The Recovering Farmer

Monday, January 3, 2022

Happy New Year, Maybe

 Happy new year to you. But is it? A mere ten hours in and I already wanted a restart. Woke up to no hot water. Instant headache and anger and helplessness. A quick flashback to my farming days when these kinds of things would happen at the barn on days when it was most inconvenient. Thank goodness I didn’t make any new year resolution because as sure as “you know what” I would already be done with them. What’s the use? So I just expressed my agitation about the hot water tank to my wife. In a matter of fact way, she just told me that these things never happened when its convenient. She continued by comparing it to people dying. She said that never happens when its convenient. Not sure that was helpful.

Our Christmas was ruined because one of the kids was sick. Went for a rapid test and tested positive. Isolated at home waiting for the results of a PCR test. His test came back negative, but our Christmas was over by then. So we wanted to try again over the new year. (In the future when someone reads what I just wrote they will scratch their heads and wonder what really went on in 2021)

Clearly this new year is no different than the old. I have said this before. We spend a lot of time reflecting on the past year. Social media is rife with people celebrating the coming of the new year. In this time of pandemic there is hope for an end in this new year. But when we wake up on January 1, the only thing that has changed is the date on the calendar. Everything else is the same.

Okay. I know. I sound defeated. Social media is rife with people talking about mental health and the negative effect the pandemic has had on pretty much everyone. Again, it doesn’t matter what your bias may be regarding everything pandemic, the effects on your mental health can be significant.

As these thoughts swirled through my head, I remembered an appointment I had numerous years ago. It too, was when I felt down. As I commiserated with the psychologist, he looked at me and said he was not surprised I was feeling the way I was. He suggested that the work I do, often dealing with negative energy, was having an impact on my mental health. He informed me that it was draining my emotional gas tank.

What exactly is an emotional gas tank? I have mentioned it before. Just like your car needs fuel your emotions need fuel. How about your body? What happens if you don’t eat or don’t eat properly? You get physically tired. You become run down. Your immunity goes down. You are more susceptible to sickness. So, too, your emotional health is directly linked to keeping gas in the tank. When the emotional gas tank runs dry you will find yourself becoming irritable, angry, low patience, no desire to socialize, lack of motivation, always feeling tired, among others. The challenge is to find ways to keep at the very least, some “gas in the tank”.

Clearly my question is, how can I get some gas in the emotional tank? Not easy these days. With the cold weather, working from home, not being able to socialize much, it is a challenge. The key is to find those things that do bring some pleasure. So I spent time together with my kids and grandkids for two days. It was busy, it got loud but for those two days I was able to forget about the cares and worries of life. It did put some gas in the tank. And now I will wait for spring. It is around the corner, right? Make it a good one.

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