Hello, my little lightbulb!
I’m here to accept my award as the most sporadic blogger of 2022 – *begins emphatic bowing and collects roses from stage floor*. My acceptance speech will begin:
Blogging has taken a back seat for me over the last few weeks, through no fault of its own really. I promised myself consistency in blogging once my dissertation was submitted at the start of September. This rolled on when I decided to switch jobs that exact week. Then I switched roles in the new job, meaning I needed to create more resources and take on more responsibility; as well as reorganising my private students. As another wave of surreal overwhelm has hit me last week; where I’ve been handling massive life changes, a very sick cat, and a broken foot- I decided that there’s no time like the present. There will never be a perfect time to sit down and write. Or, thinking about this another way, maybe any time is a perfect time, as whatever I write will be a product of that time and place- it might relate to someone in a similar place themselves. Who knows, but either way, this thinking finally got me to sit down and write.
My decision to check in was a tricky one, as it meant coming face to face with procrastination and perfectionism (what a lovely duo). To write this I’ve needed to accept that it probably won’t be perfectly written. I’ve also needed to acknowledge that writing this is time spent away from lesson planning and marking. While a simple response would be that it’s important to take a break – my mind doesn’t work in that way. While realising the importance of rest, there are some guilt hurdles to overcome which often end up exhausting me even more.
Life recently has been quite arduous for me.
I’ve been making a lot of difficult decisions in the name of self-love and self-respect, which has pushed me into unchartered territory and far away from my people-pleasing and appeasing habits. The job switch has also meant less time while I get settled. As a result, I’ve found myself (temporarily) sacrificing a lot of things I really enjoy- like badminton, fitness in general, cooking and journaling. My morning routine has shrivelled and now consists of mindfully applying tinted SPF, aggressively brushing my teeth, praying to the hair gods that my wild bedhead will soften during the journey to work, hoisting three bags over my shoulder and flying out of the door before 7.30 to try and avoid traffic.
Contact with friends and family has been… limited, which has meant a lot of guilt dumping from me to me. You’re such a bad person. How can you be so rude? It would take you ten seconds to reply, what’s wrong with you?
This isn’t the only part of my life where negative self-talk has been creeping back in; I’ve been harsh on myself about family relationships, decisions, fitness, discipline, my quality as a teacher, my appearance… the list is almost endless. But! It isn’t all doom and gloom! Even in the midst of all of this smog, I’ve found myself keeping going.
- I’m letting myself have lie-ins, even if I feel lazy for doing it.
- When my skincare routine got too much, I reduced it down to cleansing, moisturising, and applying SPF.
- I’ve started Stoptober with my mum, while she quits smoking, I’m stopping fizzy drinks (a habit that slinked back into my life during my dissertation).
- I’m being vocal. I’m being open with friends and family about where I’m at and how I feel.
- I’m multi-tasking. On the days where leaving the house feels mountainous, I’ll start tidying or organising. I’ll walk the dog while dropping off parcels, or meet friends at a cafe when I’ve finished doing work.
- I’m pushing myself to say yes, and no.
By looking inwards, I know which activities, commitments, and relationships enrich my life, and which ones don’t. Realising this is helping me to prioritise my energy on the areas that bring me clarity, excitement, that contribute to a long-term goal, or make me feel energised. One example is my book club. We had a book club meeting last Sunday and on Sunday morning, I hadn’t finished the book. After sitting with myself for a bit, I decided everything else could wait. The girls in my book club bring so much to my life and our meetings are so rare already. I parked my bum in the chair, sipped through some tea, finished the book, and was ready to chat it through when the call came. Afterwards, I was so proud of myself!
I know for a fact that I’m not the only one having a hard time (even though it’s easy to feel like you’re struggling alone sometimes). And even if your cat isn’t eating through a tube and all of your metatarsals are intact, it’s ok to be down. If you’re like me right now and you’re feeling overwhelmed, lonely, or like you’re further from yourself than a previous time – some advice:
Recognise that you are down, and what things are contributing to that feeling.
Accept that you aren’t invincible. I’ve had to face that very humbling realisation multiple times in my life. But each time I do realise that, I find myself getting closer and closer to the acceptance that this is alright. While I’m not there yet, I can recognise the progress and that’s enough for me!
Read and if you can’t read, listen
Taking information and understanding perspectives from other people is so refreshing when you’re stuck in your own head. It can be a TED Talk, a chat with a friend about something they’re passionate about or a book! I’ve been listening to I May Be Wrong by Bjorn Natthiko Lindeblad on my drive to work and it has been so enlightening. In the book, Natthiko, writes about his experience transitioning from a successful economist to an equally successful forest monk. The trails and tribulations and the lessons that he learns have been reassuring to me, I’d recommend it!
Dropping off journaling has had such a big impact on me because it has meant that I’m not reflecting. I have been venting to friends more which is useful too, but I miss those private reflections, which mean that when I get to friends, my venting is more cohesive and confident- rather than a rambling tumbleweed of self-doubt and contradiction. Whichever method serves you best; writing, drawing, talking – be sure to prioritise reflection!
This is harder for some people more than others and putting other people first is often glorified. From lived experience, I can assure you that serving other people before yourself is one of the biggest disservices you can provide both to yourself and other people. Getting into the habit of recognising what you need and doing what you can to satiate those needs will create so much more stability in your life and, hopefully, allow you to feel more confident with the decisions you make.
I warned you that this post wouldn’t be perfect, but even just writing this blog right now, surrounded by peppermint tea and tap water, I feel so much better and I hope that writing this without any serious editing is a) understandable and b) finds the people who it needs to and gives you some support and maybe even guidance. No matter how dark things seem, I promise you that a lighter, brighter time is coming- you just have to wait a little longer.
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
Feature Image taken at Eden, Burscough