More Time To Recharge

As an introvert, I know that I need a lot of alone time. I’ve started to realize that I need to give myself even more alone time than normal after stressful weeks at work or multiple social events back to back.

A few weeks ago, I had a very stressful week.  I had multiple days where I worked late.  I also had to train someone and by the end of the week, I was exhausted and my energy level was so low that I could barely keep a thought in my head.  I spent that Friday evening and Saturday morning sleeping and relaxing. Saturday afternoon/evening I spent time with my family and friends and I was out until early Sunday morning.  I woke up on Sunday and I needed to run errands but I was so drained that I couldn’t do anything.  I hadn’t recovered enough from my stressful week and I added to my low energy level by socializing for several hours on Saturday.  I ended up spending all of Sunday recovering and I didn’t start to feel energized until the Tuesday of that week.

I realize that I need to get better at scheduling alone time and allowing my mind and body to recharge properly after stressful weeks at work.  I also feel like I need to schedule only one or two social events per week but not on the same day.  It’s important for me to be more mindful of how I’m feeling and to give myself permission to say no to events so that I can recharge myself.

As an introvert, do have trouble scheduling alone time? What is your favorite way to recharge?

The best and worst of 2012

Even though it is the first day of 2013, I’m going to review the best and the worst of 2012.  2012 was a difficult year for me so I’m glad that it’s over and I’m looking forward to better experiences this year.

The Worst of 2012

This year I had to let go of a few of my friendships and this was a sad and painful experience.  There are some friends that I no longer have anything in common with and our lives have gone in different directions.  I had been holding on to these relationships because I don’t take friendship lightly but in the end it was best to let things go.

Another event that was difficult for me in 2012 was that my mom found a tumor in one of her breasts.  She had to have immediate surgery followed by radiation treatment.  Fortunately, the tumor had not spread and there is no evidence of cancer in other parts of her body.  Seeing my mom sick made me realize how much I should treasure the short time that we have with the people we love.

The Best of 2012

By far, the best thing that happened in 2012 was the progress that I’ve made in my studies as a translator.  I’ve completed the majority of my courses and I will complete my program by this summer.  I also attended seminars and events related to the translation industry and I have a lot of goals/plans for myself.  I began volunteering as a translator in 2012 as well and that has allowed me to gain more experience.

I discovered a new hobby by creating memory books.  I use a book called Smashbook and it’s been a lot of fun to combine my love of journaling with photos and other memorabilia.

2013

I’ve decided not to make any resolutions for the New Year.  I read this blog post and it sums up how I feel about making New Year’s resolutions.  I will continue to focus on the career goals/plans that I set for myself last year and I will take things day by day.

I am a Highly Sensitive Person

I am currently reading “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You” by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.    According to Wikipedia, a “highly sensitive person (HSP) is a person having the innate trait of high psychological sensitivity.”  I’ve always felt that I was more sensitive than other people to noise, touch, emotions, and moods.  I read this book a few years ago and at the time I was trying to “find a cure” for this trait because I really felt that I was overly sensitive about things and I felt that something was wrong with me.  This time I’m reading this book to be more accepting of myself.  I want to understand this trait and to view this trait in a more positive way.  Each chapter of this book has different exercises that you can do to help you reflect and I plan to share some of my reflections on this blog.

There is a self-test at the beginning of the book that asks 23 true or false questions to help you identify with whether or not you are a HSP.  I answered true to 20 questions.  According to the test instructions, if you answer true to 12 or more questions then you are likely a highly sensitive person.  There are many traits that are listed in the self-test that make me a highly sensitive person but the traits that I’ll speak about below are the ones that I strongly identify with

