Recently, I have been mega-stressed, frustrated, and generally down. Being furloughed and not getting paid for 4 weeks because of the shutdown tops the list of reasons why.
Then as I’ve found, misery breeds more misery. Once you get on the misery merry-go-round, sometimes it’s hard to get off. When one major thing goes cattywampus for me, I then tend to find more and more things to get upset about. It doesn’t help that every time I turn on the television/read the news/scan social media, the messages all seem to be negative.
Miserableness, mega-stress, negativity are all bad for you. Bad for your physical health. Bad for your mental health. Bad for your emotional health. All of which cycles back into more stress, more misery, more negativity. It can be a vicious cycle.
Enter the Glad Game.
Now I didn’t come up with the Glad Game. That’s thanks to Elenor H. Porter in her classic tale Pollyanna. (Or some of you may be more familiar with the Disney adaptation starring Hayley Mills. Who else remembers watching all the old Disney movies on Sunday nights in the 1980s?)
As Pollyanna explains it:
The game was to just find something about everything to be glad about—no matter what ’twas . . . And the hard ’tis, the more fun ’tis to get ’em out.Pollyanna, Elenor H. Porter
Some may remember Pollyanna (at the least movie) as being an overly saccharine sentimentalist. While she may be a bit naively sweet, you have to give her props for turning around an entire town.
But I digress.
After pulling myself out of the misery a bit, I started joking with friends about my “unexpected time off.” And that started me thinking about some reasons why I should be glad about this unexpected time off. Sure, I’d much rather be at work getting a paycheck. But as Pollyanna said, the harder it is to find a reason, the more fun it is.
So here’s my Glad for the Unexpected Time-Off List:
(1) Ample time to purge and pack.
As I mentioned before, I got a new job and will be moving cross-country in a few weeks. Packing & moving are always stressful, especially when you work full-time. But instead of trying to hurriedly pack my things in the evenings after work and on the weekends, I was able to knock off a majority of my packing during this shutdown.
In fact, I’ve actually had time to really consider all the things I have and question why I have them and do I use them/really need them. And because I’ve had the time to do that, I’ve really been able to purge the excess. Trim the fat so to speak. This is also helped me with the next item.
(2) Reprioritized my spending.
Let’s be honest, many of us spend money without thinking. Internet shopping combined with social media make seeing new things and then instantly buying them way too easy. Since I don’t know when I’ll get my next paycheck, I’ve had to focus all my spending on the essentials (food, utilities, housing).
Now I admit, I’ve seen things I *think* I want, but obviously can’t buy right now. And you know what, in a day or two, I’ve forgotten all about that thing. In the long run, I think this will make me a more conscientious shopper, buying only those things that I really do need.
(3) Restarted my writing routine.
Prior to the start of all this insanity, I was writing every evening. Even if it was just a page or two in my journal. I was writing. Then I got out of the routine, and because I was mega-stressed, I found myself staring at a blank page when I did try to write.
I focused on reducing my stress and then wrote about that. Guess what, the next day, I wrote some more. And then more the next. And now 6 days later I’ve written six posts, have started writing some much-overdue letters, and have even jotted done some writing journal notes.
I no longer stare at blank pages.
Doing the winter writing festival challenge has helped too because I am nothing if not competitive. But really, it’s because I had the time to make writing a priority again. And now that I’ve started the habit, I’ll stick with it.
Writing has also helped me reduce stress. Getting out my frustrations on paper has helped me let go. (So add that as a number 4 on my reducing stress post. Even if at first you just write random words or phrases, it does help.)
Although I would prefer to be earning a paycheck, I have found reasons to be glad. The Glad Game has been a good activity. Not only has it made me smile in the midst of a rather stressful situation, but it has increased my positive energy and allowed me to get back to what I enjoy.
So the next time things look down for you, try the Glad Game. And let me know how it goes.
And in case you wanted to hear Pollyanna explain it, here’s the movie clip: