(broad)ject self #1: Self Care When...You're Angry

My fiancé David has just moved to a city in Southeastern Ontario for his job. It was better than the original posting, which was in Thunder Bay, but at two hours away is still an adjustment. It was too far away for me to commute, so I’m continuing to live with his mother while he has an apartment there. The plan is that we’ll spend weekends together, either here or there, but because my mom was visiting last weekend, he stayed there for the weekend alone.

Naturally, the day before he was meant to come home, we got into our first fight since he’s been away. It started over something dumb in the afternoon on Google Hangouts while we were both at work and continued through the rest of the day. Because we were essentially texting, there were of course a series of misunderstandings and misinterpretations that just made things worse. By 8pm we had kind of made up, but I was still fuming. When you’re not in the same place and can’t hug and talk and sense each other’s mood, it’s hard to feel like something is really resolved, so I felt out of sorts.

Still, I was resolved to power through my to-do list. I didn’t want to do yoga, but I had just started a 30 day challenge so I sort of felt like I had to. I lasted 3 minutes. Yoga for me is such a stress reliever and at ease maker and I just couldn’t exhale when I was still so angry. I turned off the video and I lay in child’s pose for a few minutes trying to decide what to do. I had never made a contingency plan for self-care when I was angry because I’m honestly not a very angry person. At 8:30pm, what could I do to feel at ease again?

I do really believe we need to plan for self-care in all kinds of less than ideal situations because often when we’re in the moment, we’re not able to think clearly and we end up taking the road most indulgent to feel better. For me, that’s often carbs and/or sugar, for other people it might be a few drinks. But those things never actually help solve the problem or make us feel better for more than a moment, and more often than not they leave us feeling worse. I believe we all need a mental “in case of emergency” kit for when we feel off-kilter, so that we can pull ourselves out of it before we sink too deep.

I’m completely obsessed with the ‘Judge John Hodgman’ podcast right now and in that moment of fury on my yoga mat, I just wanted to listen to his soothing voice solve other people’s problems. So I wrapped myself up in my favourite fluffy blanket and sat quietly in the dark, listening. It was just right. I learned that when I’m angry, I need to do something that will distract me so I don’t have to think. Yoga will not fit the bill, but a hilarious podcast or favourite TV show seems just right.

This week, I’d like to encourage you to think of a situation where you might feel out of sorts. Maybe it’s a feeling. Maybe it’s a potential thing that could happen. Then think about what act of self-care would make you feel better. Write it down. Buy supplies if you need them. Maybe even tell your partner or a friend about it (“If I’m feeling really overwhelmed at work, please remind me that talking to my mom on the phone makes me feel better.”) If you want to tell me about it, I'm all ears (well, eyes).

Self-caring-ly yours,