Some of you may know that I left my full-time job as a school social worker this fall for a part-time job as a college counselor. I now have time to focus on my health. I am so grateful that I was able to make the move to part-time work, because I know many Lyme patients don't have that option.
I wrote about my transition in a post for the Global Lyme Alliance blog. You can read the post here:
Grieving the Loss of a Career to Chronic Illness
What major life change have you had to make after being diagnosed with Lyme or chronic illness?
"There is nothing so easily remade as our definitions of ourselves." - Dinaw Mengestu
Imagine you're on the way to meet a friend you haven't seen in a while for coffee. You're in a good mood, the sun is shining, and then, the brake lights of the car in front of turn on and out of nowhere you find yourself in a pop-up traffic jam. Now you're going to be late, and your friend will be sitting there waiting for you, staring at her coffee, while it gets cold.
Small annoyances are inevitable and no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but they have a way of downshifting your mood, which can be hard to recover from.
You know the feeling--all the positive energy you had squeezes out of you like a tube of toothpaste, and a low level of anxiety and tension takes up the space it left behind.
Here's a list of affirmations you can say to yourself when those little things creep into your life. Take a deep breath, repeat the affirmation, and you might just save your mood. The next time you step squarely in a puddle, you can breeze right past it, and continue on your way. Those shoes needed a rinse anyway, right?
7 Affirmations for Life's Little Annoyances:
1. Stopped at a red light
"I'm stopped so that other people can go."
This affirmation came to me one day as I was waiting at an extra long red light. I watched the never-ending stream of cars cross from the other direction and realized they all have places to go, too. They might be late for a job interview or just wanting to get home after a long day. When I thought about it that way, it was easier to wait a few seconds before it was my turn to go.
2. Waiting at the doctor's office
"Waiting helps me clear my mind and get into a positive place before my appointment."
Wait times at doctor's offices seem to be getting longer and longer. Use that time to get in the right head-space. Organize your thoughts, and think about what you want to ask the doctor; even take a moment to write it down. If you still have extra time, do a silent meditation and get yourself in a positive place for a productive appointment.
3. Stuck behind a slow car in traffic
"Something is telling me to slow down."
In the past when a slow driver pulled in front of me, I used speed around them to prove a point. I now look at delays as reminders to slow down. In our lives we bounce from one thing to the next and forget to be mindful. The idea of time is a human invention, and sometimes we have to be reminded that it’s not ticking quite as fasts as we think it is. Instead of zipping around the car, take a deep breath, and go around them when you have a safe opportunity.
4. People interrupting you
"They must have a lot to say. I will take this time to decide if what I want to say is truly important to share, or if I am just talking to keep the focus on me."
It's one of my biggest pet peeves. When I'm talking and someone butts in, it makes you feel like they were not listening to you and you don't get to finish your sentence. Sometimes conversations can turn into two people talking and no one listening. I like to be the one to stop the cycle. Really listen to what the other person has to say, and then keep the conversation moving in a constructive manner.
5. Parking ticket
"Will this matter a week from now?"
So, your meter ran out five minutes before you got back to your car and there is a bright orange ticket flapping in the wind from your windshield wiper. My first instinct is to swear and stomp my feet, but it's not worth the physical and mental energy. The truth is, we all get parking tickets from time to time. It's a price we pay to park in the city. Once the bill is paid, let it go, or turn it into a funny story. I promise, it won't matter a week from now.
6. The common cold
"I will appreciate my health when I get better."
If you feel under the weather use it as an opportunity to remember what it's like to feel good. The common cold usually goes away after a few days and when you are back to yourself take advantage of your new appreciation for your health. The common cold is also a chance for you to rest. Use that sick day you have stored up, and binge watch your favorite Netflix show on the couch with a box of tissue while drinking plenty of liquids.
7. Rain or "bad weather"
"Rain replenishes the earth" or "All weather is necessary for the planet."
Next time you are caught in the rain, don't curse it, dance in it instead. The earth needs clouds, rain, and even storms. It’s all part of a delicate balance, which we have taken for granted for far too long. I'm not talking about saying affirmations when there is a dangerous hurricane or flood, but when you wake up to the sound of rain outside your window, try not to call it a "bad day" before the day has even started.
When you practice reacting to daily annoyances with positive affirmations, you will start to see a shift in your life. Little things will start to bother you less and less, and you will be able to maintain a calm and happy mood throughout the day. And when days are better, life is better.
"The most satisfying project you will ever undertake - and a mark of a complete human being - is to discover how to build a sense of happiness that no one can take away from you..." - Deepak Chopra
I'm Kerry (She/Her/Hers) and I am a licensed therapist, group facilitator, poet, writer, & speaker. This is a place to acknowledge and validate our suffering and trauma, while also learning how to turn toward aliveness and spaciousness.