The end of last week was tough, for a couple of reasons. It was awesome starting on such a high by (re)starting #100happydays, spending some time thinking about positivity, and of course, the beautiful weather. Positivity breeds positivity. But life does throw a wrench in that sometimes, as it does. By the end of the week, a reality check/moment of panic made me realize how far behind I was in preparations for dance marathon.
We’re just one committee, but Publicity has to churn out so much material it feels like spinning plates. And those materials are on deadlines. Each plate needs a regular spin, and they were starting to wobble. I found myself frantically designing a lot of things (post cards, cover photos, campaign graphics, a flyer) at the end of last week and getting caught up on email chains that were screaming for attention. At this point in the year I should be used to the routine. Take some time to focus on school; rush to get caught up on UNC-DM. And this was a week I had already cut back on internship hours, knowing that this one would be busier than usual with the approaching marathon, but there just wasn’t enough time in the world. Compound that with some other bumps in the road, and I was definitely feeling a slew of “un” emotions by last Friday.
Fast forward a couple days, a couple good meals, and some great family time (happy birthday again, Mom!), I’m back to my normal self. Like I said in my earlier posts, the highs aren’t as sweet without bitter lows. The rest of this weekend was definitely a high, and I don’t think I would feel as victorious (take that, weekend! I won!) as I do now if I hadn’t felt so frustrated earlier.
My sister and I finally booked our tickets to Europe this summer! We’ll be flying in and out of Dublin and visiting 8-10 countries in between, just the two of us. It’s something we’ve wanted to do forever, and somehow the scheduling angels made it actually possible between our two busy lives. I was able to go home for a bit this weekend and celebrate my mom’s birthday for the second time— this time with my sister home since her spring break just started. My family usually isn’t very good at celebrations. Think buying a tree December 22nd because oops we forgot about Christmas. So celebrating all together was quite an accomplishment, I’d say. Friday I got to chat on the phone with a friend who I’ve missed so much, and she had so much good advice for me. I told her all of my stresses, and as one of the few people who had already been in my position, she had all the right things I needed to hear. It’s amazing how one conversation can really turn around your day. Saturday was a huge work day, and that night I got to catch up with some friends from Camp Kesem. It was so nice to switch gears for a bit and not look at a screen, but also to spend time with people I hadn’t seen in a while. One of the things we talked about is (wow this conversation is out of context but it works) how counselors from Kesem basically all come with the rubber stamp of approval: this is a good person. An organization like Kesem attracts the best kind of people— caring, friendly, giving, supportive, etc. It was so, so good to be around them again and go back to that feeling of community from right after camp. They’re the kind of people you just genuinely enjoy being around.
I didn’t realize I was out of my funk until some time after it ended, but as soon as I realized it, I realized how many other great things were happening. It’s something the book Emotional Intelligence talks about— being aware of your own emotions is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Only then can you build on that and learn to regulate them, then understand other people and build relationships. I knew I was unhappy and I knew I had to do something to fix it. So I actively changed my routine— took a break from the source of the distress, got some advice, spent some time with my family and hung out with some great people. And here I am, good as new! Now I’m seeing all of the wonderful little things again, just like positive psychology said I would.
My current joys:
- Finding a seriously great Songza playlist. I actually found two I’m loving– “Sunshine Indie Pop” — great for discovering new stuff, and “Songs to Raise Your Kids To” — the best throwbacks to my childhood music education (thanks, Dad!)
- Discovering another recipe to add to the “people will definitely ask for this again” pile. I made lemon bars Sunday night, pulled them out of the oven on my way out to a meeting, and they were almost half gone by the time I was back. I think my roommates liked them, maybe, just maybe.
- Being goofy with the Google Effects plug-in for Google Hangouts during our weekly sub-chair meeting.
I know this is going to be a productive week. 1) It has to be. Self-imposed deadlines and whatnot. But also, 2) I’m feeling good. I’m feeling great. Taking the time to reflect the little joys makes such a difference in how you approach things. This blog has been a great way to do that already, and it just started.
I’m not sure if I’m in any position to give advice; I’m no professional researcher. But I do learn from my experiences and I’m happy to share them. Everyone experiences life differently, and only you know how to approach your own challenges. Take the time to understand yourself and what helps you get out of lows. I believe that learning to appreciate positive experiences is something that can be learned, and it does require you to be proactive. Take the time to make a short of list of things that you know are successful in improving your mood, and try to be aware of how your actions influence your emotions.