Monday, June 9, 2008

The most important thing to do when things are a mess

When life gets to be a mess, it's incredibly tempting to let the 'mess' take over absolutely everything.  Work is wreaking havoc, your dog died, your career is over (in my case), and all of a sudden you are a desperate disaster.  I've been there: getting out of bed just in time for Nick to get home so that he can't tell I've been in bed all day, wearing the same jeans and t-shirt all week, going outside without mascara (gasp!).  We like to think that when we do go outside people can't tell that we've been in our Spongebob pajamas eating peanut butter with a spoon for 4 days, but they totally can.  That kind of forlorn laziness, that lack of focus, that denial of necessity for hygiene, it invades your very being.  Forget trying to find a job, or network, or be a human being.

So, what do you do?  This is where all the cliche' little sayings come in handy: fake it 'til you make it, keep your chin up, or just quote The Killers and 'smile like you mean it.'  Face it: you're smart, you're motivated, and you know how to sell something.  So sell a bit of success or at least 'togetherness' to yourself.  If you can keep it together and convince yourself that things are alright, other people will tend to believe you.  If they can believe that you're not going to jump off the roof or show up to work in sweatpants, then you're in business.  Some necessary steps in keeping it together:

  1. Set a work-out routine and stick to it.  Put your daily workouts in your planner or Blackberry or whatever, and make sure you do them.  If you have a vigorous workout in the morning, you're going to have a better outlook on the day (my inner monologue goes something like "well, it's 10:30 am and I've accomplished something, so today is not a complete failure).  Working out will give you more energy, give you a sense of accomplishment, keep your clothes from feeling the effects of your Ben-and-Jerry's-habit, and practically guarantee that you will shower and put real clothes on.
  2. Don't neglect necessary things just because you're depressed, there is a crisis, or you don't have your usual income.  Make sure you get your hair cut/colored.  Get your dry cleaning done.  Try to eat a balanced diet.  If you need to go shopping, go shopping; just make sure that you are smart about it.
  3. Set yourself a minimum number of social activities for the week.  Hit a happy hour, go to a friend's apartment, or grab coffee with someone.  Make sure you keep up the phone calls to the college roommate across the country, and your mom, your grandma, etc.  
I guess the moral of the story is that you have to keep up appearances and keep living your life, and before you know it, things will get better

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