Maybe not so much a cure as an approach. I know we're all different and find our own coping strategies when times get tough, but here are mine:
1. Count your blessings. Sounds obvious and perhaps a bit Pollyanna but it's true. The print samples finally came back and look good. The new house - after blitzing everything with white undercoat - is suddenly transformed from a gloomy, depressing little place into somewhere lighter and brighter and altogether more happy-feeling. My friends and family have been wonderful, helping out with Joe and letting me get my work ready to deliver to my customer on time.
2. Make soup. I always seem to find solace in peeling, chopping, frying, seasoning and stirring. When times are rough, I head for the kitchen. Cooking something with simple, inexpensive ingredients which will nourish people gives me a great sense of comfort somehow.
3. Notice the seasonal details all around. Colours, shapes, textures, smells. Damp earth and crisp leaves. Woodsmoke and berries. Cobwebs and conkers.
4. Take a bit of time out. There's a new cafe opened in the village and it's lovely inside. Cheap as chips, too. A catch-up with a friend last week over cups of tea was perfect. There's much to be said for grown-up conversation and a break from the normal routine.
5. Walk. Joe and I have been to 'Windy Castle' and picked blackberries. And of course he had to step into a (runny, stinky) cowpat to see what happened. Reeking wellies (and car) aside, fresh air and open space always slow me down and help me stay in the moment as opposed to all those niggling 'What if?' thoughts running riot.
6. Be alone. As in, a hot bath or a bit of time to read. A temporary escape from constant demands and running to everyone else's schedules. I find this necessary to avoid getting irritated and annoyed each time someone changes their plans last-minute or lets me down in some way.
7. Be creative. I'm probably the most self-effacing person I know, but the fact is I've worked incredibly hard these past few months to try and establish myself career-wise. I set myself a tough challenge and learned some hard lessons along the way but the fact is, I still love drawing and painting and writing. These are the things I lose myself in and even when there's a tight deadline looming, making art never feels like a chore.
8. Take a step back to get my priorities in order. Once my work's handed in next week, I'll be spending a lot of time at the new house decorating. We're going to be moving in fairly soon and there's a lot to do. And I actually enjoy painting walls and woodwork; I go into my own little world and time seems to just slip away.
I've also decided to cancel doing the craft fair at the end of the month. Something had to give. There'll be others and they'll be at a time when things aren't quite so hectic.
9. Go to the doctor. I'm not ashamed to say it. There's a stigma attached to these things and there shouldn't be. I've always been prone to anxiety, ever since childhood, and there are times when it gets more difficult to manage than it should. To me, taking care of your mental wellbeing is no different to looking after yourself physically.
Thank you for all your lovely comments lately. Things have calmed down a bit around here over the past week, and so have I. Finding a balance between getting things done and taking time to smell the roses is always tricky but I'm getting there.