Sometimes I sit down to write one of these articles, and I have no friggin’ clue what I want to write about. One the other hand, this week’s article is on the opposite side of that coin.
I’ve got way too much to write about.
I could write about how my new job is challenging me in ways I never thought possible. From the physical nature of the work, to the fact that I’ve been getting off at midnight, in bed usually close to 2 am, it’s been challenging me in ways I didn’t think possible.
I could write about the disturbing picture I saw on my social media this past week of the former love of my life (the one I called Potential for so very long.) This picture was of her and her new boyfriend. The less I say about this, the better.
I could go on and on about the fear and anxiety of my financial situation, the fact that I’m hopelessly single, or the fact that my life seems stuck in the mud.
I could do all that.
But I won’t.
What we’re going to do this week is pull back and look at the big picture. And I specifically want to address the men reading this piece.
There’s tons of material on the information superhighway about this topic which is geared toward women. But very little of this information is geared toward men.
Traditionally, men are supposed to shoulder the burden of being a provider. Having a steady job and steady income which allows him to take care of his tribe. While women are moving more and more into leadership roles in the world, men are traditionally seen in this role of being a provider.
And shouldering this burden can mean sleepless nights. It can mean anxiety and worry. It can also mean fear.
And it also means not being able to turn to anyone and say “I’m hurting. I need help.” Lest you be accused of being weak or a b*tch…so to speak.
The men who sacrifice themselves to the point of exhaustion and wellbeing breakdown become angry, bitter, and frustrated with the world and with their lives.
This is my way of saying, my wellbeing is in shambles right now. I’m not sleeping. I’m feeling disconnected from everybody except for the people at my new job.
You may think you can hide this, but you can’t. Lord knows, you can’t.
A few mornings ago, I woke up with a migraine. I thought I could fight through it, but that was a mistake. And during a call with a client that afternoon, she reflected back to me “Ryan, you seem off…” Well dang…I sure was.
I was reflecting to a different client a few days ago how getting back to the basics can support in terms of leaning into your own authenticity and creation. I see it as literally getting reconnected with your spirit.
So, it’s time to practice a little what I preach. Today, I want to go over five practices I’m taking on to feed my wellbeing in this time of chaos and fear in my own life. And make no mistake, the chaos and fear is real. It’s spectacular. And it’s a giant pink elephant in the room dancing the cha-cha-cha.
- Practice radical gratitude. Yesterday, I’m waiting on the bus to go to work (my car is currently out of commission.) My bus was late, causing me to be late for work. The old Ryan would have run from this. Honestly, the old Ryan would’ve been incredibly angry about this. As I’m waiting on the bus, I took a moment. I took a deep breath. And I leaned into gratitude. So, when you find yourself feeling drained and run down, look at your life and answer these three statements:
- Name one thing in your life that you’re grateful for, and why.
- Name one person in your life that you’re grateful for, and why.
- Name one adversity in your life that you’re grateful for, and why.
- Let yourself feel what you feel. If you need to scream, scream. If you need to rage out and break s***, be safe about it but grab your sledgehammer or baseball bat or your golf bag. If you need to cry, let your eyes leak, gentlemen! There’s nothing wrong with feeling however you feel. There’s nothing wrong with expressing these feelings. It’s like the great Fred Rogers once wrote: “They’re part of who we are, and their origins are beyond our control.”
- Get reconnected. This can look however you want it to look. But whenever I get into a burnout situation, this means I am disconnected from something. Is it my purpose? Is it a disconnection from nature? Is it disconnection from friends or family? Whatever it is, reclaim it! Go to the gym and throw around some heavy weights. Hit the yoga mat and perform a few sun salutations. Go for a walk in a nearby park. Go sing karaoke. Call that person you want to call but might not have the courage to do so. Go a 12-step meeting. Call your 12-step sponsor. Ask yourself “What do I need?” and go get it!
- Here I go talking about play again like I’m some sort of an amateur phycologist. But it’s true. Your inner child isn’t so much tugging at your shirt sleeve trying to get your attention. Your inner child is begging and pleading for you to do something with him. Even if you don’t have a dog, go to a dog park and throw a ball around. Play a round of golf with a friend. Heck get online and play Super Mario Maker or Madden and talk trash. Get into your heart and play!
- Do not do this alone! I remember a piece I wrote for the Good Men Project a couple years ago about Robin Williams’ suicide in reference to Chris Cornell’s suicide. And in that piece, I wrote “disconnection is the enemy of the guy in trouble. Nobody needs to face their problems alone.” When you get in trouble, this isn’t a sign you need to dig in and go into bunker mode…alone. This is the time to get someone in your foxhole with you.
Are you feeling hopeless? Scared? Exhausted but not sleeping? Gaining weight but not overeating? Constantly getting sick?
These things and more can be caused by not being aligned with your wellbeing.
Get present to what you need. Get back to being you.
Trust me on this…it’ll save you!
As Eleanor Brown wrote: “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”