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:

  1. Reading for knowledge (learning new things).
  2. Reading for pleasure.
  3. Writing more frequently (even journal, for that too has stopped, entirely).
  4. Working on my book (the one I began years ago).
  5. Exercising (don’t get me started on how badly this needs to happen – for all the reasons)
  6. Regular prayer (both spontaneous and intentionally timed).
  7. Singing (when alone).
  8. Practicing my spiritual gifts – exhorting others.

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.

workspace

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.

 

3 Comments on “Doing the Small Things

  1. I love this. Everything you said spoke to me massively. I’m going through a very hard time within life, trying to find out who I am in the world and work through my original pain.
    I recently started reading the book ‘Homecoming’ by John Bradshaw, absolutely amazing book. And you’re so right. Through these times, writing is quickly becoming the best kind of counselling. Just being able to be totally with yourself and just let your fingers type, or your hand write, and to know that everything that’s coming out is from your true self brings so much inner peace.
    I’ve found that my motivation cones from telling myself what to do. What my body needs. Writing letters to myself. My inner self pleading with me to just listen to my own mind and trust my instincts.

    I started my first blog just a couple of days ago, in the hope of finding people who have these same kinds of views.
    Everyone around is so caught up in the fake social media life, never really being in tune with their inner selves and I’ve been finding it hard to connect with people because of it. I refuse to be like everyone else, settling for half happy lives because that’s just easier.
    I want to meet the people who know they have faults, but work hard at inner growth. Who want to experience all the the world has to offer, and bring everyone up around them instead of focusing on the negatives, sitting around talking bad about people.

    I too would love to learn how to read again. As a I child I would be lost in my bedroom for hours enjoying reading books like Jacqueline Wilson. Goosebumps was another favourite. But as I grew I lost that side of me.
    If you have any suggestions of a good non-fiction book that would grab my interest that would be great.

    Sorry very early and very long post lol
    I enjoyed your post, thankyou. This is the kind of thing I’ve needed. Even if you don’t reply I’ve found what I like to do. Blogs are great

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there! I am firstly, very sorry that I did not see this comment until this morning.
      Welcome to a safe place that I am so grateful you visited.

      I am deeply moved by your words and thank you so much for taking the time to write them.

      Your heart is honest and I appreciate your transparency. I hope you continue to lean into those beliefs that we need depth of community and empathy over argument and shallow interactions. I am passionate about that myself.

      Having grown up in Texas, the Southern culture of open doors and deep conversations is bred in me. I lived in New England for a time and it took over a year before I actually saw the culture difference was bigger than I believed it was. There is no wrong in it, but it was starkly different than what I was used to.

      All that being said, I will always want substance over surface and I encourage you to seek that in your life. Congratulations on starting your blog!! Don’t punish yourself if you’re not consistent. Write when you’re inspired to, when you have things inside that just need to come out. There is no formula to follow. It should be organic and specific to you. That’s what makes our voices so beautiful and needed in the world: because they are unique. They are personal.

      I am grateful you came and I am eager to visit your site. You are always welcome here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 😍 this is so cool! Talking to someone in Texas who actually gets what I’m talking about. Thank you for taking the time to reply.
        I’m in the UK by the way not sure if I mentioned that. Where abouts did you live when you were in new England?
        I’ve been slightly quiet on my blog over the last week, but I know there’s more to come. Really taking the time to get to know yourself is more exciting than I ever imagined. Being alone is great lol not sure that’s a good thing…

        I’ve been trying my hand at some acrylic pouring, something I’ve been obsessively watching on you tube. I couldn’t wait any longer so I’ve been doing some experiments 😁
        Not sure why I’m telling you this but it feels nice to share.

        Hope you’re having a nice day xx Clare xx

        Liked by 1 person

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