9. MamaSal’s day to unwind

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9. MamaSal’s day to unwind 

Sunday,September 2, 2012 – 

= 1011 subscribers 3377 visits 211 comments

It’s just after 1:00am and I want to get an early start on the blog today because I want to talk a bit about stress and what I do to try and do to unwind. I used to do what is considered one of the most stressful jobs in the world – the life of a professional public speaker. It was a roller-coaster world. People always think that it must be so great to jet into places speak in front of huge crowds and get paid a bucket full of money. I was always grateful for the fact that so many people had such a fear of public speaking. It gave those of us who loved to do it an advantage – we had little competition.

One thing that the public does not know is the unbelievable stressors in the job. Both emotional and physical. Emotionally, think about standing in front of a standing ovation of 7,000 people. Can you imagine the feeling? Then crush of people wanting to get to talk to you following the event. However, just an hour later you are either on your way to the next “gig” with all the stress of delayed flights and heavy traffic – trying to switch gears, mentally, from where you have just been and where you are now headed. Or, as was often the case, you are sitting all alone in a strange hotel room feeling a sudden emptiness. The limo is not waiting at the door, the crowds have gone home to their loved ones and you sit, alone, in a room trying to work out how many hours sleep you can fit in before you have to be “on the road, again”.

You would probably smile if you could have seen me unpack my suitcase. I used to bring comfort food and nick-nacks of home! A favourite candy bar, a picture and the most important of all things… something to do! You get really tired of hotel rooms in that job. You get tired of the perfection of them. They don’t look like “home”. So I learned to bring things to entertain myself. Things to mess up the perfection a bit. Almost like loading up the car with distractions for kids when you are going on a long road trip.

The reason I have mentioned this is because one of the best ways for me to turn off my ever-active mind is to be creative. I do things like make earrings, I crochet blankets (just finished one for Benji and Judy’s new house and, of course, one for Juliana!). I paint and I do anything that uses the right-side of my brain. I need to stop the left-side from taking over my life. I need to give it a break. There is something about being creative that works well for me. It pleases my soul. It helps me smile a lot. Creativity is done with love. Each pair or earrings is made with someone in mind – even if they do not receive them. I taught myself how to paint on the computer (way less clean-up!) and then some days, like today, I load up my shows I have recorded all week and I will just crochet. It works for me.

You will notice that I try to do things that have a reward at the end. A beautiful pair of earrings gives me great joy. I can spend hours panting a picture and be oblivious of time or “duty” and the hours and hours it takes to crochet a throw for someone is worth every stitch when you see the finished product. 

The other thing I used to do was drive my trailer somewhere and just chill for days. Read, sleep, eat, sleep, read and so on. Normally, it took 2-3 days of that cycle before I would wake up feeling normal. As I age, the recovery time seems to take longer and I know if I started to read a book right now I would probably only get half a page read before I fell asleep! It has been a very exciting week. So much learned, the excitement of you all clicking your subscribe buttons, the analysis of the figures, the checking of geographical information and the answering of some heartbreaking questions. All this and a full-time job. So my body and mind are tired. Today, I will rest.

I will add a final note at the end of the day to let you know if I kept my promise to myself. That takes discipline!

Wow! The body really took a beating! First of all, I could not shut down my mind last night. I kept coming up with things I should check or do for the bog and website. It was after 4:30 am before I realized that I need to do… something creative! Yes, I had planned to do that after I had slept but the only thing that was going to slow down my brain was something creative. I started Yvonne’s blankie. Have been promising myself that hers was next. She absolutely loved the yarn I had used on the baby blankets and, as she is a very special person in my life, I decided to make an adult sized baby blanket for her. Then we hit a problem. After months of not having any problem getting the yarn, it suddenly was not available at the store! Isn’t that the way of life? On Friday, I was delighted to find just three balls of white and that was enough to start.

I spent a little time just doing the crochet, maybe an hour and a half and then it happened. I felt tired. My mind had slowed down. I slept until after lunch, made myself a coffee and was amazed that I just fell asleep again. I woke up around 3pm and Yvonne heard me and came to help me turn my mattress – I did back a serious injury a couple of years ago while turning my mattress and now Yvonne has it in her calendar to help me do it – she is such a wonderful person! Bedding and the week’s laundry was all ready to go to the wash and I … just crawled onto the bed, curled the duvet up around me and went straight back to sleep again! 

It is now just after 10pm and I know I have been up for about an hour. Nothing has been done – no washing, no tidying, no cleaning. Just a little crocheting and a lot of sleep. Did I keep my promise to myself? Yes, I guess I did but not in the way I had envisioned it. I can hear that voice in my head muttering about what a waste of a beautiful day and I am smiling. Is there anything more important than giving the body the rest it obviously needs? I am going to check the stats and answer any questions and then guess what I am going to do? That’s right. Go back to sleep. It is a long weekend, here in Canada, and I have also taken Tuesday off as well. I knew I needed to completely rest my body.

We creative types have a strange body clock. It fires on all cylinders when it is inspired! I wonder if any of you can relate to that? I have found that I need to let go of the “normal” rules about sleep. I have learned to just listen to what my body tells me and comply – even if it means that I lose out on a beautiful day.

Is it likely that I will wake up around 3am and be fully charged? Yes, and if that is what happens then I will just quietly go back to the crochet – happy in the knowledge that I have recharged the batteries. Tomorrow night I will go back to a more normal routine and again on Tuesday evening so that my body clock will be back in place for Wednesday. 

Achievements: Set up 2 separate pages on the blog (learning), gave the blog a colour background (learning), started Yvonne’s blanket (creative) and got a lot of sleep

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