R.E.S.C. What it means to me #7Habits #Mentalhealth


One of the things that is asked of you with the 7 habits is to create a Mission Statement. Figure out what is truly important to you and then write that down in the form of a statement, a manifesto if you will, that you can use as a guideline for decisions moving forward. I have spent some time working on this. And came up with my four guiding principles that I want to use to guide my life moving forward.

Respect

I will live my life and make decisions that show respect. Not just for others but also myself. For others that may mean treating others with respect. From dealing with them honestly and openly, to respecting their choices and decisions. I may not always agree with others choices, but I can at least show respect for them. This can mean something as simple as showing up on time (or a little early) for planned events. To being as nuanced as not speaking ill of those who have made choices I may not agree with. That is a lot harder than it seems. And is a goal which I strive for, I am not all the way there yet by a long shot.

I will also begin treating myself with respect. That means making choices and decisions that are best for me. Eating better. Getting more exercise. Sleeping better. Making sure I practice proactive self-care.

Encourage

I will encourage others and myself. When someone wishes to do something I will encourage them. If they are working on a project that does not directly involve me I can seek to encourage them. This can be as simple as a pat on the back for my co-workers when they are dealing with a difficult customer. Or as long term as working with my family members in log term activities like school, work, Scouting.

This does not mean I have to act as a constant cheerleader. But I can still do my part to encourage folks when they undertake activities. Telling my kids I know they can get themselves a meal instead of relying on the parents.

Sharing

I have been on this planet for 50 plus years. I have had an extensive education. I have worked a variety of jobs. And consider myself to be pretty well read on a variety of topics. In short, I know things (although I do not drink). The thing about all that knowledge is that it is useless if I do not share it. So my fourth principle is to share what I know.

As a father, one of my main jobs is to teach my kids. From something as simple as tying a shoelace, to as complex as how to write a coherent essay. As a husband, my wife and I are constantly teaching each other things (even after 20 some years.) At work, I have learned that teaching others what I know has the benefit of solving problems ahead of time which reduces everyone’s workload.

Curiosity 

I know a lot. But that does not mean I know it all. I think that one of the hallmarks of success for me is to keep learning. That could be learning how to do something at work that benefits my position there. Or just learning something that I can share with my colleagues.

It could be as meaningful as learning about the complex nuances of current events: local, national and international. Or it could be as mundane as learning who acted in a current movie or who a certain player is playing for. Or it could be about learning to play a new game or a different way of playing a game I already know. It all comes down to keeping an open and inquisitive mind. Because there is always something new out there to learn about.

Those are the guiding principles I choose to follow. That will affect my choices and decisions. Should I agree to do this new project for the Scouts? Who does the cooking and cleaning around the house? What am I doing for a vacation? I can look to my 4 principles to determine the answers to those questions.

What is going on? #Mentalhealth


Whoa FRG, where have you been? What is up with all the silence? Inquiring minds want to know.

I have been working, working hard. And enjoying what I would call the next step in a process. Also exploring some alternatives. It has been very good.

First, I have been working very hard at the new job. I have mentioned before, but my current work is far busier than my previous job. There is a constant flow of calls that keep me busy. Which is a good thing, because I can really focus on work.

I have also been working very hard at perfecting my skills at the job. I thought that I was good at customer service. And I was. But it had been a long time since I had to really focus on the customer part, instead, I had been focused on the service side of things. So I have been spending the last couple of months focusing on the customer side of the call. Learning new skills and really challenging myself to improve. It was not easy. There were times that I despaired. However, the week before I took this recent vacation I saw the result of all that work. I was promoted to Tier 2, which is the next level at my work and comes with a raise. That was really satisfying. It had been a long time since I had really focused my attention on learning skills specifically for work.

Second, if I think of my mental state as a work in progress, then over the last few months I have moved to a different stage. When I was at my lowest stages of Depression and Anxiety this blog was an outlet. It allowed me to really think through a lot of stuff. It helped me to identify where I was at.

In the last few months, I have begun to actively begin to address what I can in my life to move past those stages. Instead of coping and learning to adapt to who I am, now I am focused on actual improvements. That is a big step. It is about taking preventive steps instead of focusing on protection.

At my work, we have been working our way through the 7 Steps of Highly Effective People. I have been reading my way through the book. Which is helping me work on prevention, instead of reacting to my mental illness.

All of this means that the reason I have not been writing as much is due to my taking a more active role in life. Being proactive about the things in my life that create anxiety and depression. I still have to live with those. But if I work at the 7 steps, I can begin to live more of my life rather than focusing on protecting myself from those dreadful parts of my life.

I plan to keep writing. I hope to use this blog as a space to share the ways I implement the 7 habits. And of course keep up family updates. Stay tuned for more writing. 

