I spent three weeks on vacation recently. I returned home and expected everything would return to normal in just a day or two. It hasn’t. However, in pondering the return to normal, I decided that it may never happen.
We have short memories. They tend to remember the good and cancel the bad moments on many occasions. We remember things better than they were at the time. We will never return to the ‘good ole days’. The genie has been taken out of that bottle. We’ll never see him again.
We tend to live for nostalgia. It’s a very powerful feeling in us. We fit the past into the present and carve out the inconveniences of the past and replace them with the reality of today. This gets compounded when today’s environment is less than we want.
Two decades ago people wanted to ‘live’ in the good ole days. Two decades before then the same theme flowed through peoples’ minds. It was always better in the past, even if you didn’t have indoor plumbing.
Even my situation where I wanted a return to ‘normal’ isn’t happening. Normal is fleeting. Business, family, social and other demands require our time. Many times, we just want to stop and take a break. We get stressed and don’t take the actions required to eliminate or minimize those stressors in our lives.
Stress is insidious. It accumulates daily. Unless we do something specifically to counter it, stress will build and build. Look at our bellies. It is a good indicator of how well people handle stress. Stress creates cortisol in our bodies. Cortisol loves to store fat. There are four times more cortisol fat storage cells in our abdominal areas than anywhere else in our bodies.
Pudgy waists aren’t the only indicator of stress. Headaches, neck pain, frequent colds, worry, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration, insomnia, feeling overwhelmed, forgetfulness, overreaction and many more mental and physical signs and symptoms describe the effects of stress on us. As we have less time to do things, stress continues to build. It never ends. As a result, the ‘normal’ in our lives never returns.
Is it possible to attain the ‘normal’ in our lives? Yes, but it requires a lot more action than it did when we first achieved it. We are distracted by current technology many times a day – e-mail, texts, video games, television, phone calls, social media, etc.
Take a thirty-day vacation from television, especially any type of news programs. News outlets rely on stressful situations to command audience attention – if it bleeds, it leads. If something in the world was truly eminent, someone will tell you.
You gain extra time from the television that you are not watching. It is especially stress reducing when you don’t watch or listen to news-type programs before going to bed. Our subconscious minds never sleep. They will rehash those news items while you attempt to go to sleep and add more stress to your lives.
Unless you require the phone as part of your job, turn it off. Most phones have messaging. And, if not, there is a record of who called and when. Turn on social media at specific times. Set the timer on your phone to surf the web or social media sites for a specific number of minutes. When it alarms, shut your phone down again.
Make a hard date for dinner with the family. Commit to changing your norm. It is easy to allow distractions to eat up time and then there isn’t any when you want it.
I am trying to return to or adjust my current day’s schedule to fit a lifestyle that maybe didn’t exist at all. Maybe it was just a figment of my imagination. Maybe I’m trying to capture something that doesn’t exist in my world.
Regardless, we can carve bits and pieces of time to make a change. But, we must make those changes to our current norm to approach what we think we want. Choices have consequences!