Some jobs lend themselves to a feast-famine schedule. That is, lots of work followed by very little work. It’s a cycle that repeats itself all through the year, or at least during holiday/post-holiday times beginning with Halloween. Keeping moods even with such a schedule can be tricky. So here are some tips.
First, be content with imperfection. No need to add performance anxiety to a feast-famine situation unless you want your moods to match the ups and downs of that situation.
Second, take two days off each week. Yes, most people can’t use those days to play golf or sit by the fireplace with a book and a cup of tea all day. For some, a full day is not even possible. Four half days are doable however. The point is variety. I intensely focus on other people when at work. During times off I work on projects and spend time with family.
Third, create a steady rhythm early in the morning and late at night. Our college student sons even during the end-term crunch still make time to quietly sit with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate in the morning. My husband and I do the same. We also exercise. Sometimes that only comes in the form of walking our dog, Bailey but that’s better than nothing.
Fourth, take frequent short breaks all day even if that means running to the bathroom or storage closet in order to get some solitude. Staring out a window is best however, if you can swing it.
Fifth, do an internal system check four times a day. This is especially important if you have Depression, Bipolar, or Anxiety. Assuming you have learned your particular red flags, you can’t keep the beast at bay if you don’t know where it is.
Sixth, pray all day. You can do this during tips number three and four. A brief sharing with God how you feel and asking for help will suffice. So will a blank awareness of God’s presence while looking out that window.
In general, do what St. Catherine of Siena advised, “Build yourself a cell in your heart and retire there to pray.” St. Catherine lived in a small house full of family members. That made it chaotic and noisy most of the time. She developed her idea for survival’s sake and demonstrated an important truth. Your insides don’t have to match your outsides.
It’s never easy to maintain an even mood in the midst of an up and down schedule. However, our physical, mental, and spiritual health depends on it. However imperfectly, make the effort.
Picture is from the Public Domain website.