A Case of Winter Snark: Five-Step Recovery Program

For two weeks I have battled a case of winter snark. Despite an appearance of happiness, peace and goodwill my inner voice continues to have more snark as the winter days linger on. Last night, the snark would not shut up. I was trying to fall asleep. It kept listing one complaint after another. Finally, I demanded silence.

While I am not anywhere close to being snark-free, I stopped living in denial last night. I admitted to having winter snark and signed myself up for a self-imposed, five-step recovery program.

1. Listen to my favorite music when and wherever possible. Blink 182, Foo Fighters, Korn, Rob Zombie and  Journey are among the artists who help take me to happier places.

2. Girlfriend time puts winter snark in its place: out in the cold where it belongs. Without fuel, the snark does not have energy to thrive.

3. Exercise is my number-one defense against any kind of snark: winter, cleaning, marital, parenting, alcohol shortage, etc. Fitness is a natural outlet for all negativity to escape. Too bad this doesn’t work while I’m driving. Sign language isn’t enough.

4. Writing is my second line of defense. Again, it is another method I use to relieve stress. Once I write it, it’s no longer a burden. I may still need to resolve a problem. But, I no longer feel it clouding my thoughts. Somehow, I achieve clarity on the direction I should take.

5. Attack action item list, which is always growing. After crossing items off, I felt accomplishment, not dread from excuses for not “doing.”

Related post …

Seven Silent Monsters

Nine Ways I Diffuse Stress

It must be that time of year. School is out in 46 days. The social calendar for May, June and beyond is filling quickly. There is little time to accomplish all those “to-d0s”; and just when I cross one off the list another quickly takes its place. So, this morning, I was thinking about ways I could rid myself of all the stress threatening to turn me into a snarly witch.

Here’s what works for me. What about you? Maybe you have some strategies I could try.

1. Clean house/household chores/yard work. For some reason any of these work wonders to diffuse volatile emotions. In addition to gaining a clean home and beautiful landscaping, the sense of accomplishment helps flush out all that unproductive negativity.

2. Hair therapy. Sometimes 30 minutes in the chair with my hair stylist at the helm is all I need. It also helps that she often has a hot, foo-foo, cup of coffee at the ready as well as a pretty impressive list of books she recommends reading.

3. Walk the dog or myself. Add the benefit of warm temps., sunshine and my favorite MP3 selections; and this is my surefire way of coping with challenging tasks.

4. Music. When I run errands or take self-imposed timeouts, I crank up my favorite tunes. My selections depend upon many variables such as the weather, time of year, and mood.

5. Cardio exercise. Nothing removes stress from my pores like an outdoor run at a local park, interval training with Bob Harper DVDs, or striving to beat my best elliptical times.

6. Shoe therapy. I tried this Sunday at DSW after my two angels broke world-records for five days of off-the-charts meltdowns. This maneuver earned me a couple pairs of sandals and a pair of boots for next fall/winter. Ooh la la!

7. Writing. When I write out my feelings, I am much more able to communicate with loved ones about issues that need resolution. Taking this step enables me to think before I speak, which saves me from saying words I will regret in the future.

8. Date nights with my girlfriends. There is nothing like spending a couple hours with girlfriends who are experiencing similar situations with their own partners, children, families, etc. These nights out offer a chance to feel less alone and to obtain suggestions for how to better manage challenges we all face.

9. Laughter. Looking at challenging, stressful situations with a sense of humor makes all the difference. If nothing else, life makes for some great storytelling.

Related previous posts  at kateschannel …

Seven Silent Monsters

Life on Friday: A Snarl Unleashed

Defiance Test

 

Writing is My Therapy

I have the perfect mix of emotions fueling my post today. My daughter, Issa, refused to get dressed. Then, she went into meltdown-mode when she missed the bus. Consequently, she was tardy for school. Don’t you just wish there was a re-start or rewind button for mornings like this?

Anyway, one can assume I have my fair share of these tumultuous daily beginnings. If you read previous posts you’ll discover I write frequently about writing and my reasons for doing so.

Like exercise, I find writing to be an outlet for stress and negativity. I do all I can to minimize both. Once I put words on a page, I feel calmness. Perhaps it’s the acknowledgement of my feelings and reality that helps. Also, I believe writing enables me validate whatever I am experiencing. It’s just me and my words. There are not outside voices talking at me or trying to influence my feelings.

What about you? Does writing help you de-stress or rid you of toxic energy?

Seven, Silent Monsters

I have seven, silent, but ever-present monsters prowling around in my head. Winter blahs, cabin fever, parental stresses, unrealistic expectations, inner negative talk, ever-growing to-do list, and time thief, are “The Seven”. For a lack of a better term for these negatives, I call them monsters. They remain silent because until now, I have not given any outward indication to their existence.

“The Seven”, however, have drawn swords, and are challenging me to a fierce battle this winter. I am motivated to fight and banish these silent monsters. Ignoring them is not my style. Giving into their negative energy is not an option. I refuse to encourage them toward a more public presence.

By nature, I am an optimistic, extrovert, who enjoys social occasions and people. It is foreign to identify a struggle with “The Seven.” Acknowledgement — I believe — is the first step to winning these solitary, inter-connected wars. Next, is to fight.

Upper cut to the winter blahs. No more thumbing a nose at snow, arctic cold, and limited daylight. I will take Zumba classes, ice skate, and run indoors until frogs croak Spring’s arrival.

Box it out to cool cabin fever. Stirring a little crazy is just what I need to break out for good times with family and friends. Ann Arbor is on my list for the next two weekends.

Front kick parental stresses. My faith prevails. I am ready for whatever is on deck. My ability to love, nurture, teach, inspire, learn and discipline strengthens every day.

Knock out unrealistic expectations. Spotless and always-organized are not realistic daily goals for my house, which is home to four active people and a lovable, playful dog. There will be days — in the near and distant future — when performance please me, but not you. So be it.

Round kick inner negative talk. Body types, genetics and past experiences brought on by school mishaps, social challenges and stupid choices cannot be undone. I learn valuable lessons from living life and from others. I will cheer loudly for positive thoughts.

This fight is nearly won. I am sweating. Are you? I saved the most notorious confrontations for last. One is with ever-growing to-do list and the last is with time thief.

Swipe a blade to that ever-growing to-do list. My concentration is on action items already occupying PDA space. Child care, academic success, professional development, volunteerism, household chores, pet care, family relations, friendship development, social calendar, marital bliss and new acquaintances are just a cliff-note version of what my responsibilities include. When does it stop? Does it ever?

Fast feet catch time thief. Set the clock for me. I am taking time to read books, spend time with family and friends, volunteer, strengthen spirituality, pursue hobbies, develop professional ambitions, pamper my body, watch quality entertainment, and listen to good music.

What a match-up. The adrenaline is pumping through my veins. I feel better already. Do you see any monsters? I don’t right now. But, seeing some green along with a dose of Spring-like temps wouldn’t hurt, either.