Emotions. I am an emotional creature.
Yes, I’m a woman. A real woman. A woman’s whose emotions can change depending on the weather, my breakfast choices, a cute remark from my children, a loving remark from my husband, the availability of clean clothes in my wardrobe, the lack of new clothes in my wardrobe, the presence of a newly found stain on my favorite new shirt (thank you child #3 for that one!) but I digress.
Even though I’m emotional, I still made decisions. Sometimes little ones, like the above-mentioned breakfast choices, and other times big ones. Really big decisions. Like what I’m fixing for dinner or should I respond to this *unpleasant* email from my new boss at work.
Now you may be chuckling at my dinner decision as big, or lumping my emotions in the same category as dealing with work issues. But I’ve learned they are one in the same, for me, emotional creature #1.
You see I treat stress the same. I’m looking for a venting, an out of my ever-increasing emotional fix. I can approach dinner with the same attitude as I approach nasty emails. Should I fix this, I like it, I feel that I want it…but it’s not healthy. Double servings of carbs and melting cheese won’t solve the real issue. Neither will snapping back a snark-filled email to my boss.
Several years ago, I was in a ladies Bible study and the teacher shared with me an acronym that I have tried to put in my life. Sometimes successfully, other times not. But when I have used it, I can look back (with a resolute happy sigh) that I’m so glad I did.
It is HALT. Whenever you’re faced with a decision that you don’t know what to do. Simply HALT.
So the letters are simply this. If you are ANY of the following. Stop. Halt.
H – Hungry.
A – Angry
T – Tired
Hunger – Being hungry can make us make nasty choices. There are television commercials that encourage you not to be “HANGRY”, just eat a Snickers. Or the wise words your mother probably told you, “never go shopping hungry, you might buy things you shouldn’t”. Personally, I have found being hungry can make me on edge. I feel more irritable than usual, but eating a good meal helps me to think more clearly. Or, that snickers I have buried in my purse…somewhere!
Angry – I will *painfully* admit, sometimes I do get angry. While I wish it was at good things, like the crime rates in my local town, but no. It never really is at good things. It’s usually directed at my children upon discovering messy rooms, breaking up another fight between the siblings, and refereeing whose turn is next on the computer. My emotions tend to run pretty high at this point. I have learned that these times are NOT the best ones to turn and make other important decisions. I’ve also noticed that I have to keep an eye on my calendar. PMS is not my friend, but being aware of the dates, and knowing that I’m more susceptible to bouts of anger around that time helps (and reminds me) to step back and breathe!
Lonely – In the early years of my marriage, I really struggled with this. My emotions were going crazy because I was so lonely. My husband worked full time and was a full-time college student. Then after he graduated, he worked full time. We moved around a good bit, and while I made friends at church easily, I struggled with close relationships with other women and often found myself alone for hours a day. I’m so thankful now that he works a less demanding job and I don’t have to face this as much.
Tired – There are people in the world who can live on 4 hours of sleep. Not me. No way. Never. Ever. Ever. Learning my sleep schedule as an adult working part-time, while taking care of small children and a husband has been vital for our marriage. Sleep is something I literally have to schedule in. No, nothing is medically wrong, I’ve been checked out time and time again. I’m just someone who needs a bit more rest to function at my peak. I need it, and so do my emotions. And you know what? That’s ok. It works for my household and I accept that. I could try and be like other mothers who are on the go from the crack of dawn till dusk, but our home would fall apart if I did that. Learning what is good for me & my husband has been so crucial in our marriage.
So I encourage you, my dear reader, to remember to HALT. And if you do, comment in the box below and let me know how it went. Practice does make perfect, and utilizing this little acronym can change your life like it has mine.