I meant to say in the “Video guide to surviving my survival guide” that if you don’t manage (or want) to read a post on the day it’s meant for, then just skip to the next day. Sorry, I must stop waffling on video and stick to relevant content, oops. What I should have said was “please don’t be all OCD and perfectionist with this Survival Guide”…if you try to catch up, you probably will end up giving up on the whole thing. So just read the day you’re on. You can always backtrack another time. Although the steps are related to one another in many ways, they will mostly be fairly standalone too.
Talking of perfectionism, or lack of it, I didn’t manage to do yesterday’s task because it was my wedding anniversary and I ran out of time. I was also a bit sidetracked because my band’s Christmas single was released today. Have a little look on YouTube (and download on iTunes – yes, blatant plug there). See if you recognise the miserable old woman at the door on the music video. If I don’t sort my Christmas attitude out, I’ll end up like her, and that is a scary thought.
Anyway, getting back on topic….I’ll update you on how I got on with yesterday’s and today’s tasks tomorrow (provided I actually get around to doing them – I’m such a great role model aren’t I?). I am a reformed perfectionist, and proud of it!
Day 2 – A Sensitive Cynic’s Christmas Survival Guide
One day of “thinking about me” is nowhere near long enough. I think I need to revel in “The Me Show” a bit longer, in fact, a lot longer… That’s because I’m one of these people who gets a little carried away and then pays for it later. I have a slightly obsessive personality, which can be harnessed for good, but it can also be a real problem. A few years ago, before my son’s diagnosis of High Functioning Autism, I was doing some research to try and help him with his struggles. I came across some research about the “Highly Sensitive Person” and when I did the questionnaire for myself, I pretty much ticked every box. It hit me like a bolt of lightning; a real “penny dropping” moment when I thought…
Aha, so that’s why I….
am easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby
get rattled when I have a lot to do in a short amount of time
need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where I can have privacy and relief from the situation
struggle to make quick decisions and get overwhelmed by too much choice
notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art
have a rich and complex inner life, and like to process things on a deep level
was seen as sensitive and shy as a child
highly conscientious and aware of other people’s emotions and body language
(Taken from the list of traits that Highly Sensitive People show at http://www.hsperson.com/)
It’s not because I’m pathetic, weak and fussy. It’s because I was born highly sensitive (with a very patient mother, thankfully). If I wasn’t like this, I may not have such rich experiences creatively, emotionally and relationally. Everybody is different, and that’s a wonderful thing. I will never be that multi-tasking Mom who goes at 100 miles an hour and keeps all the balls in the air. But I’m at peace with that. I don’t measure my value by how much I achieve or how efficient I am. I am who God created me to be, and that’s good enough for me.
Armed with this new understanding of myself, my struggles and sensitivities, I was able to start cutting myself some slack, and also my husband and children were able to be compassionate with me when I needed to spend time alone to recover from stimulating environments, social events and heavy schedules . I could also make sure I was planning ahead and taking control of situations that could easily overwhelm or overstimulate me.
Hence why I have decided that this year, Christmas, a season that can really test all my limits, is going to be different. I am going to be kind to myself, not beat myself up because I can’t cope with long Christmas shopping excursions, or because heavy socialising, guests, rich food, parties and hyperactive children leave me completely drained. When I’m faced with my space-challenged house chock-a-block full with shiny glittery tack and new toys, well, it’s just all too much for me.
Christmas is a time of giving and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love to give. A lot.
But I can’t give from a place of emptiness. I need to be full. Full of energy, love, patience, contentment, peace, self assurance (not to mention full pockets and full cupboards). The problem is, I find Christmas so draining, that I’m struggling to find the resources to give anything of myself by the time Christmas Day comes around. Whichever way I “do” Christmas, I need to make sure that my “tank” is full by Christmas day.
Thought for today:
I need to find ways to keep my “tank” full on a spiritual, emotional and physical level. Each day I want to feed my soul and body with what will sustain me, rather than quick fixes that will tax me in the long run.
Task for today:
I find that dehydration can make me cranky and tired. Drinking a pint of (filtered) water when I get up and sipping lots of water throughout the day always energises me, but I need to make myself do it at busy times.
I find that spending time connecting with God every day helps me in so many ways. Spending time drawing on his love enables me to give unconditional love to others in a way I otherwise couldn’t. It’s like going to a well that never runs dry.
Today I plan to spend a few minutes visualising a passage of scripture combined with deep breathing*, first thing in the morning, and then drinking a large glass of water. (Is that a little too much multitasking? I may need to do the breathing, then the visualisation, then the drinking, to prevent overwhelm setting in!)
One of Jesus’s closest disciples, John, recorded many of Jesus’s words. He used the image of water metaphorically and the following passages are lovely to visualise:
“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4.14)
“Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22.17)
Honestly, I actually feel refreshed already just looking at those words. I’m gonna to try and do this every day for the next 23 days in an attempt to be as fresh as a dew-covered daisy come Christmas Day.
* I’m no expert on deep breathing, but I found this video really helpful to get me started.