The Magic Solution

There's a silly thing in the world of Tech Support that we call "Tech Aura." This is how we explain what happens (very consistently) when someone tries to show us a problem they've been dealing with - it suddenly stops being a problem. That error message that appears every time you open this app? Doesn't show up when Computer Guy is looking over your shoulder. That loading icon that sticks around forever and won't let you proceed to the next page? Loading times are reduced to nothing when that girl from IT is passing your way.


There are people that can do this with real life problems, too. You're super stressed, but when you stay with That One Friend, everything seems to just melt away. You're tired as anything and sleep does nothing for you, but staying two nights at Mom's house somehow solves that.


Just like 90% of tech problems can be resolved with "Have you turned it off and back on again?" there are three really basic questions that can make 90% of overwhelming situations less overwhelming or at least more manageable.


"Do I need sleep?" Am I tired?


"Do I need food?" Am I hungry?


"Do I need water?" Am I thirsty?


Let me tell you why these questions can solve most of your problems.

Some of you who took basic or developmental psych courses in college might be familiar with Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs." Now, this isn't a foolproof model, and has actually been replaced in recent years, but this serves as a good illustration for what I'm talking about.

Down at the bottom of the pyramid, its foundation, is Physiological Needs like food, water, and shelter. Read: Nutrition, Hydration, and Sleep.


If you're not getting sufficient Nutrition, Hydration, and Sleep, then everything you stack on top of that will be unstable, because the foundation is flawed or incomplete. When you don't get enough sleep, your emotional stability goes out the window. If you don't get enough nutritional input, your energy and motivation goes down the drain. And if you're dehydrated, you'll end up in a position where you're tired, you probably have a headache, you're grumpy, and no amount of napping is going to "fill the tanks," as it were, because you're trying to feed your car maple syrup instead of gasoline, and wondering why the engine isn't working right.


If you're having a bad day, or you're in the middle of a streak of bad days, ask yourself "Have I been getting enough sleep?" "Have I been eating regularly?" "Am I getting enough to drink?" If the answer to any one of those is "no," then you have identified the root cause of most of your rough time. If it's just been one bad day, take a couple hours to eat a snack, take a nap, and drink a big glass of water. If it's been a run of bad days, try to take 24-48 hours to sleep, eat a couple healthy meals, exercise a bit, and drink plenty of water. This functions as a cold boot* for your body.


Now, it's hard to remember what it is you need when everything is happening all at once. I've been there. You're at work and a half dozen people all want your attention at once and your boss is asking you why this other thing isn't done yet - and there's no time to think about "have I eaten recently?" when there are other things that need your attention Right This Second.


In that case, you obviously need to get through what's happening right now, and when things calm down again, you can get yourself a class of water or grab a granola bar from your bag. If you know you tend to forget to drink enough at work, take a water bottle with you. If you know skipping breakfast makes the morning unmanageable, wake up a little earlier to get yourself a scrambled egg and some toast.


The point is that you know you much better than I do, but knowing you won't do much good if you don't apply that knowledge in ways that help fill your needs from the bottom up.

#Life #SelfCare #Needs

*A "cold boot" is when you turn an electronic device completely off and allow the system to drain of energy completely, like unplugging the router, taking the batteries out of a remote, or powering down your cell phone and letting it stay off ~5 minutes before turning it back on again. This is called a "cold boot" because it drains active power from the system and lets it "cool down" before restarting. A "warm boot," on the other hand, it like hitting "restart," which basically just closes down active apps and reboots the OS, which can help with software problems, but not with hardware problems.

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©2020 by Eleanor Taylor.

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