The simple truth is that we aren’t designed to be glued to a computer screen or in an office all day. Our brains have evolved to thrive in sunlight, in lush green surroundings, and by the water. Since I think we’ve seen the last of snow in Boston (fingers crossed), it’s time to jumpstart our cognitive batteries and kickoff this spring with a plan to leverage our local resources.
Six months ago, my 8 years old niece announced that she wanted to learn how to sew. Every one of us became so excited about it because rarely does she declare an interest or passion for something that is new to her. Her dad went out and bought her a sewing machine, luckily he has some basic skills with sewing and he taught her the basics. For the next three months after that, she watched YouTube videos of sewing and will tell me who her favorite seamstress is. She will even tell me what thread colors she had bought, and so on. However, I had never seen her attempt to make anything.
We all go through changes as we move through life. Some of these are minor and not that impacting. For instance, you might gradually stop frequenting places you used to visit or lose touch with casual friends. Other changes are major, such as graduating from college, changing jobs, or beginning and ending serious relationships. Some other changes, however, are not only major in terms of outward effects, but also in terms of how they affect our world view and sense of ourselves. Have you ever experienced a profound change such as this, one that rocks you to the core and causes you to question core beliefs that once seemed certain to you?
Recently I had been challenged to do something that I never thought I was ever going to do. The goal of this challenge was to help me be more assertive. The task was first proposed to me about 4 months ago and I balked at the idea. Then the time came and I got a little desperate and realized that I didn't have too many viable choices. The person who challenged me was very nurturing yet firm. He set a specific task (very detailed), had a timeline and a reward attached to each successful step. I took the challenge because what else did I have to loose. I was already in a rut.
Sometimes, little things in life can throw us off. Especially when we are dealing with a lot of different things. Even when things are for the better, we still have to adjust our brain and body to a new routine. Our frustration tolerance goes down, we are snappier towards others, others are less compassionate towards us because they don't get it and this list can go on and on. Sometimes, we might even feel lonelier than usual.
You have made your list but halfway through it you realize it is too much. Your brain starts to be filled with counter thoughts, excuses why it is hard to do this or what is going to make it hard, or worse, you cannot decide where to start. OH NO!!! This starts the negative thinking; the self-deprecating statements; hours on end of wondering why you cannot do something this simple; your chest feels tight or your body feels burdened. So much for spring!!!
Building a house, changing a career, making a plan – all of these require a certain focus and approach in order to be successful. It is also critical to remember that these shifts and changes don’t happen in moment nor do they rely on just one factor. It is often most challenging to make real lasting change when there isn’t a plan and strategy to support the growth. So many people will attempt change and then give up when the results are not immediately gratifying.
I have had patient after patient come into my office talking about what a harsh and relentless winter this has been. I can’t agree more! It is always interesting to see how people talk about the weather. There are two classic perspectives that get presented: How cold it is on the thermometer and how much energy is being used by the thermostat. What an interesting way to understand ourselves as well!
Divorce isn’t easy on anyone. When you are getting divorced with children, trying to minimize the amount of change and disruption can be overwhelming. Nesting is where the children stay in the family home and the parents take turns coming in and out according to the parenting schedule. Think of it as the kids have custody of the parents who come home and then go to the other house! Nesting is not for everyone and is fraught with difficulties, but when the situation works, there are great benefits.