Sometimes in this living creatively thing, everything goes pretty smoothly. We set goals and plan and then actually achieve our goals round about the time we said we would. The kids play nicely (or at least bicker quietly) so we are able to our own thing for a bit without constant interruptions. The cat leaps up on your desk beside your laptop, not on it, thus not erasing your day’s work. The weather is okay. The washing gets folded. Work is busy but relaxed. We actually manage a consistent practice of dance or sketching or meditation or whatever. All is basically well.
Then there’s the other times…
This week so far has been one of those weeks for me. I call them ‘odd weeks’ not because they are actually that unusual (alas), but because of how they leave me feeling: off kilter, grouchy, unfocused, just a teensy bit (!!) resentful, and definitely NOT ‘even’.
So, apart from turning into a snarky grouch, how can we handle the ‘odd weeks’?
Well, I may be pretty experienced at suffering them, but I’m much less so at managing them graciously!
However, I am learning a thing or three as I go…
1. Identify the source/s of the oddness
Are you getting enough sleep? Did you eat or drink too much of something that disagrees with you? Has something changed at your day job? At your partner’s day job? Is it a full moon? Are there road works outside your house? Are your kids home sick? Or all of these plus some more (you poor soul)?
For me this week, it’s a combination (isn’t it always) of a child home sick for two days, and changes at work, and disrupted sleep. This all lowered my energy levels and my productivity, leaving me feeling generally grouchy AND under-achieving…
2. Once you know the source, it will hopefully be easier to figure out what to do about it.
Trying to fix it without knowing the problem is a lot less likely to succeed!
Solutions are generally something you’ll need to tailor for yourself, because we all do work and react differently. While obvious things like watching what you eat, or trying to get regular sleep, or phoning the council to find out when the road works are due to end can help with some things, others are more complex to handle.
This week, I’ve identified that it is the disruption to my routine that really kicks off the whole downward spiral. Without that I can mange the other factors.
This is actually something I’ve known for a while, and I have tried different fixes over the years with limited success. I’m thinking I may need to get a bit more formal in my fixing, so I’m considering preparing a plan for coping with the disruption: My plan is to jot a rough outline on an index card which I can grab and refer to on days when I’m home with sick kids, or working half days round sick kids, or it’s school holidays. That way I won’t have to think so hard (I hope!) I haven’t actually done this yet, but I figure it’s worth a try. Have you ever tried anything like this? If so, how did it work out for you?
3. Review how your fix actually worked
Hopefully it worked, and keeps on working.
But if it didn’t, there is no sense trying the same thing over and over (note to self!) Give yourself a break! Try taking a few moments to brainstorm some other possibilities; talk to a friend or colleague about how they cope; ask the social media hive mind for ideas; Google it!
We don’t actually have to do this alone. It is okay to ask for help, or for ideas, or for support.
So that said, given my previous ‘fixes’ haven’t fixed anything, anyone got any ideas? Or want to share a story of your own attempts at fixing disruptions? (Or shall we just join hands and skip around the oddness and hope that embarrasses it into leaving?!)
4. In the end, odd weeks (while frustrating) are okay
It can be hard to remember in this constantly ON, high pressure society, but we are actually allowed to have off moments and odd weeks. The world is unlikely to come to an end because the washing didn’t get folded or someone had to wait an extra day for an email.
Take a deep breath, then another one, and let it all go.
After all, if it wasn’t for a little oddness, we’d only have two things in this list!