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  • Sean Cullen Carroll

Waking up and checking email don't mix

I let someone’s email completely control my day for the LAST TIME.


Since the pandemic started over 7 months ago, I’ve been trying to stay in some kind of regular routine because it’s so easy to stay up too late, then oversleep, overeat and under exercise.


Most days, I’ve failed at creating a routine that works. I end up staying on my phone until 3 am looking at TikToks even though I know that I’d be better served reading a novel, or meditating before bed.


Then of course it becomes harder to get out of bed at a decent hour, and I start the day already ‘feeling behind’


That’s what happened yesterday, and within 3 minutes of opening my eyes, I was reading an email from someone that really pissed me off.


Of course, it pissed me off.


I literally JUST woke up, and I was trying to process information that was heavily charged with emotion, and that was placing some degree of blame for their circumstances on ME.


What a way to wake up right?


So is it any surprise that my day went horribly? I was in a rotten mood from the time I woke up until I went for a run later in the day, which finally cleared my thoughts.


I realized after 8 hours of emotional torture that I had to make some changes, and fast.


I could not let this happen again.


I hated the way I felt, and I started to cry for a moment because I suddenly became aware that I had been feeling this way for months, and didn’t even know it.


I was treating myself horribly, and putting everyone else’s “emergency” in front of my own mental and physical health.


Seriously, is there any reason for me to be scrolling social media and checking my email at 2 am, and then doing so again as soon as I wake up?


During this pandemic, I’ve had many wonderful opportunities in business and virtual theatre, and I’m very grateful that my needs are met, and financially, I’m in a good place. I’m especially grateful because I know so many people are struggling right now, and I remember what I went through during the financial crisis of 2008-2010 and how broke and scared I was.


While the challenges of today are certainly not as financially dire, the anxiety is still very real.


That’s probably one reason why I’ve taken on so much work. I’m still afraid of going completely broke...and if I’m broke, no one will love me.


Deep stuff, I know.


But I can’t think of any other reason why I’d allow someone’s emails to dominate my day from the moment I woke up. In some twisted way, I think that if I check email constantly, I can avoid the pain of losing a client or going broke.


I think I can control the situation.


So I traded one kind of pain for another. And I’ve had enough.


This morning, I woke up and went to the park to write in my journal instead.


I did 30 pushups in the park and enjoyed a cup of coffee while writing.


I didn’t check my email or social media until I was done.


I went an entire 13 hours without checking email, and ya know what?


The world didn’t end.


No one fired me.


I didn’t lose it all.


My family still loves me.


I loved the way the day started so much, I think I’ll do it again tomorrow.


No more letting the inbox dominate my life. No more living in scarcity and fear.


This pandemic has created some challenges for sure, but I am done with creating my own panic. I can deal with challenges (and emails) much more effectively when I’m well-rested, well exercised, and in a calm, grounded state.


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