Mental Health Monday: She Who Wears Many Hats Headbands
Through over a year and a half of therapy and a whole lot of soul searching, I’ve learned a lot of things about myself, but there’s one fundamental part of my identity that truly makes me who I am:
I like to be busy.
For a while, I wondered if this trait was the source of most of my anxiety. As much as I love TV, I have a hard time just sitting and watching it. I have to keep my hands busy, and that’s one of the main reasons I started crafting. Whenever I find myself sitting still for too long, anxious energy starts to fill my hands and I get so irritated that I can’t even enjoy what I’m watching.
I’m not just talking about TV time, though. As I started life after grad school, I found that I really didn’t like to just be doing one “thing” all the time. I liked my sales job, but I craved time to do service for others. I wanted to use some of the skills I’d learned as a student leader planning events. And I really wanted the opportunity to make things that I could sell in a meaningful way.
I’d be lying if I said I crafted (get it?) this whole plan to do all of these things in a way that made sense. I’ve built a life over time that allows me to take on many roles and both use and develop skills in a lot of different areas in a way that is reasonable and balanced.
If you don’t know me personally, I’m also a professor of communication. I teach college students at two schools across about six classes a semester about relationships and conflict and using their voices to create change (and also TV and movies). I. LOVE. IT.
I’m also the president of my union at one of the schools. I get to use leadership skills I’ve developed over the years, but also learn all kinds of new things about how to best represent hard working folks who just want to be able to keep doing what they love. I also love this work.
And then there’s Crazy Craft Lady. If you want to know how much I love this work and this community that we’ve built together, just take a scroll through my social media pages.
In addition to these, I try to be a good wife, sister, daughter, friend, and dog mom.
You might be thinking, “No wonder you’re so anxious! Slow down a little!” And for a long time, I thought the same thing. But again, through therapy, I’ve learned that this is the way that life works best for me. I thrive under pressure. What makes me anxious is restlessness. It’s that feeling like I can’t sit still without feeling guilty that I could be doing something productive. And that’s just not healthy.
So there are a couple of big lessons here:
It’s okay if the way you “do life” doesn’t make sense to people, as long as you cultivate the skills necessary to live your life in a healthy, sustainable way. THERAPY, PEOPLE!
If you’re like me and don’t like to sit still, it’s still important to realize the importance of rest, even if it doesn’t feel right or normal. At risk of throwing a bunch of cliches that you already know at you, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Eventually the tank runs out of gas. And the reality is that this not only affects our mental health, but our physical health! We have to take time to recharge. The key, for me, has been reframing the concept of rest in my mind. Instead of thinking of rest as slacking off or not getting things done, I think of it as one of the very important tasks that I need to complete in order to accomplish all that I want to accomplish.