December 20, 2013
I’m talking to myself a lot at the moment… both “silently” in my head and actually out loud. I suspect to onlookers I may look just a little bit bonkers, but that’s probably because I’m feeling just a little bit bonkers.
It’s the time of year. Christmas Day is usually fantastic. Sitting down with people I care about, spending quality time with my loved ones and knowing that I have a break from the day job.
Bliss. But unfortunately the ten days before the 25th see me employing every NLP strategy and technique I have learned in order to stop my brain from reverting to the default settings of decades.
I’m one of those people who, in times of real crisis (i.e. someone might die or an animal may be injured), really can “keep calm and carry on”. Give me a really serious situation and I’m your woman. I can stay calm and focussed. I can be detached and give direction and I can absorb the emotional backlash from those around me who perhaps aren’t coping quite so well. However put me in a semi-stressful situation and that’s when my “tendency to tailspin” kicks in.
I had a mini-meltdown when it came to Christmas presents... (I really sympathise with Santa, his list is far longer than mine and the process of me making one fairly short list and checking it twice, three times, four times caused me concern). Particularly when I then started to doubt my meticulous planning and cunning scheme of using different wrapping paper for each person’s presents. I checked the list with all that had been ticked off as bought, wrapped and in the correct bag. But then spotted one item on my bookshelf... an item which, according to my list, had all the boxes ticked. I could remember wrapping it; I could remember labelling it; I could remember placing it in the Rudolf bag full of everything a two-year old little boy would love…
I rummaged in the bag and extracted said present. I then unwrapped it and discovered that one of the “perfect presents for a seven year old girl” had somehow made it into the wrong bag.
Big Gulp… was this a one-off error or had I messed up massively with the wrapping and packing?
My heart sank. Some of you will recall that wrapping presents is not my most favourite thing in the world. Twin loves it and is usually more than willing to help me with mine but she has migrated back "Oop North" and so it’s somewhat impractical for me to load up my car and drive the length of the M6 drop them off at her door and then collect them a week later all beautifully packaged, labelled and ready to look beautiful under their respective Christmas trees.
So, faced with potentially having the re-wrap everything I found my headspace getting cloudy, apart from the two messages:
- “A big glass of wine will help”… and
- “You need chocolate… eat the coins off the tree or unwrap one of the children’s selection boxes”….. (both of which are indications of my pre-NLP/WLR default settings and neither of which would, in reality, do anything to change or improve the situation).
It took a really conscious effort to block out the messages, but I managed to override them with a cup of fruit tea and focussing my thoughts elsewhere…
And then again, this morning I had to stop myself going into to meltdown. For some reason I was all of a “kerfuffle” from the minute I hopped out of bed. I was chipper and cheerful but for some reason my brain just didn’t seem to want to process information or deal with things in any kind of logical manner. I managed to give Lil Cat (so nick-named because even though she’s 16 she never got any bigger than a kitten) rat nuggets instead of cat food (luckily I stopped myself before the cat food went in with the show rats… They would have loved it, their digestive systems would not!)
Then I headed to the car before realising I had left my glasses in the house… (It is an indication of my advancing years that now I need glasses for driving and, if I’m watching telly for more than an hour, wearing them stops me getting a headache). I headed back in doors as I distinctly remembered putting them back in their case and leaving them on the coffee table to scoop up on my way out of the door at 7:30am. Back in the house and in front of the table… No Glasses.
I cast a quick eye around the living room and kitchen. No luck. I then headed back out to the car and fumbled in my tardis-esque bag before finally retrieving my glasses case (with glasses inside) from its dark depths. Seatbelt on, glasses perched on nose, I went to start the car. No Keys. Car Keys are attached to same key ring as House Keys. Front Door well and truly shut with no way of getting in without requiring a new lock or front door.
“Nooooooooooooooooooooo”. (Yes I actually uttered that out loud as I unclipped my seatbelt).
I sat for a moment wondering what on earth to do…
I toyed with sobbing and then decided to ring my friend who is rat-sitter-in-chief to get her spare key for my front door so delved into my bag to find my phone…. and came across my keys… which I would swear had not been in there two minutes earlier. Yet another indication that my mind is so full of “stuff that I have to do” that I’m running out of headspace for all the routine ordinary stuff. (Along with having to stay in control and not let my mini-panics send me out of control).
I suspect I’m going to have keep up my “conscious thinking” for a wee while longer. I’m trying to get everything I can done for “the day job” (working in an accounts-based role with year-end looming isn’t the most relaxing environment in the world); trying to make sure that all my writing projects land on the right desks in time for the right deadline. I have a list of things that I need other people to do in order that I can move my own list of “stuff that people expect me to get done” forward. On the home front I am still trying to get Christmas locked down. I have the laundry, ironing and packing to do as we are not spending the whole of Christmas at Hudson HQ… and because of that I also have to get all the housework done… (I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels the need to make sure the house is immaculate because I have people popping in twice a day to feed Lil’Cat and the Rats. I know in my heart that feeding my animals will not incorporate any kind of inspection or report on the cleanliness of my home… but it’s one part of my “default settings” that is deeply embedded and which I will attempt to address next year).
I know that in the end I will do my best to get all that I can do completed on time andwhilst retaining a sense of humour… And that I can do this without resorting to my comfort eating and drinking tendencies. Presents may or may not end up in the right bag; I may not get all the baking done; the people at Head Office might not get all the paperwork they are expecting from me… but no-one will die; no animals will be injured; and my WLR journey will not be compromised.
So whatever your headspace is doing at the moment… If it all seems like it’s heading in the wrong direction (which in turn sees you heading into the kitchen in search of comfort) take a few deep breaths; give yourself a good talking too; and “Keep Calm and Don’t Comfort Eat”…
With a Hug