Hitting the “Reset” Button

Two bruised fingers and a self-imposed driving ban later, I’ve learned that sometimes you need to spend the day in timeout.

Do you ever have those days when your limbs go akimbo and you can’t do anything right?  That’s exactly the kind of day I had.

I spent four hours doing the work that usually takes me two hours to do. I could not get the cursor on my computer to go where I needed it to go.  I cut where I should have pasted.  I dropped my apple twice.  I forgot to put a CD into the computer to play and then went nuts figuring out why the music I wanted wasn’t playing.  I ate a pre-swimming snack and, realizing that people who cannot think straight should not put themselves at risk of drowning, stayed home and had a second lunch.

Was it the heavy rain that kept waking me up last night?  Was it sleeping a few hours more than usual, or the excitement of yesterday’s awesome four-miler wearing off?  Was it sewing-caused exhaustion,  or did I inadvertently take my allergy medicine twice, thus making myself loopy?

Either way, today was a mental wipe-out.  I was ridiculously frustrated about it at first.  After all, it seems like you shouldn’t have ANY off days when you don’t have to dress for an office and the only contact you make with workmates is done through your trusty Toshiba laptop, right?

However, after a splash of water to the face, I realized that the mind doesn’t care if you work in pajamas at your kitchen table or in heels at an office.  If it’s going to be glitchy, it’s going to be glitchy, no matter where you work it from.

After the double-lunch incident, I decided to get hold of myself and ease up.  No one can be on point 100% of the time and well, I’m lucky if I’m on point 50% of the time.

I could either keep klutzing around wreaking havoc or deal.  So I chose to deal because there are, in fact, ways to deal with these days:

  1. Get a hold of yourself.  Yes, stop what you’re doing before you injure yourself.  Breathe, and admit it’s going to be one of THOSE days.
  2. Lower your expectations WAY down for the day.  Don’t expect brilliant writing/meals/human interactions.  Breathe again.
  3. Write a list of what you think you need to do today.   Now write a list of the items from that list that you absolutely have to get done today, and focus on those.  You’ve just done a half-assed version of the famous doctorly triaging approach, so pat yourself on the back and pretend you’re on Gray’s Anatomy or something.
  4. Don’t try to do anything that can end catastrophically.  It’s not the day to try a new recipe or redo the design of your blog or set up a complicated system for anything.  If you can, just leave it until tomorrow and tackle the stuff you can safely handle today.
  5. Consider taking a cat-nap when you get home.  Or a shower.  Those two things can help you feel like you’ve reset the alarm on the day–even if the shower doesn’t hit reset, at least you’ll smell fresh and clean like the day never happened.
  6. Try to sneak in some exercise.  Sometimes a hard workout will get you feeling right again; then again, there are times when you will trip over your own feet, so stick to something more chilled-out, like a walk or a ball-toss with your pet (imaginary or otherwise).
  7. Try to find fifteen minutes to do something you like doing.  Paint your nails in a color that only needs one coat to look good or, better yet, is quick-dry (because, with the kind of day you’re having, you’re probably going to smudge it), or read a book, or whatever it is that you do when you get to be selfish and all about yourself.  Set the timer.  Lock yourself into the bathroom if you need to.
  8. If you live with someone else, warn them that you’re not yourself today (though be real–they probably already noticed) and do what you need to do.  You can make it up to them with good food (and a kinder, non-biting disposition) later, believe me.

So that’s what went down today.  Slow work, more slow work, tiny nap, short walk, absolutely no hard sewing (only hand-basting and seams that can be easily picked apart when I mess them up, as I will), and one very easy dinner:

With leftover chicken tossed into a salad with pico de gallo and topped with tortilla shells, I could rest assured I would not burn the house down (and it tasted awesome, most importantly.)

How do you handle “those” days, be they caused by stress, sleepiness, planetary misalignment, or too much fun the night before?

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One Response

  1. Do yoga. Go home, pour a glass of wine (or a cup of tea), sit on the couch and breathe. Watch something funny on the box. Go to bed early and read. Sleep.

    That’s what I do, every single time! Here’s to a better day!

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