I think this time of year in general weighs heavily on us.
As we approach the end of the year and work for so many of us draws to a close, I find myself fatigued not only by the amount of work still left to do before I go on leave, (and there is so much work!) but by the persistent negativity I see creeping on to social media. For many people, 2015 seems to have been a rough one.
The end is in sight
Social media too often becomes a stream of consciousness – unfiltered – and it is very easy to get caught up in the negativity we often feel at this time of year. Yes, the festive season is approaching and while the festivities that go along with that (for some of us) help to lift our spirits, the desperation for the work year to end, is permeating my social media feed at the moment. The end is in sight, and people seem to be so caught up in the long haul that they are all too focused on the worst parts of their day.
I catch myself doing it as well. I feel myself getting irritable with colleagues, for their complaining and negative attitudes. I don’t exempt myself from this before you judge me too harshly, I hear myself grumbling about something nearly every day and find myself needing to actively force myself to stop complaining. When we’re frustrated and tired and stressed, it’s natural to complain, but is it really worth the extra frown lines and knots in your shoulders? Personally I carry my tension in my shoulders, and I feel myself hunching more and more towards the end of each work day.
Too many of those shitty motivational images that people share on Facebook preach to us about happiness and seeing the good in things, but the ones that always ring true for me are those that remind us that we always have a choice. See below. I know right? Barf.
But it is true. In this case, it’s a quote by Deepak Chopra, who I have actually read. (FYI, it’s not about the quote, it’s about the kitsch way in which we share them on social media to make ourselves feel deep and shit that I object to…)
Anyway, as I was saying, this quote is entirely true. You always have a choice to make the best of a situation, even if that is simply by changing your attitude and reminding yourself what you have to be thankful for.* Example. The other day my husband texted me to tell me that the window on the car was stuck in the down position. It’s an electric window, which means it’s likely something to do with the motor. We had discovered the day before that my car we had a flat tyre. A run flat. On a Mini… For those of you that don’t know, it means it’s a pretty expensive tyre.
So I was stuck with two cars, neither of which were really driveable (the window issue meant we couldn’t park the car anywhere because in essence we couldn’t lock it). Which means I’ll have to pay to have the window fixed. Right before Christmas. Right before we’re going on holiday. Out of the country. When the exchange rate has just dropped.
Life is fun isn’t it?
I won’t lie, I cursed. A lot. And then I made a choice to enjoy the event I was at, drink some more wine and think about it in the morning. Which was a good choice overall I won’t lie. Yes it was shitty, but in the morning we decided to take baby steps and see what was manageable.
What do I have to be grateful about? A lot actually! I have a great job, a wonderful family, the best friends anyone could ask for. Sure life isn’t always easy, but there are always things to be grateful for.
Next time you catch yourself complaining, think about stopping the whine coming out of your mouth (I tell my eldest son this constantly as his permanent mode of communication seems to be to just whine everything at me…) say what you were going to say in a normal voice, and then think about the fact that much as you’re irritated with your colleagues for asking a stupid question, or forgetting to send you important files, they are just as stressed and under pressure as you. They are whining and complaining and probably bitching about you to someone else. In fact I’m almost certain of it. None of us are perfect.
You could join the negative vibe, or you can look forward to the end of the year and know that in a couple of weeks, this year will be over.
2016 may or may not be a good year. No you can’t control what happens to you, but you can roll with the punches.
*Please note that I in no way think that this applies to things like depression. It’s all too easy to say “you always have a choice” when you aren’t the person who is struggling with depression. Depression and anxiety are not the topic of this post, it’s a comment on the general end of year bitching we engage in due to stress and fatigue.