I took a “mental health” day today.
No work. No obligations.
There were things I needed to get done (laundry, grocery shopping, laundry, changing my name over to my married name, laundry) but I tried not to make any promises I couldn’t keep and I tried to allow myself the introvert time in which I could soak.
Those that know me may not find it easy to believe that I’ve grown deep into introvert roots. I cultivate a healthy balance now. I’m still an extrovert and thrive in deep community (the operative word is ‘deep’ for I have lost almost all energy for surface or insincere interactions). I love to laugh and learn more about others. I feed off personalities and energies both similar to my own and those who are quite opposite of me.
However, I find myself weary faster if I do not have time away and alone to take a deep breath in and a slow, measured breath out.
I find that change beautiful.
I am grateful for growth we never stop experiencing. I am averted from stagnation and find the same routine boorish. I give thanks for being aware of how God is always shaping me. Always refining and coaxing out my character.
I am also being disciplined more often. Training wheels have come off and He is firm and intentional in making sure I do not settle for sin or pride. Boy, do I have pride. And immaturity. Sin. A judgmental heart. A short fuse in my head. I’ve been painfully aware of my lack and how the proportion of my triggers directly relates to my closeness to His Spirit.
His Spirit is never away from me, but I have become well-versed in how to avoid His fruits by straying to the outward skirts of His fellowship. “Busying” myself with laziness. I know that to everything, there is a season. I am ready to bid farewell to the season of torpidity.
Things I want to begin again:
Obviously, this list could continue.
I’ve been reading Daring Greatly, as I recently mentioned. I enjoy non-fiction (see #1 above) and I underline passages that I want to keep with me. Brené Brown is good about quoting others that have contributed to her own learning and research. One of those quotes struck me particularly. University of Texas professor James Pennebaker, in his earlier work, focused on secret keeping and that which combats the poisonous nature of hiding our darkness or troubled times:
“The evidence is mounting that the act of writing…for a little as fifteen or twenty minutes a day for three of four days can produce measurable changes in physical and mental health. Emotional writing can also affect people’s sleep habits, work efficiency, and how they connect with others.”
This (from James’s book Writing to Heal) was in direct reference to traumatic experiences, but I know firsthand that it extends to the act of living, itself. At least for me. It is in my bones, the need to write out that which I have yet to fully understand or come to grips with or even fully felt in earnest. Writing teaches me far more than merely hearing. Writing is an anti-anxiety medication. It is a stress reducing performance. It is how I connect with myself. With the original Author of life.
So whether it is short bits. Even if it’s on a journal page, in a post I don’t yet publish, free writing for my book (or other ideas)….however it is, I
want need to write again. For my self-evolvement.
I would have regretted if I did not use my day off to write in some form or fashion. I am relaxed. I am thankful. I am going to do all I can to learn self-motivation so I can improve my personal therapeutic act.
If you have any tips or stories of how you learned to be your best encourager – please share! Comment or e-mail. Serious invitation.
Here’s to taking time for ourselves. May we see it not as selfish, but as self-love.