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Small Feelings in a Big World.

I don't intend for everything I write here to be emotionally intense. I generally do and feel all things with the intensity of a star dying trying to make one last hurrah before it becomes a black hole of doom. Because that's what I am when I'm experiencing a depression swell, a soul sucking vacuum of anti-joy, and I'm not proud of it.

On the flip side of that, when my disposition is positive, I'm relentlessly cheerful and optimistic. (Which some would say is the far more unpleasant between the two.)

While all my feelings are big, and more than enough people have said, "you're a lot...", I still like myself well enough that I've learned to embrace that I'm a high key kinda girl. But there's always room for improvement, and learning to be in the middle sometimes is one of the things I'm working on.

I think part of the reason I struggle so much with energy fatigue is because none of my feelings are small ones. The balance of what deserves the high levels of energy and what doesn't is way off.

This is not to say that I'm ever going to try and turn down the dial on small joys. Small joys are one of the blessings of living; that smell of funnel cakes at the fair, the way soup cans stack beautifully like Legos so you can build soup forts, and how hugs with the right people never lose their magic powers. These are moments I want to feel intensely.

But being emotionally distraught because I need to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle the night? Yeah, maybe not worth the level of indecision and anxiety I give it. (But the blanket burrito is so nice and took forever to get just perfect 😭)

So I'm working on it.

I'm working on accepting that most of life's moments are going to be a lot of "meh," "hmm", "cool cool", and that's perfectly normal, and absolutely healthy.

Living like you're dying is EXHAUSTING. No wonder those people die so fast. Because they are TIRED and living YOLO all the time will have you doing dumb things like bungee jumping just to face your fear of heights. (Though still cheaper than therapy!!) I know. I'm that bungee jumping idiot, and boy am I fucking tired.

So the middle it is.

(Queue Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle.)

Ok, so maybe Jimmy Eat World isn't the solution. But living more presently is, listening and RESPONDING to your body and your mood, not fighting your feelings and knowing that being neutral is actually a sign of being okay.

One of the places I've practiced this and seen big progress from small change is in my work day. I didn't used to know the meaning of work life balance. On a surface level I knew it was important, but it always felt like something I couldn't afford. And in a way, a lot of us still can't.. not to the extent we need and deserve. But even small changes matter.

I started taking my work breaks and lunch for real. I leave my computer, and I do a body check. How am I feeling? Am I hungry? Tired? Does my body hurt? And if those boxes are sustainable, then I move on to my brain. I ask myself, am I overwhelmed? Would I benefit from fresh air? Do I need to talk to someone to get out of a particular headspace?

Answering these questions directs how I spend my breaks and lunches. I don't make plans for what chores or errands I'm going to do on my rest time anymore. I prioritize the rest. It is a break from work, but also a temporarily quiet moment from life.

My first break today, I recognized that I needed extra meds to deal with pain, and then I laid down in dark and silence for 10 minutes in order to calm my body.

By lunch, I was feeling some improvement. So I spent my lunch break outside, looking at flowers and laying on the trampoline listening to Def Leppard. I was so inspired by this that I picked a handful of dandelions to use for tea later, then took a couple of the stems to make myself a pretty little green bracelet.

And just before going in, I made a sincere wish and blew the head off a dandelion right off. In my glee, I inhaled some of the buggers but that's fine. That's less I need to put in tea later!

My afternoon break came around, and I ate a few bites of ice cream. My kids weren't home, and it was an opportunity to unhide my pint of vanilla bean from behind the frozen broccoli. The cold treat woke me up a little, and the ice cream endorphins made me smile.

And I explained all of this as evidence that the focus on truly listening to what you need, responding appropriately, and prioritizing rest (no matter how small the dose), works!

At the end of my shift, I don't feel like crying as I always used to. I have just enough mental and physical energy left in this day that I can do a little more than the bare minimum tonight. Which in a lifetime of always scraping the bottom of the energy barrel, feels like a huge win.

Hell, if I keep this up, I might even be able to run and swim again someday!

The small things matter. The first steps are the biggest steps you'll take. And so do the small feelings matter, because without them giving you breaks from the hard stuff, we'd never have the energy to be present for the good stuff!

Take care, friends. Go forth and be mighty in your smallness. ❤️

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