As you continue to read, imagine we are talking. I will be me and you be you. It is perfectly fine as you digest what you have taken in and begin to give it meaning that you change roles. Maybe you are me, maybe you are still you thinking about a time that you have talked to a me in your life. Maybe this makes no sense to you and you are still reading because dammit, you are intrigued.

“How about that weather?” 

-“Weather” never ceases to exist, and at some point in the past, whether it be recent or not, you and I both have experienced it before. What about the jet stream? Or climate change? What about clear skies and starry nights?

“Whew, long day huh?”

-Each and every day is a measurement of time, which is finite. This day is the same in length as other days. Are you tired? Overworked? Underwhelmed? It’s not a long day. Maybe you need a hug, or a nap.

Well, it IS Monday!”

– Yes, every week. Monday continuously happens. I believe Garfield also hated Mondays. Whatever stuggle is being tied to “Monday” is likely unconnected. Commiting a robery? Well, it’s Monday! Thursday and you would’ve been in a real pickle. Stub your toe? Wreck your car? No, you did not succumb to an interruption of situational awareness. It’s Monday!

“The rain! The heat! The wind! The ultraviolet rays! It’s cold! I’m melting! Are my elbows sweating?”

I simply cannot. No, I can. Because like some social psychopath I have studied the ways of the people in an attempt to appear normal when I’m approached with small talk. If you’re at all familiar with my background and think I should have a better, more professional, and possibly concise way of describing that feeling, I do not.

I crave connection. Meaningful connection. A long conversation about the weather, or current projects, or about what joys and troubles the time reminds us of, I can do that. Too often, “How are you?” is uttered in such a rush that it becomes something to say instead of an invitation to empathy. I feel the same way about “I’m sorry.” You can read about that too: I Stopped Saying I’m Sorry

I like “Hello’s”. If the purpose of sharing a phrase is to acknowledge another person, that does just the trick. If you ask me (or someone like me) a follow up question, then a stream of thoughts, feelings, memories, and connections start that I am unable to stop. A little obsessive? Maybe. I would love to share with you a funny anecdote or a great article I read. I could be tired, and maybe in that moment what I need is for someone to simply let me know that whatever struggle is present will pass. There could be no negative, it could be a really great day and what I would love to share is hope. I can have a really great conversation about any number of things.

The interaction is so mechanical. Let’s talk about research and your interests. Ten or one thousand small, meaningless interactions make me tired. Repeated stimulation with no resolve, makes me tired. So that I can avoid being a bother, I shut off.

In my limited time, I have learned a few ways to combat the way small talk makes me feel.

  • Make eye contact. Acknowledge that someone exists. If you’re shy (and I mean that in a way that someone is shy and experiences a real fear when interacting with people) maybe try it once. Let it happen and see how it works. 
  •  If you’re going to engage in small talk, see it through. Don’t say something for the sake of making noise.
  •  (THIS ONE IS ME!) If silence makes you uncomfortable, practice. I’ve worried myself countless times wondering if the silence wasn’t filled would somebody spot that I am a person that lives with depression or anxiety or due dates or I haven’t folded the laundry that I washed 3 whole days ago. I engage in public speaking more than I would have told you I was willing to 10 years ago. It has taken a long time to learn how to just hush instead of using fillers like “like” and “ummmmmm”. Pause is ok.
  • You love small talk. Don’t get irritated when you say something and the recipient wants to engage. Otherwise, pause.
  • I am inspired by people that make other people feel important. The key ingredient is time. Giving someone your time is a gift that cannot be replaced.

How do you feel about small talk? Any additional tips or thoughts?

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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Friday night, a closet full of paint and canvas, and a desire to create. The house is quiet and the weekend requires very little of me. Diving into self care includes dirty fingernails, hair in a knot, and glasses on.

I love intricate works of art. Creations from an astute perspective. I appreciate those things from other people. My patience runs thin and if I am unable to finish a (craft) project in a fairly short amount of time, I am unlikely to stay focused. Abstracts are fun. I think it gives the viewer the ability to creatively finish a piece of work on their own, so each interpretation is unique.

The inspiration is personal. The drive is a desire to see myself reflected in work. While most, if not all, are a great deal dissimilar from myself, I am inspired and pleased by art that reflects what I experience every day.

As a supporter of body positivity and a widespread acceptance of comfort in what the body is capable of, I enjoy sketching, painting, crafting, writing, and the like. I am not an artist by trade, but we are all capable of something beautiful. The first piece featured below is a 10 minute sketch followed by acrylic on canvas at about a two hour completion time. Enjoy!

Pencil Sketch
Phase one: Just put color to canvas….
Can you see the Minecraft Game Board down there? 🙂
I love her in color……
But She’s a Stunning monochrome…

“Cheeky”

16×20 Acrylic on Canvas

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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3) Boundaries. Set them...

You are not available 24 hours a day. Look back at the bubbles. Outside of that centralized area where you take care of yourself and then the people closest to you, boundary.

We are not available, exhaustible resources.

