Busy-ness, Balance and Time

Written by Classmate 

For the last while I feel like I’ve been running on empty. Not empty of fuel or anything like that, but more so that I’ve gotten myself tangled up in too many ‘have tos’ and not enough ‘like tos’. Many people out there work long hours, and I’m no different. But the drain of getting up at ridiculous o’clock and traipsing in the dark to the bus was taking its toll. Of course it would have been easier if I saw sunlight the other side of work but this is November in Ireland so it is what it is! 

Weekends would roll around and I’d be left gasping for air. I so badly wanted to be left alone. I was trying to explain this to my partner yesterday. You know the way if you’ve been to a concert or night club and stood too close to the speakers? And your ears scream loudly long after you’ve arrived home? My brain felt like that. As though the neurones were screaming to stop firing (this is not real science, but merely my interpretation lol). 

My weekends were packed with lots of activities, fabulous people, really really REALLY nice things. But I am left feeling resentful of the time I spent with loved ones, instead of grateful. I am so excited to be recovered that I keep losing the run of myself. I have eaten in so many restaurants the last while, I’ve just been craving some simple food prepared by my own fair hands. I have been in so many noisy places, I’ve just been craving some silence. My mouth has chatted and chatted and chatted so much, I’ve just been craving solitude. I keep making plans because I’m so excited my mind allows me this freedom, but seem to have not found the balance yet. 

I’m working in a really sad job at the moment. I check our work list every morning to see if anyone died overnight, and it’s not suiting my sensitivity because I feel so powerless. I keep chatting to myself about this- boundaries, self support, self kindness, time-outs, nourishment in all forms, gratitude. I know all the buzzwords. I know all the tools to help me through this but sometimes there’s just no escaping my sensitivity. There’s no escaping the sadness of young people dying, all their hopes and dreams suspended in time. 

I’ve had many careworks where it was highlighted again and again that gratitude is my weapon. But if I keep overloading myself with activities and responsibilities then it’s like swimming against the tide. Of course it’s important to make the most out of our lives, but it’s also important not to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Sometimes less is more.

I was in tears on Sunday night because it was suddenly 9pm and I’d not baked any flapjacks and the hoovering wasn’t done and I’d not studied XYZ and I hadn’t washed my hair and I hadn’t ironed my work clothes or laid them out, and I felt so angry with myself for letting the weekend pass without doing what I needed to do in order to have an easier week. I was also angry at my partner for not reading my mind (!!) that I wanted him to do lots of house work. Well MOMENT, since when has getting angry at myself ever helped AT ALL? 

It was like the wake up call I needed, because I’d slowly slipped back into victim mode. I was full flight victim. STOP. 

I know I say this a lot, but I always imagined that when I recovered I would be a perfect person. Clearly I didn’t understand what recovery meant. Recovery simply means that I don’t turn to self destruction when times are challenging. I self support. Therefore it’s time for an overload of self support. 

In condition I really struggled to sit still. I struggled to sit down and ‘do nothing’. It was like there was a motor inside me that made me keep moving, even if it meant wiggling on the spot. I found it very challenging to allow myself free time, and felt everything was a pressure to achieve. But now I realise the value of ‘doing nothing’. Because there’s no such thing as doing nothing. I’m always breathing, repairing my body, recouping my energy, decreasing my stress hormones, processing my thoughts etc. Nothing is wasted. 

I suddenly was able to take a few days off work. So here I am. 

I’ve learned a lot from all this. Mainly that I still need to find the balance. I need to work on how to set my life up so that I don’t keep finding myself super busy-busy, at the expense of my sanity. I’ve realised that everything has a consequence, and that I can’t do everything. Something has to give! I’ve also realised that I need to put myself first sometimes, and I don’t owe my time to anybody- it’s ok to say no, maybe another time. I’ve realised that I need to take more responsibility for my life and stop acting like I am a victim of circumstance. I’ve realised that I still put pressure on myself to make the most of my time, but there is enough time for everything that’s important to me! I’ve learned that organisation is self care, and when I slack on organisation then I tend to make life much harder for myself. 

But the biggest thing I’ve realised is that I still have a value of busy-ness. And this needs to go because I’m draining myself dry. 

Some questions I have been asking myself:

Q. How am I spending my time?

Q. How would I spend my time if I wasn’t worried about what other people thought or wanted?

Q. Are my values reflected in how I spend my time?

So I’m having a ME day today. I have a lot of making up to do to myself so I’ll leave it there 🙂