  1. I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment – I always pick up on very subtle changes in my environment that most people don’t seem to notice at all.  I’m very attuned to what is going on around me even when I don’t seem like I am.
  2. Other people’s moods affect me – This is a huge trait for me and it’s something that I have to deal with everyday.  I take in the moods of others and when someone is in a negative or a really bad mood then it affects my mood in a negative way.  In order to maintain my own mood, I try to stay away from people who are constantly angry or bitter because I know that their moods will affect me too much.
  3. I tend to be very sensitive to pain – I can’t take a lot of pain and something as simple as a paper cut can feel very painful.  Whenever I got to the doctor, and especially to the dentist, I have to make them aware of my sensitivity to pain.
  4. I have a rich, complex inner life – I live in my head and this is where my creativity and deep thought comes from.
  5. I am made uncomfortable by loud noises – Loud noises really bother me and this probably explains why I have a fear of thunder.
  6. I am deeply moved by the arts or music  - There is a deep sensation that I feel when I visit a museum, see a dance, or listen to music.  There is a profound connection that I make with art and music.
  7. I startle easily – I’ve always know this about myself but I was not aware that this had something to do with me being a HSP.
  8. Being very hungry creates a strong reaction in me, disrupting my concentration or mood – This is another trait that I didn’t know had something do with me being a HSP.  I’ve always said that I must have my meals on time and when I don’t eat at a certain time then I get very, very angry.  This is one of the reasons why I always keep crackers at my desk in case I’m not able to each lunch on time.

Coffee

From Plinky: Do you need coffee to wake up in the mornings?

I absolutely have to have coffee in the mornings not only to wake up but to function as a human being. I’m not a morning person and coffee gives me the jolt that I need to be productive throughout the morning.  If I’m  having a hard day, I’ll also take a break in the afternoon to go and get coffee.

I didn’t always like coffee and I didn’t always need it to wake me up in the mornings.  My father is a coffee drinker and when I was in high school I tasted his coffee for the first time.  It was the most bitter and disgusting drink I have ever tasted and I never thought I’d drink coffee again.  My opinion of coffee changed when I was living in Latin America.  I lived in a country that produced a lot of coffee and drinking coffee every afternoon with family and friends was a large part of the culture.  The coffee there wasn’t bitter and I began looking forward to drinking coffee and spending time with my friends every afternoon.  When I came back to the USA, I continued drinking coffee and I found that it helped me to function in the mornings.

I’m not a “coffee snob” and I’ll pretty much drink anything including the bitter stuff my father still drinks.  Two of my favorite coffee shops here in Denver are Ink! coffee and Dazbog.

Daily Writing

One of my goals for this year is to write every day.  I recently learned about the idea of writing “Morning Pages” and I decided to use some of the ideas from this method in my daily writing.  I really liked the idea of handwriting three full pages of stream-of-conscious writing however, I did not like the idea of waking up early in the morning to do this type of writing.  I’m not a morning person and there is absolutely no way that I’d be able to get up 30-40 minutes earlier than normal just to write.  I can barely get out of bed in the mornings as it is.

I decided to write in the evenings right before I go to bed and this method has turned out to be perfect for me.  I’m able to clear my mind by writing about everything that’s in my head and it helps me to relax and to sleep better.  It’s a quiet and reflective way to end my day and I find that I don’t have trouble filling up three pages with my writing.  Some of these thoughts that I’ve written about have led to blog and short story ideas.  I feel that this method is helping me make writing a priority in my life which is very important to me.

Where I’ve Been

I haven’t been able to write blog posts lately due to my work and school schedule.  I finished the course I was taking called Basic Translation and I immediately started taking a new course called Project Management for Translators.  My new course is very demanding and I’m having a hard time keeping up with everything.  This course will end the first week of June and I’ll be taking the summer off from my studies.  That being said, I’ll be trying to write at least one blog post each week from now on.  Towards the end of my course, I probably won’t be posting anything since I’ll be focusing on my final project.

A Shorter Work Week vs. Working From Home

I would rather work from home than have a four-day work week. Working from home would be an ideal work situation for me since it’s quiet where I live and I prefer to work alone. I’d also be able to concentrate more since I wouldn’t be interrupted repeatedly through out the day.

One of the cons to working from home is that people can begin to feel lonely since they aren’t able to interact with others through out the day. This would not be a problem for me. First, work has never been a place for me to socialize. I go to work to do work and that’s all. Second, I have had enough of working with people to last me for the rest of my life. I would not miss the forced interactions and office politics that are a part of working in an office.

Working from home would also help me to save money on gas/public transportation. I feel like I would have less expenses and maybe I’d be able to travel more and pursue other interests. As I continue to pursue my professional goals, it is my hope that I will eventually be able to work from home.

