Anxiety Overwhelming? How I dealt with a recent bad patch.

Good morning, fuzzbutts!

Been a busy couple of weeks for me. The job has been working me hard. I’m trying to close a deal on a home. I’ve been talking to various parties on how to get this home purchase done. I’m trying to find the time to draw. I’m working around my folks’ home to improve the place as much as possible before I move (landscaping mostly). I’ve been sleeping really lousy and I noticed I’m starting to get a little shaky in my hands sometimes. When I flop into bed at night, my heart starts to pound and, in spite of how tired I feel, I can’t fall asleep for a long while. When I do sleep lately, I wake up 2-3 times in the middle of the night. Gee whiz! How could anyone not feel so stressed?

The first thing I had to do was realized I was stressed. Not just temporary quick stress but prolonged, untreated stress. Even though I knew I was tired and not sleeping well, it was tough to recognize I was stressed. Once I knew I was really stressed out, I had to figure out why I was stressing. I tallied up the reasons why I was stressed and then needed a way to deal with it. Just diagnosing all of this took a lot of processing.

So what did I do? Normally, sleeping better would be the first step. In spite of trying to sleep better, I wasn’t able to stop waking up in the middle of the night. It was worsening a difficult situation but it wasn’t the cause of my stress. Normally I get stressed due to a lack of sleep but this was me lacking sleep due to stress. I had other things to focus on if I wanted to improve my sleep.

One, I had to stop trying to rush the process on the home buying. Yes, a labor day weekend to move all my stuff and settle in would be nice. No, I can’t actually rush through the paperwork and get all parties to sign it immediately. No it’s not so bad to only have a two-day weekend to move my stuff. Yes I am excited to move into my own home. No, I don’t have to keep talking about moving to everyone or asking for random advice.

Two, just because I was moving didn’t mean I had to rush fixing up the folks’ home. I wasn’t moving super far and would still have weekends to help out if my parents need it. It’s physically demanding enough without me forcing it to happen with everything else going on.

Finding time to draw turned out to be one of the easier things to resolve. During lunch at work, I eat my meal and head to my car. I brave the heat to sit in my car and draw for a while. I don’t care to have coworkers see my furry art and I’d rather keep my time after work to hit the gym. Still, I find this time of the day to give me the least amount of mental resistance and I sometimes surprise myself with a quality piece I enjoyed making.

As far as work, I decided to pace myself better. I have some control of my time and I had been rushing to get as much done in as short a time as possible. If I schedule appropriately, I can get everything done without running around like a wuff with his head cut off. Also, while scheduling my own work, I volunteered any free time between tasks to helping others get their own work done. One of the most satisfying evenings was helping somebody who had to work extra late and save them a few hours of time. Getting out of my head and dedicating a few hours to helping somebody was so helpful.

Last night was the first night in a while I slept well. It’s not like the stress magically went away. It’s still there. I’m still dealing with it but it’s manageable again. Much of the rest will go away with time and once I get through the situation with moving and home purchasing. I also enjoy the thought that my commute will drop by more than half and I’ll have way more free time overall. Things are looking up, even if I got pretty down recently.

Dealing with the Post-Convention Depression

Hi fuzzbutts!

You’ve had your fun at the convention. Met friends you haven’t seen in ages and made new friends! You had a care-free fun time the entire convention and then you’re on the plane or in the car to head back to real life. The high of the con starts dipping down and you get home again with a desperate need to do laundry and put everything away. However, by now your mood has dropped into the deafening void and the various chores to accomplish look impossible and you lost pretty much all your motivation.

I know I went through this. I was willing to let my fursuit air out after a long weekend of use and just took way too long to get around to actually washing it. Dirty laundry sat in the washing machine way too long and I just flopped on the bed or at my computer and found it tough to get anything done. So I did a bit of inner exploration, realized I was depressed after the convention, and then decided to figure out how I can address this since I know it affects many convention goers.

