Busy, busy, busy, what are we doing? We don’t know!
Perfectly sums up adult life in a lot of Western countries right now doesn’t it? Why are we so busy though? Have we thought of the consequences to being so busy? Have we thought of the negative impact it can have on our mental health?
Now I’m not trying to talk to you from the perspective of someone who has this all figured out. For those of you who know me well you’ll know that I’m the biggest busy culprit around. However, over many years of pushing myself to the limit and ending up on my arse with a bag full of bad mental health I’ve learnt a few things. Which is why I’m doing this series of blog posts on self-care in order to share what I’ve learnt. First of all I want to share with you my biggest piece of advice on self-care…
If you’re body is telling you to ‘STOP RIGHT NOW’ listen to it. If you don’t you’re minutes, hours or a few days away from either you’re body giving you a good reason to stop or a public meltdown. Trust me, I’ve had both.
So here’s some practical advice for when this happens. Straight up cancel all your plans for the rest of the day. Do it and do it now! If you have to go home from work then do it, I have. Rather a sick day than a public meltdown that I could suffer the consequences for. If you are a parent and can give your child to a trusted adult for the rest of the day then do it. Once again, rather a sick day than a meltdown in front of you’re child right?! Weigh up what is an important commitment to keep and what you can let go of in order to have some much needed rest. And let me tell you the “But ‘person X’ will be really pissed off at me if I cancel” is not a good enough reason to not listen to your body. So fuck if their pissed, let them be. They can’t stay pissed off at you forever right?!
We live in a ‘look after number 1’ world. If we’re not looking out for ourselves no one else is going to. If we handle it all people will give us more to handle on top until we break. That’s just how the world works. But in order to survive in this world we really need to prioritize looking after ourselves. We need to acknowledge that as individuals we matter. That it’s ok to look after ourselves and put our own needs before others. It’s ok for you to do it and it’s ok for me to do it. It really is!
If we want to move forward and achieve our goals we need to listen to our internal ‘Stop’ button. If you ignore it then bad things happen and you find yourself 10 steps backwards instead of forwards.
Let me tell you a story about what happened when I ignored my internal ‘Stop’ button…
I was running around like a headless chicken in my life. Seeing what all my friends were achieving and wanting to achieve those things too. All the good adult goals that we all aspire to you know… fitness, weight loss, financial stability, social life, being good at my job etc.
I was running my battery down in a big way and my internal ‘Stop’ button was screaming at me both mentally and physically. At one point on a Monday morning I thought “my mental health is fucked, I should really be off sick at this point”. But I quickly ignored that thought and powered through thinking I was invincible just like I perceived my friends and all those people I follow on Instagram to be. Come Wednesday afternoon I had fucked up at work massively and also had had an anxiety meltdown that took 2 managers to bring me down to some sort of sane level. This didn’t lead to me loosing my job. However, I was stripped of a lot of my responsibilities at work because I wasn’t deemed ‘able to cope with the workload’. It led to me feeling worse and more powerless than ever. I have a strong work ethic and to be in this position felt soul destroying. It took me 2 months before I got my full responsibilities back at work.
This is what I mean when I say stop before you end up having a meltdown and suffering the consequences. If I had stopped a week beforehand and let myself have a couple of evenings of binge watching TV series with chocolate and pasta it might never have gotten to this point. But I didn’t and this is what happened. I learnt a lot of valuable lessons from this experience which I’m going to pass on to you in this blog series on Self Care.
In my next blog I’m going to talk to you about ‘how to practice self-care’ and teach you just how to plan the perfect day, evening or hour of self-care.