I’m quite stressed at the moment, not about anything life changing or particularly worrying, but because there are lots of little things I need to sort out and I’m beginning to feel slightly out of control.
We are going on holiday soon and we are at a wedding tomorrow. I’ve got people coming to stay and the cats are developing their usual array of illnesses in anticipation of my leaving them for a few days. Lili has got an ear infection and Dennis has a paw problem. The resulting trip to the vet yesterday was a bit fraught. Last night Andy and I spent the evening trying to give Lili ear drops. The proportion that went in her ear, as opposed to all over my clothes and face, is debatable.
Dennis has a bandaged paw, which he doesn’t like at all and he is walking around looking very sorry for himself. I know what this is. This is part of the guilt trip they always lay on me just before a holiday.
Work is manic. I’m recruiting in 3 different counties and staff, like my cats, seem to be coming up with new problems to hit me with daily. I’ve got issues with 2 staff being disruptive and some new recruits not taking to the role as I would have hoped …and I’m wondering how I can get everything done before I go away and how the area will manage without me.
It will. Of course it will.
These are not things to be particularly stressed about. I know that. Whilst I was drinking my second glass of wine last night and gibbering about how much I have do, a friend called and told me some sad news. I fully appreciate my little worries are nothing compared to what others are coping with.
My watch obviously knows what’s going on as it keeps helpfully pinging, and advising me I need to do a moment of deep breathing. ‘I haven’t got time to breathe!’, I almost shouted at it yesterday!
So today, in the midst of all this STUFF, I took myself off to Waterstones for one of my favourite pastimes – browsing books. While I was there I also had a delicious toastie and a rather indulgent latte in the cafe! Please don’t think I’m suggesting that if you have a sandwich and a coffee all your troubles disappear, but the point is, I removed myself from my manic state for a short period, and I felt a lot better when I returned to my list of things to do.
There is nothing wrong with being selfish from time to time, and putting our needs first. Not all the time of course, but there are times when a little self care is not only necessary, it’s absolutely vital. Looking after yourself is important, not only to simply function, but to enable you to continue to do what you do for those around you.
Sonetimes I get to the point of thinking ‘If someone makes just ONE MORE inane comment, I’m going to tell them EXACTLY what I think of them!’ Which would never be a good idea. Ever. But feeling like this rings alarm bells and reminds me that I need some time out to be ME, and not be the boss, the mum, the wife, the daughter etc.
At those times, I take myself off as I did this morning, and gain some perspective, slow my mind down and accept what I’m feeling is perfectly natural and my list of things to do will still be the same whether I am stressing over them or not. Stress does not hurry us up or transform us into better workers. In fact, it does the opposite.
One of the ways I look after myself is to practice saying ‘no’. As adults and carers we are conditioned into saying ‘yes’ most of the time. It is OK to say ‘no’ sometimes! Saying ‘no’ is tough! But incredibly liberating! Doing something that you should have refused to do is hugely detrimental. Not only do you feel resentment, and that resentment festers, waiting to erupt another day, but you cannot get back the time that was spent doing that something!
I’m a huge believer in exercise as a stress reliever. It is amazing how an hour jumping around my living room to one of my Davina DVD’s can remove me (temporarily) from a stressful situation, and allow my brain to put things in perspective. If we can distance ourselves from a stressful situation, and give it some time, a sense of perspective will soon start to drain it of it’s power. I was particularly worried about a situation at work last night, but this morning, having slept on it, it doesn’t seem so insurmountable after all. Sleep (plenty of it) can do that. The phrase ‘Sleep on it’ is one of the best pieces of advice!
Looking after yourself is crucial when you are feeling battered by life. Take time out every day to remind yourself how utterly fabulous you are. Think of all you have accomplished in the last week/ month / year! But you can’t be super woman / man every single minute, and indeed, you will stop being super at all if you don’t take care of yourself.
I know there are some that will sniff at this type of advice, and suggest we should all get on with it and stop whining, but you wouldn’t run your car into the ground without an occasional trip to the garage for a service would you?
Practice a little self care every day. It’s not an overindulgence and it will allow you to take responsibility for yourself and deal with all that life throws at you. Looking after yourself is an investment for your future. ❤️