I spent this evening with a childhood friend…
…in town visiting from NYC, just talking and being tired and she was okay with that—she, for whatever reason, didn’t need me to be charming, didn’t need me to convince her to do this or that or text funny things…she was just happy to dress beautifully and join me at a political party and go out with me to the theater which turned into dinner at Oak, then gelato/sorbet then, just talking and safely chaste cuddling, at home.
(She has a better half, so we’re just like brother and sister, and I wouldn’t want to cross a line that would violate the comfort of our relationship, her relationship, her integrity, or mine).
But our evening together confirmed what I’ve suspected. A month ago, I burned out. Most people have told me I need a vacation.
But I don’t need a vacation: work piles up too fast if you take a vacation. Returning from travel is what burned me out in first place.
It’s like this:
What I need is cuddling.Photo courtesy of Flickr Commons.
So here’s a little list of things I need that I’m not getting. I’m making this list for myself, so that I begin to attend to my poor, blown-out mind and tired body…but I know many of us are stressed, wiped out, burnt out, deflated. So hopefully this personal rumination will serve as a personal reminder to a few of you.
Eight basic cures for stress:
“And the antidote to burnout is, symbolically, a return from adventures, from trials and tribulations, to the womb, to an inner sanctum where we can relax completely and finally, once again, experience vulnerable, wide-open love. Then and only then may a deeply feeling sigh of relief come, like rain on a parched field.”
1. Water. I think that’s probably why I rely on weekly baths, so—hot water hugs me on every side, soaking out my stress. That’s why I love hot tubs, not that I’ve had the dough to work mine for…five years. And that’s why I love hot springs, though I haven’t been to one in…10 years? Well, that’s why I love swimming pools, and I hope to make it at least a few times, this summer. That’s why I love reading a non-digital…you know, a book…by the river. I’ve done that three times in the past five years. (Clearly, this here entrepreneur needs to make more of an effort, now, to take care of myself) In any case, that’s why I love water of any kind.
2. Intimacy. Another cure, if you’re lucky enough to have someone to love you, is intimacy. Cuddling. Equivalencies if you’re alone: getting a massage, or sleeping in the fetal position, or even perhaps going for a hike to a beautiful spot with a beautiful view, and spending some alone time.
3. Exercise I enjoy. This is vital for maintenance, but not enough for me for recovery, now that I’ve really blown out my mind and body for the first time in 10 years of building my life and business. For me, this category includes my commute: switch driving for your bicycle or walking, and it’ll make a world of difference.
4. Real Food. Real food as defined by Michael Pollan, as nothing you’ve ever seen an ad for. The less packaged, the better. Less than five ingredients. Food that your great-grandmother would recognize as food.
5. Meditation, in the morning after waking and in the evening before sleep. Even a few minutes each is vital.
6. Community. Depressed, stressed, overly introverted, blown out from extending outward too much, shy, angry, confused…whatever I’m feeling is fast fixed by community. I bike downtown, wait in line to get a coffee, and before I know it my grunts of hello have turned into inarticulate mutterings of honesty. Soon, my gruff “Well I’ve been having a hard time” has turned into talking about the problem…of re-taking a view from the top of the hill, seeing the problems and questions clearly, and being “more-over” it.
7. Animals & Nature. Working with the earth—gardening. Hiking with your dog—nature, no wifi, no cell phone, just you and your (rescue?) dog. Unplug, literally. Leave your phone behind. Get some fresh air.
8. Sex. Orgasm is, in Buddhism, said to be one of the three moments in which it’s easiest to attain enlightenment. And it’s by far the funnest of the three (the other two are sneezing, and the moment of death—but, really, any sharply defined moment of sudden transition will do. Perhaps that’s why some people love horror movies. Boo!).
*Again, vis a vis sex: many of us are single, alone, lonely—let’s remember that making friends with being alone is a wonderful power—liking oneself means we’re always with your best friend, wherever we go.
What’d I miss?
Bonus: Stress! Salves:
Meditation for Busy People!
get thee to a garden like this one: