Mindful Productivity Podcast

Cozy Conversations: Forecasting your stress and mental energy capacity

December 14, 2022 Sarah Steckler Episode 201
Mindful Productivity Podcast
Cozy Conversations: Forecasting your stress and mental energy capacity
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to another Cozy Conversation inside of the MPP! Today I'll be sharing:

  • How I've been managing (and not managing) stress as we gear up for a big move right in the middle of the holidays
  • Forecasting your stress and mental energy capacity into bite-sized chunks
  • Decision making your micro choices so you can avoid the burden of decision fatigue
  • Re-creating the magic of the holidays as an adult and the distinction of pre-made structure vs. creating foundations as a business owner

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Hello.Hello.You are listening to episode 201 of the Mindful Productivity podcast.I'm your host Sarah Steckler, and today I'm hosting another cozy conversation,specifically around stress, around managing stress, around taking time and turning it into more tangible, manageable bitesize pieces and also just some reflections on a high stress time in my life right now with a big move we're preparing for and how I've been navigating everything.So if you're in the mood for a little cozy conversation, you're doing stuff around the house, on a walk, on a drive,get a cozy beverage if you can, and let's jump into it because I feel like you're going to be able to relate to a lot of this.All right, let's go ahead and dive into this week's episode.Welcome to the mindful productivity podcast.I'm your host Sarah Steckler, and this is the place to be, to live a more mindful and productive life.If you're ready to turn daily chaos into calm and start your days with intention, then get ready to join me.As we dive deep into mindful living and personal productivity, it's time to connect with your true self so you can live the life you want to live.And it all starts now.Hello, friends.Welcome back to the podcast.I have absolutely no outline for today, no scripts.I mean, I never do scripts, but clearly I'm just here to ramble and speak to you if you're a long time listener.I'm excited to reconnect and just talk about stress in general, running a business, being stressed during the holidays, and kind of like how I'm managing some of my stress and also not effectively managing my stress, and some things I kind of want to think about as I enter into the new year.And I don't know about you, but I always get really excited for January to come.But then the month of January never really is my favorite month.I really don't feel like the year actually starts picking up momentum until about February.So this is kind of the first year I'm intentionally going into 2023 knowing like, hey, you're probably not going to kick off your business sprint January 1 and do a bunch of stuff.So you're still going to be in winter mode.You're still going to want to go slow and build things up and that's okay.So if you needed that reminder, there that is this has been an interesting past six months or so over the summer.Very sick, multiple times.Then again in October was sick.I think it might have been RSV.I don't know.There's so much going around.And then my husband has this crazy schedule and he's been getting up super early and getting home super late, and that's caused a fluctuation in everybody else's sleeping schedule around here.So there's been all of that.And on top of that, we found out we are moving very soon.So we're moving.Oh, gosh, right after Christmas, basically.And there's still so many details I don't even have.Like, we're maybe a week and a half out and we still don't have hard dates.We still haven't signed our new lease, or we don't even know when the movers are coming.And that is very indicative of military culture.And the things that have happened and the not knowing and the financial stress has really taken a toll.And it's been a lot.And there were just some realizations I've been having lately working through this PCs, this military move.And if you are in the military, if you've done military move, if you have friends or family that are just know that if anyone says the words PCs and they're going through it, just give them some grace.Give them some space and support.Because I couldn't even explain to you how unnecessarily difficult everything is trying to get answers and hard.Dates and corrected orders and all these things from within the I don't even want to call it a system,but whatever the military is,is excruciating.And as someone that runs her own business and is super detail oriented, it continually blows my mind how insufficient and lacking so many things are.And it's also hard, too, because I'm going on a little tangent here, but there's still so much chauvinism within military culture.And as a female spouse of a sailor,if you ask too many questions or if you're too demanding, there's always kind of this undertone threat of being labeled as a dependent, which is such a derogatory I don't even like saying it.It's such a derogatory term.It's been used for decades and decades to basically describe military spouses who there's this stereotype that all we do is sit around and eat bond bonds and sit on the couch all day and just mooch off of our husbands or whatever.And first of all, there's so many issues with all of that in general.There's so many issues with continually calling military spouses wives when we're so much more diverse than that.Not every military spouse is a female or a wife anyway, but there's kind of this underlying term that is unspoken in that there's always just kind of this fear that you're going to be labeled as that right?And a lot of military spouses perpetuate that stereotype or use that word and I always call it out when I see it or hear it.Are there people that take advantage of situations?Yeah, but putting down women or calling people a name like that helps no one.And anyway, it's just a really awful thing that is perpetuated in military culture and it's just another way of keeping women in their place, right?So all that is being said, it's been difficult navigating all of this and having to kind of fight for our fight to move and get everything we need to move when we didn't ask to move in the first place.It's been a lot.So I'll stop there with all that side chat about military moves and all of that kind of stuff.It's very difficult.The last thing I will say though is that there is a huge part of me that wants to do a whole documentary on the term dependa.Where it started, how it happened, how it's like infiltrated military culture and how it like to the detriment of so many women and how it impacts everyone, it impacts families and how it just kind of continually drives this very backwards chauvinistic area of military culture.I will say that there are absolutely people in the military active duty who are doing so much to move forward and make progress.But we've still got a long ways to go.And if you ever enter into military culture and you've never been a part of it before, you will be amazed at how they're basically like 40years back in time when it comes to a lot of things you're like, what,that's not appropriate?So there's been that and that's been really stressful.And one thing that has been really helpful in terms of maintaining my productivity and my sanity has been breaking time down and forecasting time and my energy in different ways.So what I mean by that is when you are stressed, you often get into a reactive state where everything just becomes a wave that is crashing on top of you and it's like hard to breathe, so to speak.It's hard to get ahead of things and it can feel like you're constantly just reacting and that can be a very resentful, draining place to be.And so I'm always reminding myself like,what is in the scope of my actual control?And one thing that helps me is trying to make decisions ahead of time that I don't need to drain me later.Because there's nothing worse than spending an entire day dealing with military move stuff, for example, and not being able to work on your business.And then getting to the end of the day being starving, realizing you haven't really eaten much or drink enough water,and having to make a decision about,what are we going to eat for dinner?So what I've been doing the past few months is like and I haven't been doing this very effectively, but I've started it is taking a look at the month ahead and right now it's actually gotten down to like what's the week ahead or what are the next three days look like?That's been like the scope of how much capacity I have to think ahead and really just breaking down the days.Okay, you've got a month ahead,you've got 30 days, right?So you've got 30 dinners or you've got 90 meals.And that can sound like a lot, but making a lot of decisions ahead of time.Like for example, I know that there's like a go to smoothie recipe that I really love.And if I just have that for breakfast every single day,that could be that could be like 30 of those decisions made for the month ahead, right?And so and then making that decision and knowing that that's what I want, I like,and I'm one of those people that can just like, eat the same thing for a certain meal every day for a while and like be fine and not get bored of it.But then that allows me to meal prep, right?I can put all the frozen stuff in a Ziploc bag in the freezer ahead of time every five days and know that my breakfast is taken care of.And a lot of times we use so much of our mental capacity, our mental energy, our decision making, we enter in decision fatigue because we're using so much of that to make decisions that are so minuscule.You know what I mean?Like in the big picture, there are far more decisions, big decisions that I've had to make in the past six months about where we're going to live, what kind of housing do we want, do we want to live on base, off base?What are we going to apply for all these things, right?Like, what do I need to think about in terms of moving my pets to this new state and all this kind of stuff.So many big decisions that require way more thinking, way more critical thinking,way more long term thinking that I really need my brain for that, right,versus what do you want to eat for breakfast?And then like, agonizing over it for 30 whole minutes.It's like, no, those decisions don't get that much of my brain.So thinking about the month ahead or the week ahead or whatever you can do and kind of making those decisions ahead of time can be so helpful.And brainstorming with a friend if you need help or if you need suggestions.Sometimes I get in a place where I can't even seem to think of what I would eat for breakfast ever.How do I do that?You know what I mean?So going back to I don't really use Facebook anymore for personal stuff.In fact, they don't really use any social media for personal stuff anymore.But back in the day, I used to take tons of photos of my food, especially when I was like meal prepping or I was really into eating lots of salads and lots of actual plant based stuff.And I made this whole food album of all these photos of all the things I was eating.I used to share them on Instagram a lot too.And then I just kind of stopped.I just don't have the capacity for that right now.But every now and then when my brain is not working, I will go back to that.Some of those things actually become references for me.So I'll go back and be like, oh, yeah,you used to really be into avocado toast.Or you'd make potatoes and you'd microwave potatoes and just throw,like, hummus on top of it.That was your meal.Like, oh, what an easy, great idea.So sometimes going back to past decisions we've made or going, okay, the last time I was really busy in a busy chapter in my life, what was I doing?Or I think back to areas of my life where I was really thriving through stress,and I go, oh, what did I have in place?And a lot of times I just forget those things, right?We don't even have access to those solutions in our brain.So really tapping into stuff like that and also just talking to people about,what do you guys have in place?What are you doing?That makes things easier, right?Which is why I love this community.I love talking with other business owners.I've really been enjoying diving into the Lizzie's Christmas Bundle this year,which, if you're listening to this before December 15 of 2022, you can grab the link down below to sign up for all the free goodies in the regular goody bag.And I'm sure she'll be doing this next year and every year moving forward too, I'm assuming, anyway.So definitely check those out.But I love all the bundles I've been a part of and all the ones I've been able to snag, because you get to get an inside,behind the scenes glimpse not only at what people are teaching you for free or whatever, but also how people have things set up.All the different welcome emails or sequences or how people do onboarding or all those things are really fascinating.And so it becomes this observational mini case study of sorts as you get to be a part of all these different things.The other thing that I have really been noticing, and I think it's a trying time, I feel like we're going to look back on this handful of years, hopefully a handful with the panini and everything, and be like, wow, those were like those were dark times, I feel.And I hope that there will be lighter times ahead, so to speak.But one thing, I got into a really dark place a few weeks ago, just like, when is this going to end?So many fronts, so many reasons.A lot of personal, internal reasons.And I had this moment one night, and it was also, like, right before my period,so I was in the gloomiest of gloom.My hormones were basically like,everything that's ever happened to you that's been negative, like,let's think about it now.And just like, everything made me cry.It was intense.And then as soon as you get your bleed, you're like, I'm fine.Everything's great.I don't even know what was wrong with me.It's it's such a it's such a weird cycle.But anyway, I was in this really dark place for a while, and I had to really, like, separate myself from my thoughts and, like, binge.Like marvelous Mrs.May's light.Love the show and just be like, whoa.Your thoughts are not they're not helping you right now.You need to kind of just disconnect and observe them, but do not take them as truth.And there are moments, like, if you're someone that battles with anxiety,depression, PTSD, any of those kind of things, you know that sometimes your thoughts feel like the realist of real narratives.And a lot of these techniques are, like,just do affirmations that doesn't do shit, right?Your brain is basically trying to convince you of some negative dark stuff, and it can be really hard to navigate that.So, anyway, I was having a dark day, and I just had these feelings of,what's the point?Not so much as, like,what's the point of living?Although I've been there, too.It's more so why try?Why continue my business?Or Why get up tomorrow morning?My guy canva just stay in bed and cry.And I saw this TikTok, and it was like, the algorithm for TikTok is, like, so spot on.It's very, very creepy.But it was basically like,what's a reason to stay alive.And this guy was like, Potatoes.And then he just had all these pictures of, like, mashed potatoes and fries and potatoes in the microwave and all these things, and I was like, wow,yeah, potatoes are great.And I was laughing about it.And then I was reading the comments, which if you're not reading the comments on TikTok, like, are you even on TikTok?Right?It's, like, one of the best places.Like, the things people say are so often funnier than the actual TikTok itself.But anyway, I'm reading through the comments, and people are like, wow,I really needed to hear this today.And I was, like, laughing, but also kind of feeling my feelings.And I was like, I think I did, too.I think it's so important to, when you're in a good place, write lists about why you should keep going.And I don't just mean keep living.Like, this is not just a morbid thing, but also just, like, reasons to keep going in your business,reasons to keep moving your body and taking care of yourself, reasons to keep brushing your teeth in the morning, in the evening.Because if you're someone that suffers through mental health stuff, you can get to places where it really is hard to figure out what's the point of anything.And so making these kind of joy filled lists can be really helpful because sometimes when you're going through stressful situations and it feels like you don't have any support and it feels like the world's burning, it can be hard to let your head hit the pillow and feel any kind of excitement about the next morning.And what I've really found comforting is knowing that there are small, stupid little things that make life really