weeknotes #28: avoiding sadness with meaningful distraction
I haven’t had the best of days recently. Just stuff getting all up in my emotions, and my emotions getting all up in themselves, and all tangled and shit. But this is the kind of familiar stuff I know that I can get through.
I’ve been trying to remind myself that there are things that are out of my control, and that people can’t read my mind. I can only manage the things I can control. And communication is important, for fostering relationships of all types.
These things are almost like mantras, but I absolutely don’t repeat them to myself like I’m manifesting some magic voodoo into my life. Some of these things pertain to habits, or to a change in actions, or to help maintain a positive mindset.
When I put together “these things are out of my control, but these things are in my control”, and “I am in control”, it turns into an action. This action, for me, recently, has been to keep myself busy. I understand that from a certain standpoint, that sucks, and sounds mega toxic. But hey, hear me out. I’m not trying to occupy myself in busyness for the sake of being productive until my brain falls out of my head. I’m not trying to stay busy so I can hustle my ass to earn more coin. That’s not the kind of burnout-inducing BS I want to be involved in right now. In fact, I want quite the opposite. I want busyness for the purpose of distraction. I want distraction for the purpose of getting my thoughts to stop spiralling and catastrophising and becoming anxious and upset at every interaction I have.
But I don’t want distraction that is meaningless. Don’t get me wrong, honestly, sometimes, distraction is meaningless.
I’m trying to put intent into what I’m keeping myself busy with.
I’ve found myself actually becoming more focused with things that I thought were a giant chore, like editing our podcast transcripts, or even writing blog posts (heh). But I’m trying to just focus on myself, do things for myself, to help myself be better. Be a slightly better person every day, right? After re-reading The Catcher in the Rye last week, I suddenly felt like I wanted to read more. Not that I “should” read more. But I actually wanted to. I picked up one of my poetry books and flipped through it. I picked up my phone, opened Books, started to re-read Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey. I reached out to people on Twitter and asked for their book recommendations.
On the weekend I tried out a brow lamination procedure on my eyebrows to have them look fuller. I’m really happy with the result! Since I had booked it for the afternoon, I ended up organising a catch-up with my friend Monica (whom I hadn’t seen in a long time) in the same area, and Nick and I planned to have dinner after my appointment and also grab some drinks at a tiki bar we like to frequent.
I don’t socialise much, and it’s unlikely that I cram so much into one day because I either collapse into introversion hibernation or just get tired of conversing with people. But I got through the day. It was all a… I guess, a good distraction.
I went to the office today for the first time in a while. It was really tempting not to go. Really, it was. Especially with the rain in Sydney that has been causing floods in some areas. Especially with the amount of comfort – oh, comfort – I feel with working from home. It took some effort for me to go to the gym this morning, but I kept it front of mind. It had been two days since my last workout, and I was not going to let the rain get to me. I would get my workout done. I went through it, focused, and completed it in good time. On my way home, I fought the urge to bail on going to the office. I somehow kept away the thoughts that would normally cause me to bail. In my mind, I thought… if I was planning to hang out with a friend, would I bail last minute? Probably not. Again, I kept that front of mind, and as I got showered and dressed (which I usually do for work anyway), I just thought about whether I should jump on a bus or walk to the train station, and honestly… I guess I just looked forward.
There is a momentum to all of this that’s honestly not exciting or thrilling, but that could be a wind of depression speaking. (I think I know depression when I have it. I’ve had it enough to know.) The momentum seems to come from a place of wanting to focus, and kind of being comfortable. If trying to stay distracted and trying to stay busy are two sides of the same coin for me right now, then I’ll let it be that way.
I’ll let it be that way and I’ll keep flipping that coin over and over, because I’d rather that than my potential mess of emotions right now.
Coping and handling negative thoughts and feelings is always an active process– seems to me like you are doing a great job despite how hard it is. I too have been dabbling in more reading lately as a means of distraction. I’ve been having some health issues, so I’ve been making even more of an effort to minimize stress by staying off social media and the like. Reading, especially reading through the Libby app on my phone, is a helpful way of keeping me “productively distracted” as you say. I’m right there with you, Georgie, trying to find more genuine and fulfilling intention in what I do to fill the void… I mean, fill my days lol.
I know how it can feel to have your mind just…thinking too much on things. I usually will try to ignore or distract myself and sometimes that does help. And if it helps you then good on you for finding something that helps.