One night, when I could not sleep, I checked my email. At roughly 4 AM, I had inadvertently engaged in conversation with a student. (If said student happens to read this..It’s all good, I’m just making a point.) I have made an effort to stop engaging in everything at all hours of the day. There are times I need to focus on work, and I am paid to do so. There are other times where I need to be present for myself and my family. The reward outweighs the paycheck. Other times, I am a student. This is important to me and deserves my mostly undivided attention from time to time ( a lot of time).

But, time is finite, and there are only 24 hours in a day.

Prioritize- and be firm-

2) Shut off…

I share a lot. I do not share everything. There is value in sharing feelings and experiences, but you do not get all of it.

How amazing is it that at any hour of any day all over the world we can be connected to people and news and events and opinions and criticisms and nonsense and so on? Stop it from time to time and connect with reality.

To put words into practice, try:

  • shutting off your phone
    • disconnect your email so you can only focus on the content when you are ready (make sure you make time to be ready)
    • turn off notifications
      • check all of your media (social and otherwise) when you are ready. Disconnect from the dings, lights, and vibrations
  • stepping away from the computer
    • give an hour (or more) a day to being at the computer to deal with what needs to be dealt with there
  • turn off the TV
    • I do not watch much TV, but it does provide background noise pretty often. Still ok to turn the thing off

1) Practice Patience…

…and recharge. Set the example when you are on information overload. Outside of an absolute emergency, people can wait, and so can you. Set priorities. If you need to answer something by the end of the day, do that. If you need to check 3 times and day and provide feedback, do that. When you are “off”, be off. Do not compromise the integrity of the many positions that you hold.

Make your contributions meaningful, not half-assed.

A few extras…

I have found something that I absolutely love. My Apple Watch to the rescue when I need to focus or if I’m feeling extra anxious. The “Breathe” app has been amazing. The program includes a graphic representation of an expanding image to coincide with inhaling. The watch also pulses along with the inhale. Why is this amazing?

There is something to pull focus away from whatever is overwhelming. I used this for the first time just before a flight. Now, I use this in public, at home, or wherever I need a second to center. Nobody knows what I’m doing, because I’m just breathing, The pull away from outside stimuli whether real or perceived that triggers anxiety (BTW, thanks anxiety!) is helpful.

You are able to set the duration from 1 minute to 5 minutes of focused breathing. My favorite practice is to set it for 5 minutes, and go ahead and reset once that is over.

For the watch I own:
Apple Watch

If you are not into apple products, it looks like Fitbit has a comparable feature:
FitBit

 

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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3) Boundaries. Set them...

You are not available 24 hours a day. Look back at the bubbles. Outside of that centralized area where you take care of yourself and then the people closest to you, boundary.

We are not available, exhaustible resources.

One night, when I could not sleep, I checked my email. At roughly 4 AM, I had inadvertently engaged in conversation with a student. (If said student happens to read this..It’s all good, I’m just making a point.) I have made an effort to stop engaging in everything at all hours of the day. There are times I need to focus on work, and I am paid to do so. There are other times where I need to be present for myself and my family. The reward outweighs the paycheck. Other times, I am a student. This is important to me and deserves my mostly undivided attention from time to time ( a lot of time).

But, time is finite, and there are only 24 hours in a day.

Prioritize- and be firm-

2) Shut off…

I share a lot. I do not share everything. There is value in sharing feelings and experiences, but you do not get all of it.

How amazing is it that at any hour of any day all over the world we can be connected to people and news and events and opinions and criticisms and nonsense and so on? Stop it from time to time and connect with reality.

To put words into practice, try:

  • shutting off your phone
    • disconnect your email so you can only focus on the content when you are ready (make sure you make time to be ready)
    • turn off notifications
      • check all of your media (social and otherwise) when you are ready. Disconnect from the dings, lights, and vibrations
  • stepping away from the computer
    • give an hour (or more) a day to being at the computer to deal with what needs to be dealt with there
  • turn off the TV
    • I do not watch much TV, but it does provide background noise pretty often. Still ok to turn the thing off

1) Practice Patience…

…and recharge. Set the example when you are on information overload. Outside of an absolute emergency, people can wait, and so can you. Set priorities. If you need to answer something by the end of the day, do that. If you need to check 3 times and day and provide feedback, do that. When you are “off”, be off. Do not compromise the integrity of the many positions that you hold.

Make your contributions meaningful, not half-assed.

A few extras…

I have found something that I absolutely love. My Apple Watch to the rescue when I need to focus or if I’m feeling extra anxious. The “Breathe” app has been amazing. The program includes a graphic representation of an expanding image to coincide with inhaling. The watch also pulses along with the inhale. Why is this amazing?

There is something to pull focus away from whatever is overwhelming. I used this for the first time just before a flight. Now, I use this in public, at home, or wherever I need a second to center. Nobody knows what I’m doing, because I’m just breathing, The pull away from outside stimuli whether real or perceived that triggers anxiety (BTW, thanks anxiety!) is helpful.

You are able to set the duration from 1 minute to 5 minutes of focused breathing. My favorite practice is to set it for 5 minutes, and go ahead and reset once that is over.

For the watch I own:
Apple Watch

If you are not into apple products, it looks like Fitbit has a comparable feature:
FitBit

 

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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