One of the first things I realized was a sense of loneliness since most my friends had moved away. While I usually enjoy alone time, even I experience the lows that come with missing friends. So the first thing I did was start reaching out to those friends. I made new friends at the convention too and we shared our contact info and social media and I started talking to them too. They were all pretty darn chatty too so it was very helpful to keep in contact with them to combat the PCD.

Another thing I realized is my mood was down because I was just exhausted. At the con, you’re riding high and you’re having so much fun that it’s hard to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Starving yourself because you don’t want to eat without your friends but they’re taking too long. Then, when you do eat, you’re eating quick food or junk food. Sleeping late because there’s so much going on. Drinking and having fun like a crazy person. Then we’re surprised that so many people leave a convention with con crud (the almost immediate cold/illness you get as you’re leaving a con or immediately after a con). Being physically tired/weaker will lower your mood and contribute to the post-con depression.

So if you’re set on not taking care of yourself at the convention and want to party hard, the best way to recover after the convention is to just rest and start eating better immediately. You’ve put yourself through a lot and need to take the appropriate rest and eat something that will put your body back to normal, if not even healthier food than normal. Your body will recover and then you’ll just feel better there too.

So the gist of dealing with post-con depression is to put yourself out there and reach out to friends in a way that’s enjoyable. Don’t go telling them you’re so miserable and sad. Just be social and chatty. Also, eat something to help your body and take the appropriate rest. You’ll feel better way faster and your mood will improve to drive away the post-con blues. Then you can get back to being productive!

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Wednesday Tailtip: Nightly round-up

Hello fuzzbutts!

Today’s tip is to remind you to do something you probably do anyway, even if you don’t realize it.

As you lay your head down to sleep, I want you to review your day. You probably do this, thinking about the things that bothered you, the things you didn’t get done today. Sometimes there’s so many things you didn’t do that you suddenly feel “motivated” or have a creative breakthrough where there’s some idea you wish you could get down on paper before your pass out but you’re just too physically tired now. Sometimes this leads to a loss of sleep because you feel so poorly about yourself as you feel physically tired but suddenly you’re mentally awake.

So, rather than do it like this, why not take control of this process that comes so naturally already? Approach it with a plan!

The plan is simple: Think about the things you wanted to do today, which things actually got done, and what things you want to do tomorrow. It’s really that simple. Rather than letting things run rampant in your mind and making yourself feel bad, you can focus on the specific things and come up with an ordered list of things you wanted to do. By then focusing on the stuff you got done, you can start to feel like you had a productive day and avoid feelings of uselessness. Then, by laying out the tasks you want to get done tomorrow, you have a plan. Plans help us calm down when it seems like there’s so many daunting things to do and stop beating yourself up. Now we can sleep better so long as we stick to the plan and keep checking things off the list and making progress!

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Time to get up early!

Hello fuzzbutts!

This title is a doozy for many of you! Just hear me out first!

I know in my previous posts from a couple months ago, I said I just wake up, eat breakfast, clean up, etc etc and then go to work. Well, the more I’ve explored my mornings, the more I realized these are great times to be productive!

After a day of work, you might be feeling rather drained. That’s one of the reasons I try to keep my workouts to the mornings since I’d rather avoid traffic and I’m usually tired at the end of the day. Waking up earlier gives me the time I need to do that!

After realizing how much better it was to have time for a workout, I expanded my idea to include other activities. What about a little mindfulness meditation to relax? Maybe squeeze in some time to read!

“I can’t wake up early. I’m not a morning person.” you say, still cuddling your blanket while you stand at the cash register buying coffee. “Nonsense!” I say. Anyone can be a morning person. It just takes a little work to get used to it. So how do I do it? No you won’t just be able to go to sleep earlier since it’s not really your schedule.

