Feeling stronger makes me more productive. Soon I will want to be around people again. That means adjusting to other people. Last summer’s attempt without a transition after years of solitude was a lesson that to live among other people, I need strategies.
Those years of medically induced PTSD make me fear the prospect of entering the world again will cause much stress, it did last summer. Despite this fear, ongoing obstacles, and unexpected medical speed bumps, I’m ready…I think.
At birth, we naturally adjust to our environment so why am I fearful of a naturally acquired trait? After years of withdrawing from the world and cutting people out of my life to reduce stress, returning to the outside world to socialize and network with other people is challenging especially without the masks acquired over the years.
To help me adjust, I developed a short list of strategies that thus far seem to work. While using these strategies, I noticed staying out longer, going out multiple times in one day and a desire to be with people. This is enormous and a sign that I am indeed on the road to recovery.
The strategies are:
1. Stop, Look and Listen
2. Be Kind or Avoid
3. My Time Is Valuable, spend it wisely
4. Take Breaks
1. Stop, Look And Listen
Don’t be in a rush, slow down and take time to look around. Observe with all my senses to understand the surroundings.
A good doctor is an excellent observer. Doctors learn to Stop, Look and Listen and touch (medical term palpate). That is the basis of a physical exam. Outside of the physical exam touch is a no-no.
#StopLookAndListen forces me to observe, be cautious and learn the lay of the land.
2. Be Kind Or Avoid
I catch more flies with honey than vinegar. In person, always be kind, a smile helps. If I can’t be kind:
-Delay the interaction until I am well rested or if possible avoid altogether,
-Ask someone to be an intermediary,
-Set and stick with an agenda
It’s a good principle to be kind to everyone even those who seem insignificant. If they are in my life, keep it civil.
The outside world is full of evil people. Based on the Iceberg theory, evil cannot be seen. Avoid or reduce contact with people who make me uncomfortable or who bring out the negative side of me.
#BeKindOrAvoid lets me develop strategic friendships with uplifting or inspiring people.
3. Time Is Valuable
Time is often overlooked and undervalued. If someone takes time to give directions or be civil, show appreciation or carry it forward. I have to remember my time is valuable too, spend it wisely. With a limited amount of time, spend time with people who bring out the best side of me and avoid people who bring out the worst. In the past, the latter was a telltale sign of a bad relationship.
#TimeIsValuable reminds me of my value and that my time matters.
4. Take Breaks
Take regularly scheduled time away from people. I live in an area where I don’t belong or fit in. No one is coming to rescue me. I have little in common with the people around me. As a single working mom with young children, I was too busy to notice. Now my children are older, when I #StopLookAndListen the difference is glaring. I don’t belong here yet I can appreciate the environment.
Having time alone is crucial to my sanity. I know I already have too much time alone yet that seems better than the alternatives.
#TakeBreaks for time alone keeps me balanced in my environment.
Adjusting to other people is no cakewalk but the above strategies work to reduce my stress levels. If you can think of different ways to adapt while keeping stress levels low, please share in the comment section.
This section of Well-being is new. I will write about adjusting to a missed diagnosis of head trauma at Tufts Medical Center. That missed diagnosis changed my life forever with subsequent medical and cognitive issues living nightmares. My road to recovery will be shared in this section.
Source of Image: Pinterest