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As of late, there have been an excessive number of crises from the ongoing pandemic and natural disasters to mass shootings and the war in Ukraine and everything in between up to and including an economic downturn.
Your supply of energy, attention, and decision-making ability has limits, but entropy is ongoing and infinite.Maximum Gratitude, Minimal Stuff
As a DIY optimist, I have been getting plenty of practice turning the light at the end of the tunnel from a train into something less loud and screamy.
This wellness warrior has ways of combating chronic crisis and its unhelpful companion, crisis fatigue.
What in the minor league is crisis fatigue?
Crisis fatigue can manifest as:
- Social isolation
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Physical exhaustion
- Changes in appetite and sleep routines
- Difficulty concentrating
I’ve felt crisis fatigue rear up as:
- Emotional exhaustion and numbness
- A desire to withdraw from everything
- Feeling anxious and helplessness
- Lack of empathy
All symptoms of hearing one tragedy after another like a scary merry-go-round of apocalyptic nightmares. To combat chronic crisis and crisis fatigue, I lean into healthier habits.
Sleep, Eat, Exercise, Repeat
There is a distinct difference to handling horrors when I’m high on quality food, 8 hours of sleep, and recent exercise. The difference is like walking to work versus arriving on the vehicle formerly known as the Space Shuttle.
When fully fueled on quality habits and routines, I can respond to the next crisis better than when I lack sleep, exercise, and the will to say no to a third donut.
To ensure I eat high-quality food, I grocery shop once a week. I get the same round of fruits and vegetables which looks like spending my time at the edges instead of isles. Unlike the tropical delight of Bali, grocery isles have extra sugar, fat, and temptations that look good but leave my energy sapped.
My bedtime reflects my love of sleep; I try to hit the sheets at 9 pm. Coupled with my 6 am wake-up, sleep is the easiest way I can fuel my body with the least amount of effort. Plus, sleep forces a shutdown of the mental crisis loop. No thoughts, no problem!
At work, I’m paid for 3 hours of fitness per week. Most weeks, I suck up every minute of this benefit. Running is how I release personal and professional stress. Often, during a run, I process problems, find solutions, or focus on the moment instead of another chronic crisis layer.
Having healthy habits that revolve around the basics of sleep, exercise, and food is how I can prepare before I despair.
As much as I would like to be spontaneous and leave for adventure at 5 pm. I’m not. I need to plan for fun. Last year was a dismal reminder of this painful personality trait. Outside of Tough Mudder, I did little in the way of fun.
This year, I got aggressive and called on my inner pirate to take no prisoners. It involved effort and energy, but I’m pleased with the results.
- Completed the Color Run
- Visited Joshua Tree National Park at sunrise
- Took a pole dancing lesson
- Visited the Lewis and Clark Caverns and took the Classic Tour
- Camped and went skinny dipping in a natural hot spring
- Viewed two local baseball games
For future fun, I have tickets to the Charlie Russell Chew Choo dinner train, reserved a night for a treehouse, and will visit Ringing Rocks (when a hammer is applied, the rocks ring like a bell).
Scheduling adventures is a sharp sword of positivity, ready to combat chronic crisis.
Combating chronic crisis includes doing good. Each day I try to do something good. Not just my default please, thank you, and stop standing on our furniture like a barbarian. I try for something that requires more effort and energy.
Doing good feels like tossing a small pebble into a still pond. Tiny ripples the grow into beautiful results. Sometimes trying to formulate how I will bring good into the world will take up mental space that would have otherwise been overridden by another crisis.
No crisis was ever resolved by how much I worried about it. Whereas planning ways to do good has enhanced the beneficiary and helped me to combat chronic crisis.
I love hobbies. Hobbies have a way of generating flow that is different from work.
“A state of mind where one does not worry about time, money, material possessions, but instead decides to relax and take life as it comes.”Urban Dictionary
Drawing, reading, and juggling is how I skip the line for the glorious flow feeling. For juggling and drawing, there’s a built-in stopping point. My arms get tired from throwing and my artwork is small, so completing a drawing happens quickly. When reading, I can get lost for days in a book, and when I’m trying to combat chronic crisis that is what this meat package needs.
Combating Chronic Crisis
There is no quick fix, miracle pill, or fuzzy slippers to fix the crises that seem to have gremlin-like growth. As an entity sentenced to a lifetime of the human condition, the best I can do is lean into healing and healthier ways. When all else fails, revert to kindergarten 1.0; a snack, nap, and chat make everything better.