Wake up earlier than you want to by about 30 minutes. It’ll be difficult but you’ll survive. Go about your day as normal while enjoying that extra 30 minutes in the morning to make progress in whatever you want. Go about your day and then go to sleep a little earlier. Good chance it’ll be easier to sleep early this time around. Continue to inch yourself along until you’re waking up at the desired time.

Being Productive Takes Energy

For the first post, I felt it would be good to discuss having a good pool to draw your energy from. This means improving your lifestyle to get more done! It makes thing so much easier when you actually have energy for the various things you need to do. Below are just a few ways to help you feel better mentally and physically so you can accomplish whatever you desire.

Your Diet Is Holding You Back

Alright, fuzzbutts, there’s a hard truth to confront. Your diet is likely holding you back. Yes, the diet that has kept you alive to this point has also been one of the reasons you feel so lousy, frazzled, and overall UGH. The frustrating part is you KNOW there’s ways to eat better but it’s so much easier to take a complete meal out of the freezer and pop it into the microwave. I’m not saying you need to go full vegan or ketogenic or whatever. You DO need to start assessing and looking at what you’re eating and decide whether or not it’s actually worth eating it at the expense of your health. Start exploring easy ways to cook healthier food. A quick google search and you’ll be drowning in 10-minute recipes that are good for you.

Get Your Fuzzy Butt To Bed

“Sleep? Are you crazy, Wuffles? I have stuff to do! I can’t be productive if I’m asleep!” you say. “Lies!” I respond. Walking around like a stressed out zombie just means you’re taking way longer to just do a tiny bit of work. You have to sleep if you want to function. Important biological functions occur while you sleep, probably the biggest being the flushing of harmful toxins from your brain (Univ. Rochester Study). You can’t escape sleep, either, so why fight it? Your energy and mental clarity will be way better off if you stick to a routine which will make you more productive. I know those of us in school or working just love staying up late on Friday and Saturday nights, not having to get up on time the next day. Stop that. A regular sleep schedule leads to improved quality of sleep. There’re other ways to improve your sleep I’ll go into with later posts.

Moooooove

You knew this was coming. You might have cringed when I discussed diet but here’s the bad one. You need to exercise. You do. You know you do. So just do something. Enough with the multitude of excuses. Bad knees? Try some sit ups or push-ups. Bad neighborhood so you can’t run outside? Dress poor and run outside so you don’t get robbed OR just do some jumping jacks inside until your heart rate is up. There’s all kinds of things you can do. Think it’s all about cardio? It’s not. Weight lifting increases your muscle size which increases your resting metabolism, meaning you burn more calories by just existing with more muscle. The benefit of working out is that it snowballs. You can run on the treadmill and see you burned 300 Calories. What you also need to know is once you step off the treadmill, your body continues burning at a higher rate for hours (Afterburn Effect). This also applies to weightlifting since your body also goes into a repair mode for your muscles. Fair warning: You will feel hungrier than usual once you start working out, especially in the early phase. This often results to people eating more food than they usually do and the extra calories undo the work you just did! Prevent this by maintaining your portions and resisting the urge to have MORE. If you think your health prevents you from working out, then you’re wrong speak to a doctor who can help give a framework on how to start.

Simplify

I’m probably going to get into this a lot in many of my posts. We only have so much brainpower to dish out each day. Given that most of us have school or work, that’s going to be the big brain burner already so we need to ration what’s left! In future posts I’ll discuss ways to make things easier on yourself throughout the day but the gist is to assess where your energy tends to go during the day (How much time do you spend figuring out what to wear for the day? Do you have to decide every single day what you’re doing to eat? Is there somebody in your life who is constantly seeking your attention for a new crisis?).  Managing your mental energy lets you dedicate it to the things that really matter to you. For more about decision fatigue, check out this Wiki.

That’s all for now!

I sorta went a mile wide and an inch deep with this post because I do feel these are important enough to launch into right now and explore deeper as part of my future productivity posts. I hope my style resonates with you and I will make other posts a little more personal to my own experience rather than just lecturing you adorable fuzzbutts.