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2012 Goals

This is the fourth week in January, but I don’t think that it’s too late to set goals for myself for the year.  I’ve divided my goals into personal and professional goals that I’ll be working on achieving throughout the year.

Personal Goals:

Self-Acceptance – For the past few years, I’ve been working on change and trying to be a “better person”.  The truth is that I am who I am and I’ve chosen to accept that.  I want to grow as a person who is secure in who they are.

Daily Writing – Writing is my favorite hobby and I’ve gotten away from it again.  I plan to write each day for 30 – 60 minutes on whatever comes to mind.

Join a Spanish Language Group – I’ve participated in a Spanish language group in the past but I would only show up once or twice a year.  This year I am going to participate each month.  I enjoy going to these groups to speak Spanish with other language lovers.

Professional Goals:

Find a new job – This week I’ve started looking for a new job that will be more of a fit for my interests and values.  I plan to devote time each week to job hunting.

Continue with my studies – I will continue taking classes and working towards achieving my graduate degree.  Even though working full-time and going to school are a challenge, I’m committed to my studies.

Time-management – I am an organized person but over the past few months I’ve been struggling with a heavy workload.  I took a time management training at work and I’ve been using the strategies to be more productive.

New Class: Basic Translation

This quarter I’m taking a course called Basic Translation.  It’s designed to give us an opportunity to translate different types of texts (medical, legal, literary, cultural, political, scientific, and technical).  The texts we are translating are a small portion of a larger text and the word count is 300.  We have a week to complete each translation.  To be honest 300 words isn’t a lot and most translators can translate that many words in an hour.  Since we are just learning this process it will take us longer to translate however, I do hope that with each translation I will improve my speed.  I’ll also be creating a terminology list of the difficult or unknown words or phrases the I have encounter while translating each text.  This way, I can begin to build my vocabulary in Spanish and English in specialized areas.

There are two issues that I hope to work on in this class.  The first issue is with regards to specialization.  Specialization seems to be an important aspect of the translation profession.  Many translators specialize in a particular area such as legal, medical, etc.  Many translators have had experience working in other industries and know specific terminology for that industry.  At this point, I don’t have a specialization but I’m hoping that the fact that I’ll be translating different types of texts will help me to focus on which area or areas I’d like to specialize in.  Since I’ve worked in education and finance, these could be possible areas of specialization for me. I was also reading that a translator’s natural interests and hobbies can lead to an area of specialization.  This has me wondering if my interests/hobbies in writing, history, literature, and music could be areas that I specialize in as well.

The other issue I want to work on is the fact that I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my work and study.  I don’t know if it’s even possible to create a “perfect” translation of a text but I could see myself trying to make each translation perfect.  This could be a huge problem and I don’t want to spend unnecessary time trying to make a text perfect.  I’m putting myself on a strict schedule to help me stay focused and to not get sidetracked.

Working and going to school is difficult and most evenings I feel exhausted.  I have to fight and keep pushing myself to achieve my goals.  Each week I’m giving myself two days to have just for myself so that I’m not always doing school work.  It’s important to take time for myself so I don’t burn out.

Gossip

I don’t like gossip and this is always a problem in every job I’ve had.  One of the things I really liked about my current job was that there weren’t many people who gossiped but that changed recently.  I don’t participate in gossiping and I don’t even want to hear it.  There is nothing to be gained from listening to it and I’m not the type of person that thrives off of someone’s misfortune.  This topic has been on my mind a lot recently and I listened to a talk about why people gossip.  I learned that there are three reasons why people gossip:  anger, life paths, and overwhelming shame.

Anger:  When people have a lot of anger or low self-esteem then gossiping about someone else can make them feel better about themselves.

Life paths:  This happens when one person becomes jealous of another person’s success.  They see how another person’s career or personal relationships are taking off and it makes them feel less than since they aren’t on the same level as that person.  Gossip becomes a mean of putting that person down and making them seem not as successful as they are.

Overwhelming shame:  This is when a person uses gossip to deflect from the overwhelming shame that they feel inside.

I believe that one of the ways to overcome gossiping is to invest in your own life.  Working on overcoming anger, low self-esteem, and shame takes time but it’s worth the intense work to become a confident person.  Setting goals and working on a career can help someone to develop a path in life.  It also helps to understand that not everyone has the same purpose in life and to follow your own path.