Staying positive in a negative environment

I had a bad day at work today. 

No wait. It’s been a rough couple of weeks – at work. 
Busy nights. Even busier days. Short staffed. Cranky customers.
You name it, and I have smiled through it.  

The hardest part about my line of work is staying positive during those moments of high stress. When things become toxic, it’s incredibly difficult not to get sucked into it. Making excuses for the chaos helps, for a moment: referring to our deficits as growing pains, and telling myself repeatedly (and my staff too) “it’s going feel worse before it feels better.” 

But what about when those “excuses” don’t help?

Generally, when I am having a bad day, I become even more introverted. In an attempt not to take out my stress and frustrations on those around me, I begin an inner dialogue. Asking myself in many different ways:
What about this situation is controlling me?
Can I change what is happening?
What can I do to IMPROVE the situation?

When nothing is the answer to at least the first two, then I have a conscious decision to make: let the situation continue to affect me, or not.

One of the first things I learned when I first started working with Karen Furneaux, back in early 2011, on my stress and anxiety issues is first to breathe then to feel. 
Once I have taken a few “clean” belly breaths, I then focus on feeling my feelings – giving them some legitimacy. Then, and only then, can I detach them from the stress, anxiety, or frustration of the day/hour/minute.  

Finding a moment to breathe sounds like a no-brainer, right? You try it when you’re crazy, crazy, crazy busy, and your boss is yelling at you. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have the “chance” to really breathe.
On this day, I made a choice, which turned out to be the wrong one. I chose not to find a moment for myself. I allowed my job to be number one over myself, and I paid the price. My performance for the remainder of my shift was sub-par. I was miserable, and it was evident to my entire team.
It wasn’t until I got home, staring at myself in the bathroom mirror, that I took that first cleansing breath. It felt good.

Instead of lecturing myself about the importance of taking care of myself first and foremost (a common occurrence after a high-stress situation), I decided to focus on some positives instead, what I have as opposed to what I do not. This is a small sampling of what I came up with:

At work:
– An employee who I’ve only known for 3 days and who has returned for the summer while on break from school, told me how much she loves me
– I have at least one person who I can count on every day, no matter what is going on, no matter what I need. I can talk to her on a personal level, or lean on her on a professional level.

At home:
– I have friends and family that are there for me, whatever I should need.
– The box of hair colour I put in after work turned out really good.
– I am independent both financially, and emotionally.
– I have this blog as an outlet.

Bottom line: where ever there may be shadows, there is also bound to be light.

Peace and Love,


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