worth living.Like there are things that can keep you going and they're the slightest things.So I've been working on those lists, not only just like food that's enjoyable, but also there are so many stickers you own,Sarah, that you've yet to put in your journals.There are so many wonderful parks that you're about to explore in the new place you're moving to.There's going to be so many moments tomorrow that you get with your bulldog where she does both the most irritating and cute thing at the same time, and then you get to snuggle her and look at how cute she is and pet her potato body and love her up.And then your husband's going to come home at some point and you're going to get a smooch from him and you'll watch some funny meme videos on YouTube and then you'll both pass out.And there's all these little moments that we often take for granted that are worth putting down on the list because it's just so important to remember that everything comes in waves.There's going to be joy, there's going to be despair, there's going to be hard times and low times in your life, in your business.Things are going to be difficult,things are going to be easy.And the goal really is not to hold on tightly to it's.Like that song.Hold on.Loosely.You know what I mean?But Dalango, it's true.The more and more I experience in my life and take time to reflect, the more I realize it's really just about accepting as much as we can and observing and realizing that the joy filled fleeting moments last about as long as the disparable.Is that the word moments like nothing is permanent.Everything ebbs and flows.Just because you're really happy doesn't mean that all that's going to get stolen away from you.And just because you're really sad doesn't mean you're going to get stuck there forever.But things will ebb and flow and change.And so just remembering that as you're going through it can be so helpful.There was also a TikTok I saw the other day.It was so poignant and it was this guy talking about the nostalgia of the holiday season and the Christmas season and how when you look back as you become an adult, you look back and you're like, wow,Christmas felt so different or whatever holiday, right?Felt so different for me as a kid, and I don't think I'll ever experience it that way.And he said, when you're little and he was showing all these photos of in the US.Being in elementary school and seeing all these Christmas lights or doing these Christmas activities or coming home and having your mom bake Christmas cookies or whatever might have happened for you,those things just happened around you.When we're little things just happen around us.And so it feels really magical.And I was actually thinking about that in terms of other areas of life, and it dawned on me why the transition into like,your 30s can be so jarring and difficult.Because at least for me, as someone that went through a little, like, stereotypical experience of graduating college or I'm sorry, graduating high school,going into college, and then trying to get a job,basically your whole life through your mid20s is dictated for you, and that's both problematic.But also there's a sense of security there because everything's happening around you.Like when you go to college, if you're on a college campus,I look back on that time with such nostalgia because everything was happening around you.You didn't have to think about it, right?There were, like, info fairs on what to do and job fairs.And there was always events at the library or, like, study sessions, or there was always all these things that if you just walked, physically walked through campus,you would find yourself immersed in support or a sense of direction or a sense of structure or foundational knowledge.And you didn't have to go looking for it.It just presented itself to you.But as you get older, those things rarely happen anymore.I mean, can you imagine leaving your house in the morning and walking to your car and having someone be like, hey, do you want to come join us this afternoon?Or having free coffee and donuts, and we're going to teach you how to blah,blah, blah, unless it's like extreme Christian group and you're like, get that away from me, right?That's my experience.But anyway,by the way, there was these two women the other night I had to pick up an order from Michael's, and I brought Bella with me because they allowed dogs.And I'm walking into the store, and I think they were two Mormon women, and they had this board in front of them and it said she was like, hi.And immediately when someone's, especially I live in the Seattle metropolitan outskirts area, and anytime someone's overly friendly to you, it's like you immediately know something's off because we don't say hi to each other here.When I lived even in Maryland or on the East Coast, or even when I've driven across the country, twice, I've been blown away at how friendly people are.People will actually talk to you in the grocery store.You'll fucking know someone.You'll get to know someone in the grocery store where here it's like you don't even make eye contact with people,especially if it's before 08:00.A.m like.No.So anyway, this woman was like, hi,how are you going to make light in the world this Christmas?And I was in a mood.I've had a week, and I was just like,I'm just trying to get through the day.And she's like, oh, okay,well, if you can.I'm just like, okay, no, keep walking.But coming back to this whole thing,everything happens around you until a certain age if you happen to go through a specific pipeline right.That society has set up.And I think one of the reasons why I'm now35, as I get