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  • Writer's pictureBen R

Coming out of a frozen state...slowly

The birds are chirping, the temperatures are rising, and the first signs of buds on trees are making themselves known.

Just kidding. Not here in SE Minnesota. It's only February 13th.

But..I feel we are heading slowly toward Spring, and a thawing of my Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I have never been a fan of winter and it's more than just freezing temperatures that get to me.

People are crabby and in turn that makes me crabby, tired, irritable.

Even though I've noticed we seem to be having more, consistent mild winters here, winter itself still drains you.

It takes a lot to get people in this region motivated enough to make change or continue on with something. Then you have winter (shorter days, cold temps, less sunlight) and you've created a sloth.

For me, I'm learning that I just got to keep my head up as high as I can. To push forward with the daily grind, while doing things that keep me, not only sane, but bring about happiness.

This year I'm making it a top priority that my self care does not get neglected.

For many of us, the last two years have been extra difficult. Way too much for an individual blog post to talk about. Honestly, just read my blog posts from March of 2020 to May of 2021 and you will know where my world has been.

I don't think Covid is going away and to me, that's understandable given the "scribbling" that society has dealt with the pandemic. We have a new normal now.

I've done my dual diligence these past (almost) two years. I'm vaccinated to the max and will deal with side effects of what will likely be at least an annual jab addition to whatever vaccines I've normally gotten each year. I feel immensely grateful that I seem to avoid all the variants. Crossing my fingers this continues on, as I've seen and talked to others who are vaxxed at various levels and are dealing with unpleasant side effects.

I'm ready to move on to a new normal. It's mid February and even though that damn groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, once again said six more weeks of winter, I feel that I'm thawing a little earlier this year.

I'm ready to start a new outdoor cycling season. I'm working on elements indoors that will hopefully transfer to being a stronger rider outdoors.

Work, despite it being busy and complicated at times, is going relatively well. We recently passed the 6 months of being officially open to the public. While not everything runs as smoothly as I like, we are still in the "new" phase and I feel we have a good group of workers. It can be quite draining at times. Lately, I feel that I've been doing a good job of just being there for the people we serve. Yes, you will get some backhanded comments here and there, but I'm learning to take it less personal. I don't know their story as they are dealing with mental health, so I know it's not really "me" but whatever circumstances they're currently dealing with. This is by no means an easy mindset to master, especially when you are a bit sensitive to feedback. One of the things I took a bit of a risk on a couple months ago was being upfront and transparent with management. I let them know that I have a tendency to read into things that are not true. The mind plays cruel tricks on you sometimes, especially with one's mental health. I'm learning and realizing, that most people aren't thinking of you in a "boxed manner" that you may suspect they are. A lot of us are, especially in these times, in self-preservation mode. We are trying to make it through one day at a time.

The original tagline I had for The Upstairs Battle, "You Are Not Alone. Together, We Are Stronger" is true, BUT I prefer the individual concept of: one day at a time and taking baby steps. Yes, we must let and demonstrate to others that they're not alone, but I think that's becoming more understood in today's society. Since mental illness and all the various forms of it can often be viewed as someone being all over the place, the idea of One Day at a Time I think is a good, for a viewpoint, "trap" on working with the emotions/feelings of one's diagnosis. Looking at something in present/today, instead of the next several days out, two weeks out, a month, or year, can give a person more control over their mind. Obviously, many of life's situations require us to plan ahead. But it can be difficult to near impossible to do so if one can't really function in day to day life. By learning how to function one day at a time, I think people can learn to better plan life the way they want it.

One thing I'm really wanting to have again is a social life. I've put it on a back burner for these last couple of years. I've had little social interaction outside of work. While I'm introverted by nature, I want to build relationships, and not just ones work-related.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue to grind through the rest of this winter season. Got a lot of work days to finish off this month, but the reward is a trip to Vegas at the beginning of March.

Keep learning and doing you, one day at a time. Baby steps.

- Ben

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