When you’re a kid, you fall down, bounce, get up. Maybe you have a cry, maybe mum cleans up your grazed knees, sticks on a band-aid and it’s done. It’s over. Something makes you smile, laugh, sniffle or distracts you. A short attention span can be a blessing.

We need to develop a short attention span for our own dramas. Most of them aren’t even real. We’ve heard them all before. They’re predictable rants. They aren’t even as real as a grazed knee. They’re stories that send us into a spin. We’re feeling bad and we start indulging in “worst case scenarios” as though they’re urgent and real. They’re not.

A grazed ego doesn’t, in theory, need to take any time to heal. If the topic of your worry is a real concern, then it needs actions, not worry. Is there a lion about to eat you now? Probably not. If there is, you’ll know what to do. Run!

Late last week I thought I’d fallen off my path again. I felt awful, I couldn’t see the point. My chances of making any permanent change in my life were nil. I was miserable. My life had no purpose.

At least I knew enough to limit my contact with other human beings and make no major life decisions. Aging is useful, I’ve done lots of dumb things before. When in a bad mood, do as little as possible.

It wasn’t a mystery. My body chemistry was off balance.  Like any crabby 3-year-old, the basics were really all I needed. I needed exercise and good food, sleep and a little bit of fun. Nothing more complicated.

Just before this happened, I spent a couple of days working like a machine barely allowing myself to breathe, filled with resentment and pushing myself when everything said stop. I’m not sure why I did this to myself. I told myself other people were doing this to me. I had lots of justifications but none of them were real.

My crash shortly afterwards was not surprising, I was just overdrawn. My body bank account didn’t have enough energy in it. I assumed this was a crisis but it wasn’t a life crisis, it was just an energy crisis. I just needed to plug back into the energy supply.

Last week I fell down, this week I am picking myself up for another go, another round.

My way back

  • good food
  • exercise – to get rid of the stress hormones
  • sleep and rest
  • short-term surrender – don’t try to solve anything when you’re exhausted and cranky
  • avoiding conflict – I knew I was crabby, I did my best not to pick fights, hopefully I minimised the damage
  • a good lazy day with someone lovely

So I fell down. I got up. I started again, small. One step and then the next step.

How do you pick yourself up again? Get the basics sorted out: food, rest, sleep, company. When you feel more yourself, get up and ask “what’s next?”. Do, the next little thing on the “what’s next list”.

Today I rang the tax office about my three years’ worth of unlodged tax returns. It’s not fun but you know you’re ok when you can deal with tax. I didn’t even throw a wobbly but I think I need a treat after that.

Responsible snacking – all contact with the tax office will be followed by  chocolate. Energy overdrafts will be followed by filling up again.

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