4 Steps to Salvage the Day

tumblr_mf5ggu0WwC1rw8058o1_500Some days suck. Things break. People let you down. Traffic. It is high time we as writers (most with day/night jobs to pay the bills) need to let ourselves off the hook for things we cannot control. Now that isn’t the same thing as noticing the maintenance light on the dash of your car has been on for three weeks straight and it breaks down…that is your fault. Sorry.

What I’m talking about is the unexpected, the unexplained, the just down right crazy things that happen in life. Those things are out of our control, but they must be dealt with no matter what. Take a moment and remember you are only human. There are only 24 hours in a day (7-8 of which you should be sleeping. Can you say self-care?). You only have so much stress your body can process each day and not start to break down.

So what are we going to do? I’m going to tell you what I do.

  • breathe_by_sibayakStop moving, stop thinking, stop blaming/dwelling. Just stop everything.
  • Take a few deep breaths. In through the nose. Out through the mouth. Do this until your begin to feel calmer. Concentrate on the sound of the air moving through your body. When I’m mad the sound is loud. When I’m sad the sound is reedier.
  • Now name what is actually wrong with you, not the circumstances around you.
    • Example: I am mad at my husband for forgetting X…not…These stupid people in traffic have made me late and they don’t know how to drive…how did they get a license anyway?—The point is to actually deal with what is going on inside you not what environmental problems are making you feel worse about the actual issue.
  • How am I going to resolve what is going on inside me, so I can get on with my day and be the creative soul I was meant to be? Name the resolution.
    • Sticking with the example above: I am going to forgive my husband. He didn’t forget on purpose. He is not my enemy. (I have probably done the same to him on more than one occasion.)

Now will traffic still suck after this? Yes, traffic always sucks, but it doesn’t have to suck the life out of you. Will there still be little fires you need put out each week, each day? Of course, life is full of surprises, some good, some not so much. But each bump in the road doesn’t have to make you careen off into a ditch. You, Dear Writer, are a creative soul. Start using that wondrous creative mind toward your own issues. You might even surprise yourself with just how creative you can be. Now, chill.

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8 thoughts on “4 Steps to Salvage the Day

  1. When I first got married I made one promise to myself: “I will never say anything in anger to my husband that I would not say when I’m calm and rational.” It has been difficult to keep that promise but very worthwhile. It makes me stop, take deep breaths, think about the problem, and decide if I really wanted to speak to him about what happened. Don’t say things that will hurt just to get back at them.

    This idea applies to lots of situations. In the office, you never want to let your frustrations fly out your mouth. On the road, it can be unsafe to confront that driver who cut you off. When raising kids, it might destroy a fragile self-confidence to say something mean because you’re mad.

    I think God sends us things to teach us. Self control is the hardest one to learn and your 4 steps would help.

    1. Diane you are so right. Self control or discipline of our nature can be hard to learn. I feel like I am always learning. I also use this process when I’m planning for the future. If a project or opportunity comes up, I use the steps to center myself. Then I look at the project with an eye to longevity…will it matter in a day, week, month, year, 5-years, or a decade? I don’t add a lot to my writing schedule that won’t matter for the long haul.

  2. I actually did the breathing exercise because I’m racing through blogs and realized, you know what? I need to take a step back and know I’m not upset, just busy… Relaxed me! Thank you!

  3. Great post. I hate to do this, but have found it works. Simply stopping and giving myself time to think and determine why I’m actually upset helps. The tricky thing is when what you’re struggling with can’t be resolved in a day. *Sigh*

    1. Sometimes stopping our striving is the hardest thing to do, but I think it has more to do with the fact we don’t want to give up control. Stopping means surrendering to the moment, to God, to realized where we are in the universe. For some reason we fear surrender, even when we know intellectually it will make us feel better.

  4. I’ve always told people “Breathe! Breathe!” and they give me strange looks BUT if I can get them to do it, they begin to feel better. I’ve learned to stop, smell whatever flower is near me and just take a moment to … breathe. Great post. Thx.

    1. You are so welcome Bob. Taking stock of what is truly important…I’m breathing…I’m alive…I’m loved by my friends and family…those are the real things in this world.

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