Life is the most stressful thing we all do. Within it, there is beauty and brutality. What happens when we encounter overwhelming stress? Stimuli that seems unfathomable from multiple angles can seem like juggling chainsaws, and before I forced myself to remain sober, moments like these would be my weakness. I would allow the stress to consume me. Now, though stress still affects me deeply, I’m usually able to bounce back overnight with some self-care.
“Do no harm unless you must, then, do as much harm as you can…”
This sign hung prominently for at least a year. I wiped it off today but wanted to keep its memory, like some things I’ve sacrificed during this move, large or small. The quote came to mind during a random conversation and I liked its force, like the idiom “it is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war,” only with that sort of neck-snap that I enjoy in writing.
Therefore, do no harm toward yourself.
When I get stressed out, I tend to overeat. I haven’t exercised, other than packing up large and small boxes, in over a week. When I don’t exercise, I tend to overeat even further. My justification for not exercising in a controlled environment like rowing is that I’ve been in that particular stress zone where I feel like I’m redlining, so I don’t want to push it past exhaustion.
I should get back to rowing tomorrow, though.
Tonight, though, after getting sufficiently stressed out to the point of having the anxiety build to such a point where I didn’t want to deal with anything or anyone, I wrapped up all the chores I do before bed, like making my coffee machine, then read for 10 minutes, let’s speak openly for a word- masturbate- then took a bath, and focused on nothing important for the rest of the evening.
When I push myself too hard, I snap.
So in these evenings, I’ll defer the work that I would have otherwise done. An extra 12 hours won’t matter too much when the speed of my output and my confidence in my written voice is strong enough that I can bang something together in one or two hours then let the editors deal with it later, worst case. More likely, though, getting it done 12 hours earlier would mean an inferior professional product.
That de-stressing mindset is perfect for writing sobriety essays.
That’s where, when this moving process gets to be too stressful mainly because of too many factors outside my control that compound too quickly, it’s better to calm yourself down in a manageable way. I can’t just have a one-and-done drink. The feeling will be too good and I’ll wake up somewhere weird the next day. Instead, if I do things to help myself out physically and mentally, I’ll be ready to tackle tomorrow, sharper than ever, and ready to work.
Can’t do as much harm as you can to aggressors while you’re hungover.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Honestly, I was scraping the barrel for thoughts on what to write about and was going to write something more upbeat, but I was drawing a blank, ended up watching too many videos online, then went with this.|
|Related: Other Sober Living and Moving Zeal essays.|
|Photo: Marker on a whiteboard.|
|Written On: February 26th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft.|