This time of year is especially hectic and can really take a toll on peoples mental health. It’s a good time to practise self care and also extremly hard to do at the same time. Between work (for those of us in service industries), shopping, avoiding other peoples drama and preparing for whatever celebrations you have going on it’s a lot. While it’s easy for people to say ‘shake it off’ not everyone can.
It’s at this time of year I have to try extra hard with my self care. I work in hospitality and deal with people one on one every damn day. It’s never a small amount of people at once, they are stressed and I end up copping other peoples stress. It honestly puts me into an emotional overload and my usual forms of self care like bubble baths and visiting the library don’t work or get harder to do.
So what in the actual fuck do I do then?
Well I didn’t realise it but I abide what I have seen referred to as the fork theory on a Facebook post (I didn’t make it up but the analogy works). Now people with chronic illnesses often refer to themselves as spoonies. You have a finitae amount of spoons and you give them out until sometimes you dont have enough left. I’ve also heard this referred to as fuckanomics. You have poorly budgeted the fucks you have to give in any one day and run out too early or have overdrawn on said fucks and can’t catch up.
However the fork theory is much more proactive. It works out kinda like a jelly with a bunch of forks in it. You hit one and they all wobble. The fork theory suggests you take one of those forks out and it reduces the likelyhood of you boiling over because the forks are banging togther. For example you have a to do list a mile long and some cretin just asked you to do one more thing. You’re about to give up the will to live and ask them how you’re supposed to bend time and space to fit all this shit in but you don’t. You know what you can do? Take the smallest fork out of the wobbly jelly be that plucking your eyebrows, having a shower because you feel gross, putting a load of washing on, emptying the dishwasher. One less damn fork. Then maybe look for a couple more little forks until you’re ready to tackle a bigger fork. When there are less forks and you’re in a better mindset then kick in with a bubble bath or sitting quietly for 10 minutes. Little by little, fork by fork claim back your sanity.
I do the same thing at work. I have 50 million things happening at once. Fixing tills, taking orders, plating food, trouble shooting. A lot of trouble shooting. Sometimes its enough to make you want to rip your own head off. All it takes is taking 30 seconds and writing a change reciept, taking a hydration break or changing out my till roll and I’m back to square. That means when someone has a bigger problem it’s not making to make me want to sit on the floor and question my life choices.
So over this silly season take a fork out and see how you go.