Friday, April 27, 2012

Because I am a hand maker and not a hand model

In response to recent happenings, I have decided to show you a picture of my hands.  I actually did pick up the nail file a couple days ago, but these are un-manicured hands.  Un-kept if you will.  These are the hands of a hand maker.  I am a hand-maker.  You may notice some scars, paint on fingers, saw dust under my nails making them appear yellow, the missing diamond in my wedding band that was a casulty of work, and the cuticles that are in need of attention.  However, these hands make beautiful creations.  Creations that I pride myself in making.  Hands that remind me of my mother, my grandmother, and my granny.  Hands that hurt sometimes from the early onset of arthritis.

I hope you will see the beauty in these un-manicured hands.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Putting the Mo back in my Jo

I have to say, that as a self-employed creator of goodies, I welcome a much needed break after a busy season. However, after a couple of days of being lazy my mojo starts to erode, and I had better get back to it before couch potato status really kicks in.

Generally I have a fairly good meter on my laziness factor, and perhaps this is due to my past dealings with depression and depression-prevention. Anyway, I feel the need to address this in a post as I see this over and over with friends and others no matter if they are self-employed or not.

Mojo Erosion Prevention

I think the most important thing that anyone can do is to prevent this burn out to begin with. By adding things into your daily, weekly, and monthly routine you can really make a difference in your overall motivation and mental wellness. Burn out prevention is certainly the key to maintaining your mojo.

Start by making a list of those things that you really enjoy and try to categorize them into how often you would like to do them. You need to be realistic given the time and money it takes to do each thing, and also to not fall into the gluttony of over-indulging.

Your list may include things like family time, personal time, friend time, gardening, exercising, creative time ... etc, but try to be more specific such as: Lunch with best friend, watch a movie with hubby, dinner out with family, family game night, walk through garden, run 3 miles, creative time to work on new ideas, and beach vacation.

Next, think about an ideal schedule and how often you would like to do each of these things. You need to be realistic, such as a beach vacation may only happen once a year, and even though you would like to have lunch with your best friend once a week, once a month might be more realistic.

Start implementing these things into your routine. Start with the things that you have total control over, like running or walking and time to work on new ideas, and don't consider it failing if you don't achieve your ideal schedule. So, if you would like to run every day but you only manage twice a week, consider it as a step in the right direction and not a failure to meet your goal. Next, make phone calls, send emails, and coordinate babysitters to add some of the other things to your schedule. If low funds are a concern for babysitters consider trading off with friends and watching their kids one night as a trade for them watching your kids one night.

Finally, take action, don't throw yourself under the bus, and learn to say no. You are the sole protector of your schedule and you need to understand that doing these things that bring you joy and downtime are as equally important as things like work and chores. Recognize that by consistently putting your own wants and needs second above what you need to do for work and others is eroding your own happiness.

If you have lost your Mojo and need to get it back

First of all, if you are suffering from depression, please please please seek help from a professional, pastor, or even a friend that you know and trust. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and you absolutely do not have to live with depression.

If you are just in a rut or feeling like you have lost your mojo try some or all of these things to get it back.

Set a date - Get out your calendar and set a date of when you are done being in the doldrums. It might be one hour from now, one day from now, or one week from now, but set a date and then wallow in your own self-pity until then. After that, you are now DONE with being in a burned-out status. Now, this may only be mentally, but you need to start with your mind and then move on to your body and action.

While you are wallowing, make a list of all of the things you are not doing, don't feel like doing, and just don't have the drive to do. Make a note of why you are not doing them. It could simply be that you don't feel like doing them, or it could be something else like you don't have the supplies, tools, money, or time to do them. But, write it down and know what factors are preventing you.

Next, evaluate how happy each thing on that list will make you. You might choose to rate them on a 1-10 scale, or just put a smiley face next to the ones that will really impact the way you feel when they are done.

Evaluate the ones with the least happiness associated and what will happen if they never get done. Will someone else not be happy? Will the world come to an end? Will your business grind to a halt? Why are those things on your list at all? Why are you not doing them?

Let go of the things that are not realistic. If you have things on your list that are bringing you down, but it is unrealistic that they will get done in the next month then consider letting them go. These may include things that will take a large time commitment or a large amount of money that you don't currently have. Also, consider asking for help with the things that are too much for you to complete on your own.

Make a list of the things that you think will motivate you to move on. It may be taking a walk, a run, spending an hour browsing a thrift store, or chatting with a friend.

When your time comes - the time that you are done wallowing - do one thing. Start with something that is fast and easy. It might be throwing in a load of laundry, loading the dishwasher, or just taking a shower and putting on makeup. Then alternate with something from your will motivate you list. Reward yourself and keep on doing one more thing. Try rewarding yourself with things that are approximately the same time commitment as the avoidance list ... so if it only took you 10 minutes to deal with the dirty dishes then you probably haven't put in enough time to watch a whole season of your favorite show on netflix. By facing only one thing at a time you will eventually chip away that list.

Now ... it is time for me to go find some mo to put in my jo! I think I will start with the shower and make up ... my hubby would probably appreciate that too!