorder, think about how much time you spend alone. Do you stop thinking about anything at all when there's no one to talk to? Of course you don't. And every thought you have inside is a conversation with yourself. The way you think about things, and the way you think about yourself has the power to encourage you to keep going, or to make you feel so bad that you give up. That last one still happens to me a lot, so I'm not here to say I've got it all figured out. Rather, I just want to remind myself, and in turn whoever reads this, that we have to be kinder to ourselves! We shouldn't talk so much shit about ourselves to ourselves that we start to believe it!

These kinds of slow times (or even days) are a good time to do the things that people forget about when they're too busy. People tend to forget to do the simple things that are quite important, like rest, drinking water, managing anxiety, or sleep. It's nice to be able to be in tune with yourself, and try to use the naturally slow and steady moods you have to do slow and steady (but still important) tasks like these.

I know these things might not apply the same way to most people, because most people don't really have their own time in their hands. But even in a rigorous scheduled setting, one can find pockets of time that they can control. If you're feeling low during a busy day, it's good to take a breather every now and then, and to see if there are other tasks that are better suited to your current state that you'd otherwise just neglect but would make your life healthier or make your work easier.

In the end, it's all about staying connected and in tune with ourselves as much as we can. Change must come from a place of self-awareness. Nobody ever got anywhere coming from somewhere they've never even been. (Let that sink in for a bit. I needed a moment when I wrote it down, too, haha.) You have to meet yourself where you are right now and work your way to where you want to be from there.

How can you say you really love someone when you don't even take the time to know them? Don't worry, I didn't get derailed there. I just want to point out that this is how self-love works, too.

You have to know yourself to be able to say you love yourself.

You have to know when you're up, and when you're down to know what you can put yourself through. We do it for our loved ones all the time. We won't nag someone we love for putting a wet towel on the bed when we know they've had a bad day. At least, not if we really want things to be okay. Why shouldn't we be that graceful to ourselves too?

Take care of yourself. Relish your highs, and respect your lows.

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