A few helpful hints from Katie Seiffertt
These last 440 days have tried all of us in ways we never imagined possible. If you made it this far, kudos to you! It’s been a helluva year. As my kids wrap up school, I decided to reflect on this super-strange experience. The bottom line? Adulting is hard AF. That doesn’t mean it’s a hopeless mess, though it sometimes feels like that. Here are my insights to help make this chaotic thing called life a bit smoother: Repeat shows bring comfort, hobbies are needed, lists are a must, patience can win, and affirmations help.
Repeat shows provide comfort
Over these last 14 (and counting) months streaming has increased exponentially in my house, and repeat shows have brought my family the comfort of the known. The reassurance that Chuck can woo Sarah once again, the knowledge that little Neil is comforted by his own Mozzie, and the fact that spies can have a happily-ever-after are all wonderful feelings — but what’s really happening to us as we start re-watching Psych once more?
Watching a series, a single show, or a movie for the billionth time is like staying home as a kid with a bowl of chicken noodle soup and getting to watch Vanna turn the letters on Wheel of Fortune. It provides comfort and reassurance that things will turn out okay and provides you a place to escape.
Googling “why do I rewatch shows” will give you loads of pages (not doctor based — please seek help if needed and don’t take blog advice in place of mental health support) that basically say you’re addicted….which yes, yes we are. Bingeing a series gives us a boost of dopamine: The more we watch, the more we want that good feeling. Rewatching the same shows can give us a high, but also provides us with that warm blanket feeling of being secure in a chaotic world. With all the stress this past year has thrown at us, it makes perfect sense that we want to rewatch happy shows from our childhood or our favorite movie series. Psychologist Pamela Rutledge says that with the increase in anxiety we’ve all felt this past year, we’ve become needier for that comfort of the known; hence the spikes in bingeing and rewatching. So sit back, relax, and start that episode of Community again!
Hobbies are needed
I heart Pinterest. And was so happy to see it ranked the fourth most popular social media site (and quick plug, we’re driving impressive website clicks numbers from paid Pinterest ad campaigns for our clients. Pinterest is having a moment.). I am a fervent supporter of wiling away hours on Pinterest to find the next gluten-free recipe, a new way to throw a kids’ birthday party, or how to take care of a pet rabbit.
Looking through Pinterest one might think, “ummmm, yeah, no way could I do that.” This past year has given people an opportunity to learn or brush up on skills. I have turned to Pinterest (sometimes multiple times in a day) to find wonderful new ways to use all the scrapbook supplies, fabric scraps, and random upcycled supplies I have hoarded...er, gently stored...over the years. I am 100% sure that I will never make all the ideas I have pinned, but Pinterest offers a wonderful world of possibility!
Lists are a must
A list for kids
A list for work
What needs to be done for clients
What needs to be done for staff
What needs to be done for my sanity
A list for house
Finish texturing/painting the wall
Build an escape room for me that my family doesn’t know about
Basically I would’ve lost my mind, my job, or my children were it not for lists. That may be a little hyperbolic, but do we only make lists to be able to feel that rush of joy when you cross something off? Well, partly: You’ve accomplished a task and can mark it as done, you can see a result (which can be especially helpful if that task didn’t have a tangible result), and you can move along. Lists are good for productivity and are also good for our mental health.
The Zeigarnik Effect, first described in 1927, states that a list is “the beginning of the task” as it subconsciously sets an intention to finish what was started. A plan is made and followed through, giving you peace of mind and alleviating the stress of the incomplete. And yes… I just might have a list that lists what lists I have.
Wow. Wouldn’t it be so much more dramatic if our lists were unfurled like that?! I bet Pinterest could help with that craft!
Sometimes it’s fine to walk away
When I was in elementary school, Pluto was a planet and math was simple: Start with the ones column, then the tens, and so on. None of this “regroup to make a 10 group and add remaining and then bring in the degree of the angle of the sun hitting the northernmost tree on Mount Olympus while spinning counterclockwise” stuff. However, it makes perfect sense to my first grader. Most of my weekdays have been spent ping-ponging between children (four kids all remote learning) and my computer to make sure I wasn’t missing a meeting or forgetting to send a doc to be signed. I would shrug when the comments of “I don’t know how you do it” came at me — because honestly? I haven’t a clue how I did it, how my kids did it, how the teachers did it...we just knew that’s what needed to be done. That doesn't mean we did it all with a Mary Poppins smile or the patience of Mother Teresa. Most of the time I felt like Jayne: “Y’all are damaging my calm.” Where Jayne had Vera (yes, he named his weapons), my crew and I learned the importance of breathing exercises, some meditation, but mainly when to back the hell away from each other!
Movie quotes offer affirmations
Long before 2020, Cool Runnings was a top go-to quoteable film in my extended family. This line, though, is one I’ve found myself muttering often over the past year. When patience had run out, math was too much, lists didn’t hold up, hobbies lost their fun shine —and even the comfort of all the shows just went away — I would in fact mutter this: “I am a bad-ass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody!” Of course, tossing a few curse words around as well was also helpful. But of those two things, I have tried to get myself and the kids focused on what is good and strong in each of us. Their use of curse words just decorates their sentences sometimes. I use it as proof that my children listen to what I say!
No matter what you’ve gone through this past year, please remember to find comfort where you can, do something that interests you, jot things down, take deep breaths, and remember you are amazing.
The WF Team
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When Operations Manager and Team Mom Katie isn’t managing her family of six or nurturing her work family with check-ins, treats, and zoom hugs, she’s most likely lost in another art or house project while listening to one of her top-five binge shows as background noise to drown out little voices calling her name.