I hope you haven’t gotten bored with the posts on my blog just yet, but I feel that these past couple of weeks posts have been quite simple in nature. They have all been very spur of the moment and the reason has been that I simply have been so busy. Today will hopefully be the last super busy day as grading will be over for a while to come and I will be going back to my regular routine which should allow for hopefully more thoughtful blog posts. I have tons of ideas written down, but since I haven’t had any real time to take pictures none of them have come to fruition. When I get busy I simply have no room in my brain for creativity and I’m left with my routine posts of NOTWs, SOTDs and my lookbook posts as they are fairly quick and easy for me to put up.
With that said though, I thought that it would be interesting to tell you what it is that keeps me going when I’m going through these busy spells where I’m simply rushing around, feeling like I’m hardly ever home and I can easily stress out. I already wrote a post about how I stay focused and how I relax over a year ago, so I suggest you read those first to get the full picture.
The first thing I try to do is take good care of myself and treat myself more often. It means I have a bit more caramel hot chocolates than I probably should be. But it also means that I have chosen this time to go see my physio therapist to take care of some (literal) kinks in my back. It’s always a tell tale sign for me when my upper back and shoulder muscles jam up again, so better take care of it now than drag myself through tiring and straining times with tense muscles.
Another thing I try to do is do fun things. I went to see Bon Iver on November 6th at Heineken Music Hall, went to an Impressionist/ Vincent Van Gogh exhitibition at the Hermitage with some friends on Sunday, watched some movies and cooked food that is nutritious and satisfying. Not only does cooking help me relax, but it also makes the food worthwhile and I enjoy it a lot more.
I also dress up more than usual. I wore the massive pair of heels (featured in this blog post) to work for the first time and all my students noticed and loved it. It instantly gives me a boost of confidence, which in stressful times really really helps. I also tend to try out new make up and fashion looks, changing up my products/ clothes more often than usual. By pushing myself to try out new things and seeing that it works I again lift my own spirits.
One of the most important things I do is: I get work done. When I’m stressed out I tend to become even more organized than I usually am (because I know I become more forgetful when I’m stressed). I find that when I keep more lists it allows me to stay focused on the tasks that make life more stressful but it also visualizes what still has to be done. I can terribly enjoy crossing off items of my lists/ throwing out my post it notes and seeing that the end is near. So I may have stayed 30 minutes late on Wednesday afternoon to put some grades into the system, but that does finalize not 1, but 5 exams that I graded, meaning I was halfway through my pile.
Apart from all the above, I also try to take joy in the little things, even if they seem negative at first. I was bummed when my bike had a flat tire on Tuesday morning when I was going to my physio appointment. I immediately took it to a bike repair shop and it cost a fair amount of money to get it fixed, but for two days I had no other option but to go by foot and I started noticing all these things on my regular routes that I usually don’t even see. I found myself noticing some of the amazing store fronts that have been set up, the prettiness of the buildings here in Leiden, the way the light changes and moreover: that walking helps me relax!
Especially the last point I mentioned helps me tremendously. I simply try to put a positive spin on things. For instance: I notice how, after only one session at my physio therapist, my shoulders already feel so much better. I notice how my dance teacher has picked the perfect routine to underscore my mood (to a poem by Maya Angelou called Phenomenal Woman). I notice how my shuffle plays exactly those songs which put an extra stride in my step. I notice how much comfort I take in the delicious hot chocolate we have at work. I notice how my students are motivated and ready for another term.
In other words: I try to make each day count, more so than I normally do. And then I wonder: why on earth am I so stressed out? I have so much going for me. And then that little ray of light starts appearing on the horizon again and I know everything will just be okay. I just got to keep on trucking. 🙂
How do you deal?