Pay Attention to Yourself – Then Act Accordingly

I took a mental health day today, and it was wonderful. The day has been cloudy, with a temperature staying steady in the high 40s and low 50s… essentially a perfect day to stay home in your pajamas.

I find it hard to take mental health days; I guess I find it difficult to take a vacation or sick day if I could just as easily go into the office, but choose not to. It feels like I need a better excuse. Mental health is important though – I know that – and you know that – and yet it’s still hard to just admit that we need a day off to recharge.

My anxiety had been building up for the last week. I had one of those weeks where everything felt like it was piling up all at once. I felt like I was falling behind at work, at home… the to-do list just kept growing, as did my feeling of inner dread. I’d had an emotional week too, a bit of a roller coaster.

*Side note: have you ever played the level on the Wii’s “New Super Mario Bros.” where you ride the skeleton roller coaster over the lava? It’s insane… and fun, and stressful… all at once. That’s kind of how my week was. Watch this video to see the level in action – it’s aptly titled “The Roller Coaster From Hell”:

One of the best things I’ve learned to do over the last few years is really tune in to my body and the state of my mental/emotional health. If you’ve never done it before, it’s as simple as just stopping and taking note of how you feel physically and mentally. It’s practicing mindfulness. You do it without judgment, and just observe.

Once I assess myself, I can determine what to do from there. Sometimes it requires going a bit deeper into my feelings, and finding out why I feel the way I feel.

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Connecting through Trust, Vulnerability, and Tattoos

The Adobe Max 2020 Conference was completely free and virtual this year (thanks COVID!) and I watched a session yesterday that featured different artists and graphic designers. I was amazed at how talented and creative people can be – each person featured was awesome in their own way.

One artist in particular stood out to me: a tattoo artist, *Scott Campbell. His bio mentioned that he’s world-renowned in the field – you can read more about him with a quick Google search if interested.

The session highlighted a project he had done called “Whole Glory” – it’s an event where there is a wall or fence set up with a hole in it. Scott is on one side of the wall, while a person on the other side sticks their arm through the hole and gets a free tattoo. The catch is, they have no say in the tattoo whatsoever, and they don’t get to see it at all until it’s completely finished.

I’m sure many of you are thinking right now, “Yikes! No way! I would NEVER do that!” But there are quite a few people who have been willing to do it. In the Adobe session, Scott talked about how each person that he tattooed ended up loving their tattoo. They would come up to Scott at the end of the event and tell him how their tattoo was perfect, and how they secretly thought theirs was the best out of all he had done that day.

I found this to be so interesting (from a psychological perspective), and also just really beautiful. There’s something really cool about connecting and being that vulnerable with another person, a stranger in fact, and sharing a meaningful experience together.

For the artist, he gets the freedom of being able to tattoo anything he likes (whereas he states that normally “the canvas has an opinion”) – and for the person receiving the tattoo, they are able to find and make meaning out of the art created on their body – every time.

Maybe it felt extra meaningful to me because I got my first tattoo at the beginning of this year, and I know how much vulnerability and meaning was behind my own tattoo.

I just also love the idea of two strangers connecting through a meaningful shared experience. It’s beautiful. We need more of this in the world – more art, more beauty, more connecting, more empathy, more love.

Thanks for reading.

*I just saw an announcement on his tattoo shop’s page that said they had to close due to the pandemic! I am so sad about this! Best of luck to you Scott in your next endeavor, whatever it may be!

Hitting Your “Save Point”

Another video game related post?

Not really – this one doesn’t have much to do with video games, it’s mostly just a play on words. I was scrolling through my social media feed, wasting time… and I came across a post that said:

Reaching 30 is like making it to a save point

I don’t know who to credit this quote to – it was one of those posts that had been shared and reshared/recreated many times. The context of the post was debating which years/decade were supposed to be the best time of your life. I think one cliché is that high school or college is the best time of your life, and then after that your life slowly gets worse and worse, or at least busier or more stressful. #adulting

If you’ve played a variety of video games, you are probably already familiar with save points. They are in games that don’t automatically save as you go, but instead you have to reach a certain point before it saves your progress. Sometimes it can be really hard to get to the save point (you may end up dying multiple times) so when you finally reach it, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

Right before I turned 30, a good friend of mine (who was a year or so older) told me that your 30s are so much better than your 20s. Despite some skepticism on my part, I have (so far) found this to be a true statement.

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