Cracks in the Armor

by Christy Gualtieri

Unsplash Photo By Daniel Bowman

Winter is not a favorite season for many people, and although I rather like it as a whole, one thing that drives me crazy about it is the dry air.  I have dry skin under the most humid of circumstances, and the one-two punch of biting-cold wind and arid atmosphere wreaks havoc on my hands, especially.  Every February and early March, I channel my best Michael Jackson with Band-aids wrapped around each finger from where they’ve split open, and it’s not the most attractive thing.  Why can’t I channel his amazing dance moves, instead?

Okay, complaining over.  The real problem is, these cracks in my armor are more annoying than anything else.  Yes, they’re painful, but not very; yes, they itch when they heal, but just enough to be noticed.  And when I’m having a bad day or when I feel stressed out, my fingers and hands hurting only adds to the stress.  Is it the worst thing to ever happen when these cuts open up? No.

But here’s the thing. We all have our annoyances – you know the ones.  The little ones that don’t seem so bad on the surface, but when they accumulate, have the power to wreck your day.  Maybe it was that heavier-than-usual traffic on the way to work, the dull toothache you promised yourself you’d get looked at some other time, the canceled lunch you were looking forward to, or the pop quiz that you knew you’d have aced had you just finished the reading.

It’s easy to tell ourselves to get over things, to not let ourselves be so run-down by annoyances like these.  But what do we do if we find ourselves facing down a day full of them?

Give Yourself Some Grace.
When unexpected pain or difficulty pops up in your day, or threatens to mess up your routine (and as the mother of small children, I can appreciate the value of a good routine!), let yourself know that it’s okay to not have it all together.  We’re all figuring things out.  Don’t make things seem worse by making yourself feel horrible – try the best you can to fix the situation you’re in; and if you can’t, try your hardest to bear it as patiently as possible, remembering that you’re only human, and days like this happen.

Find Some Perspective.
When my infant daughter started napping twice a day, throwing a big wrench into our daily routine, I was really stressed about how to find the right balance of activity and downtime for her and for my son, who had recently given up napping.  I sent an email to other mom friends complaining about it for a while, then got a reply back from one of them, whose husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer last year.  He was in remission, but was back to feeling pain, and they had an ultrasound scheduled for the next day.  They were both nervous wrecks, but I was humbled. My “horrible day” suddenly became something I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Get Happy.
When I’m overwhelmed or stressed, it might be helpful to find something funny to look at/read/listen to.  Find some cute kitten videos on YouTube, or a favorite comedian on Netflix, or do a search for some funny articles to read.  There truly is nothing like laughter to lighten the heaviness of a day, and even though it might not heal what is ailing you, it might provide enough distraction to get you through until things are better.

Unsplash Photo By Freddie Marriage

Until next time, be well!

Christy GualtieriChristy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at, and tweets @agapeflower117. Follow PghPsych on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates, inspirational quotes, articles, and different events and causes related to good mental health!