A new and different view #Life #Mentalhealth


thumb_img_0030_1024

This has been the view from my back porch fo many years. Crowded with a ragged tree and lilac bush. Sure it provided shade. It also resulted in a constant littering of the ground with leaves, limbs, and trash. It was cluttered, and a constant fight every year to hack out a reasonable path to our storage shed and upper lawn.

thumb_img_0035_1024

Here is the view down the fence line with our neighbor’s house. You can see the dogs pen. This is a nice little patch of ground. But it has suffered from being overshaded. Filled up with trash and dog poop. It is probably the best patch of soil in our yard but you could never tell because of all the overgrowth.

thumb_img_0040_1024

Here is that view now. Clean and uncluttered. One can see the shed. The landscaping we had done many years ago is no longer hidden. It is a new way of seeing the back yard.

thumb_img_0044_1024

Now we can see the fence line. The yard is no longer overcome by shade trees. We can see the work our neighbor put into his own back yard landscaping. And the aesthetic benefits of that earlier mentioned landscaping is visible here as well.

Several years ago I wrote about how yard work and landscaping projects are a fluid thing. You can never actually say it is done because you are dealing with living things and the dynamics of weather, erosion, traffic etc. This makes any yard project like life. Change is everywhere. One must learn to accept and adapt to change.

For example, we are going through some changes at work this week. Bringing in a new hire class for my group. Changing where we park every morning. I could view these changes as a threat to how well I am feeling about my work. I could be upset about how my commute just got increased. I could fret that I will end up with a new manager. Yet I am not feeling any of these things.

I know it is strange for someone who suffers from OCD, anxiety, and depression to be so willing to accept change. It is not that those feelings have gone away. However, as I have learned to accept and deal with those feelings I have figured out how to live with such change.

Just like I am embracing a cleaner, less cluttered view of my yard and landscaping. I am glad to be a part of a growing company with a growing department that is bringing in large new classes. I have the opportunity to add some daily exercise by walking to and from the new parking lot on nice weather days. Just like there is now the chance that a part of the yard that is no longer hidden and overgrown can now flourish with greater sunlight and exposure.

Yes, life means change. Some change can be daunting and difficult. But choosing to focus on the positive and the not on the negatives is a choice we can all make. It is not always the easiest option, but it is an option that is available.

Finding a new puzzle #Life #Mentalhealth #Work


Good morning as we mark another milestone today. It was an interesting week, Plenty of challenges for everyone. I had yet another epiphany at work. All in all a good week.

I am up early for a dropoff for the last JV wrestling tournament of the season for Number One Son. It has been a good season for him. A season of growth and improvements. He had some tastes of Varsity. Some very good tournaments. He continues to get better and better. I am happy to see such growth. I foresee a bright future for him with the sport if he remains focused. But I for one will be glad to have my Saturdays back after today.

Number One Daughter had a very good but very busy first week of Cookie sales. She is nearly 25% of the way toward her goal! It has been exhausting to get there. Especially for Kim. But we have remained cheerful, and are getting the daily practice of reconciling inventory down to a science. In a way, it is just another project for us to do together, which we always enjoy. Something about the collaboration brings out the best in our relationship.

Number Two Son has hung in there in recent weeks. This can be a difficult time of year for him. With his sibling occupying the majority of our attention. We have recognized this and are doing what we can with him. Including his return to therapy.  And we also know that once wrestling and cookie season end we need to give him some special emphasis.

My work continues to get better. It is not without challenges. But the challenges are actually very interesting for me. I even had the revelation this week that at this time in my life I prefer to solve people over software. It is more appealing and interesting to me to try to find different ways of talking with my customers and making them happy than it was to solve software issues.

This marks the third week of having epiphanies at work. Ideas and solutions that came to me. It is really quite cool to be at a job that challenges me on so many levels. In retrospect, I think that losing my former job and having to come to this new job was one of the better things that could have happened for me. My health is better. My mental health has improved. And I actually look forward to the work.

There are challenges to be sure. Tuesday my brain decided it would be fun to start the day with a manic state. Which made the calls extra challenging. And exhausting. Some calls are definitely better than others. But I enjoy it overall.

So life proceeds. We mark transitions from wrestling to cookie season. We make do when mechanical issues challenge us. We work together to improve our lives and have some fun while we are at it.

 

What’s going on? #life #mentalhealth


Where have I been? Well, work has been very good. There has been sickness. There has been car trouble. Yet we have adapted and overcome. I even handled a bit of real anxiety in the midst of all this.

Work has its challenges. But it has not been dull or tedious. I have really begun to dig into the meat of the work. Making a serious mental effort to improve. The key for me has been finding a way to make the information real so when I explain things I will be persuasive. It’s a very different kind of work than I was doing before. However, I find the work more interesting, While the difficult parts present a unique kind of work.