older,life feels a little more unstructured and unmoored, especially since I haven't had children yet, too.And that's still a decision.Wow, I'm getting real personal.My husband and I are still making right now, so I feel like I'm often behind in life or like I see all my peers doing something very, very big that's very mainstream that I have not taken part in yet.And I do a lot of things I've done a lot of things in my life that are off the beaten path or whatever,but that can feel really unmooring when things aren't happening around you.And so as an adult, right, if you want to still experience that Christmas season magic, you have to create it.Our house is decked out.We have six Christmas trees.One is in my office,and it's, like, white.And then we have our big seven and a half foot one in the living room.And then we have all these other little ones scattered, mainly because we've moved so many times and there's been so many times when we haven't had our stuff yet or my husband and I have been on separate parts of the country and he has all the Christmas trees and I don't have so we've bought many over the years.Right.But I decided to keep them all.And now we have tons of Christmas trees,and people think I'm nuts, but I love it.But I create that Christmas magic, and it's obviously not just the stuff and the decorations.It's also the things we do.And my husband and I have this tradition of going out on the 23rd for Festivists if you know you know, if you're a Seinfeld fan.Side note, it's super funny because my in laws continually think that they don't know what Festivus is, apparently.And when they first met me, one of the first years, I was talking about Festivists and how I made a joke.I was like, to my husband.They overheard it.I was like, I've got a lot of problems with you people.They had no idea what I was talking about,and they thought I was just being rude.It's hilarious.But anyway, we like to go out on Festivus if we can.And I usually get, like, a Moscow Mule.We get a little tipsy, and we just kind of reflect about the year, but we also just kind of bitch about life.It's great.We just bitch about life, and that's what Festivus is about.It's just airing your grievances.It's cathartic.It's wonderful.And we have a really great time, and it's,like, kind of funny, but I don't think I'll ever get the Christmas, what do they call it?The Christmas, like, steel rod that they have for festivals, for the feats of strength.I thought about buying one.You can actually buy them and just like getting really nerdy and into it,but I'm like, no, that's ridiculous.So that's something we do, but we create this Christmas magic and it's different when you create it.It's still amazing and wonderful, but when you're not just enveloped in experiencing something and you're the one making it, it does feel different.And so I've just been reflecting on how as an adult, so much of that is true and how you don't have the structure of college, and especially if you're an entrepreneur too, you don't have the structure of work of a nine to five, which is like a hell yes.Right.Because you probably didn't like that experience.I know I didn't, but at the same time,there are aspects of it that I miss.Right.Which is why after we move in the new year, I'm really thinking about trying to find an in person coworking community.Not just to get out of the house, but also to find some other entrepreneurs.Because it can just feel really lonely when you're moving all the time and when you don't have a nine to five or you don't go to a job all the time.There are also moments where I think about going and working at Starbucks part time,not because I would make great money doing that, but because it would give me more social interaction, especially when my husband is going to be deployed a ton.So these are all just like thoughts I'm having.I don't know if this resonates with you.It has really nothing to do with I'm not teaching you anything this week, I'm not sharing any business tips or anything.But honestly, I'm also in a place where I just more and more appreciate just conversations and listening to podcasts,where I don't feel like I need to take a bunch of notes or I'm going to miss out if I don't listen intently.I like just having a conversation.So I think that might be where I'm going to wrap it up.I'm going to leave in the show notes some links to some common things I do at the end of the year, how I wrap up my year with kind of like a closing ceremony.There's a whole free workshop on that.But if you're already overwhelmed and you don't want to watch any more content,then feel free to just glaze over that.But I will leave those things below.And right now I'm working on revamping pretty productive life.I feel like this has been an ongoing project.Every time I start it, I get sick or something happens or we're about to move.But that is in the pipeline and some other exciting things for the new year.So, as always, I hope.You have a wonderful week ahead.I am very excited to produce some more regular podcast content in the new year and be a little bit more consistent.But thank you for being here, and I hope that you continue to show up in your life imperfectly and give yourself space and allow yourself to slow down as needed.And if you enjoyed this podcast episode, come say hi on Instagram.I'm at Sarah Steckler.Tag me.I'd love to continue the conversation, or if you have any nuggets of wisdom you'd like to share or any additions to anything that might have come up for you, I would seriously love to hear from you.All right, thank you so much for listening, and I will see you back here next Monday.