This week a plague descended upon our house. All three kids were home from school on Tuesday. Number One son was hit the hardest. He ended up missing 4 days of school, which meant 2 wrestling meets out the door. It made mornings hard for me as I would try to get him to get up and go. Which meant I had to start every morning with a battle.

That led to my fighting a case of anxiety. It was tough. I managed to make it through. I even managed to work through it all. I am really happy with how I handled that because there were so many stressors at work at once. Kids sick, car trouble, adapting to work. I took it all, figured it out and managed it without too much trouble.

Yeah, my car gave me some trouble this week. In fact, I have to take it back next week. Which was a big pain in the neck. But nearly as bad is it would be without the aid of parents who were willing to loan vehicles out.

So I made it through the last 2 weeks intact. And now I get to look forward to the craziness of Girl Scout cookie season. In fact, as I sit and type this my nostrils are filled with the scent of cardboard from the stacks of cookies filling up the room. I will regale you with more stories about that tomorrow as I plan for a double post weekend to make up for last weekend.

To recap, I made it through family illness, transportation problems, anxiety trouble to say that it was a good couple of weeks. I have the joy of continual challenge at work. Family health is recovering. I am moving more, feeling better physically. In short, life is good.

 

Routine resumes #Life #Mentalhealth


Finally had a full week. The kids had a full week of school. I had my first full week of work on the floor. The kids were mostly able to return to their normal sleeping arrangements. About the only thing missing was the regular Monday events because of the crazy wind storm that shut the schools down. It felt good.

My first full week of regular work went very well. I continue to shine in the basics. With most every call I can feel myself getting better. The calls get easier. I can foresee doing this for quite a while.

The kids all made it through their first (mostly) full week of school. Which went well. No traumas. Jimmy even had a chance to wrestle with the Varsity at their dual. He wrestled well but lost. The kids all seemed to adjust to the new reality of Dad working again.

Kim even undertook the project of getting our room rearranged. Setting up her new entertainment options in there. The goal being for her (and us) to have the option of a place where we can go and hide away when necessary.

I don’t want to go overboard, but I feel good about where we all are. I don’t have the same feelings of boredom and tedium I had at my last job. While there is a general undercurrent of worry about politics it is not a constant preoccupation. I am not letting sports occupy my time either. (Although I am impressed by the choices my teams made for their new head coaches.) In general, my mind has happily been focused on work, and role playing. Which is a good place to be in for me, living in the now where I have control of what I am doing.

It is still just the first real week of the New Year, but the return to a routine felt good. And the new elements of that routine are improved and manageable.

It is a dark and snowy morning to ponder the week past #life #Mentalhealth #Kids


Got up especially early this morning. Had to get Number One son off to the bus for wrestling. Freerangewife will then take Number two son to a Scouting event, Later a trip to Denver to watch aforementioned wrestling will be on top. While Freerangewife takes the girl for some shopping and then eventually her own scouting event. All of this activity will take place on a morning and day where the expected high temperature is barely out of the single digits, and there are a couple of inches on the ground and drifting into higher levels. All of this activity is a frantic way to spend the first true weekend day that the Freerangegeek has to experience in nearly 4 months.

It was a different week for the Freerangegeek. For a variety of reasons, he prefers not to give the actual name of his new place of employment here. But he is quite pleased with how the first week went. It was a full week of rather intense training. He made sure that he grokked what was being taught by taking the time each evening to type out all his notes.

It will be simultaneously similar and very different work from what he has been doing most of his adult life. He will be in a call center taking inbound calls from customers. He will be tethered to a computer and desk. In these ways, his job will be much the same.

But he will be allowed, encouraged even, to have real conversations with his customers. And he will be speaking to them about real life things instead of focused on the esoterica of their computer software issues. He is excited about this difference. Because he is at the right stage in his life, with the kind of life experiences that will make this much easier.

Not surprisingly he has found that he is surrounded by people younger than him, in some cases much younger. This does not bother him as much as it could. In some ways, it even energizes him. And it also allows him to shine as his maturity and experience make a real difference.

The schedule is also encouragingly busy. With fewer breaks and shorter lunches. There is less of an opportunity for him to fall back into certain bad habits. In fact, it even looks as if there will be a chance to develop better habits as he can eat better and take advantage of the exercise equipment available to him.

His biggest concern, that spending all that time surrounded by people, would overwhelm him. That has not bothered him as much as expected. He handled it well. And there promises to be ways for him to escape when needed. Most importantly, this job prizes the traits that he possesses: punctuality, ability to focus on work when he is there, and work hard.

All in all, it was a good week. Work went well. The family adapted well to his absence. It is an especially hectic time of year to make this transition. But surviving this at this time will only sharpen everyone’s ability to make the best of it once everything else settles down some. He is very encouraged by how well it all went, and for the first time in a quite a while he is excited by what the future holds for him, not just his family.