Happy New Year everyone and apologies it’s been SUCH a long time! Now that I’m working full time (which weirdly I still feel like I notice) I find that at the end of the day I want to binge watch Netflix whilst eating gluten free hobnobs and not stare at yet another computer (yes I acknowledge that the TV is simply a larger screen and there really isn’t a huge difference). I therefore continue to put off writing unless it is 6:30am and I am yet to be stuck with my nose to a computer for another working day.
I have also found Christmas this year really difficult and anxiety provoking and it’s taken me a while to shake it off. It’s funny because there were lots of memes going round over the Christmas period about the importance of looking after yourself and taking time out and I seemed to share these with enthusiasm but not actually take any of them on board. I am probably best described as an ambivert but appear to most people to be an extravert because I talk a lot and and am happy to lead in social situations. This is misleading because I find other people kind of exhausting and I’m a real ‘personal space’ kind of person so spending a few days cooped up with literally no room to take yourself off to is hard. In an ideal world I’d spend about 60% of my time with people and 30% on my own; seeing as my job is so social I pretty much hit that 60% at work so I choose to retreat into my house like a little hermit crab most of the working week.
As my immediate family is so big there really wasn’t a spare room to coop up in over Christmas; I started Christmas eve in my mums bed due to a lack of actual sleeping spaces but my insomnia forced me to sneak out in the middle of the night, looking for any kind of available space to be awake in I managed to end up in my 13 year old brothers high bed (very rickety and terrifying, wobbled like it was about to collapse with every movement) and then the mattress on the floor of my 15 year old sisters room. We have all spent Christmases on semi deflated air beds, part of a larger tetris of sleeping bodies crammed into a study and it is this lack of physical space to take ourselves off to as well as the pressure to have a great time for an entire day that can be challenging for all of us. However much we love our families being totally mashed together isn’t good for us.
I also found the lack of routine and structure super stressful!! I should have known this because even when I have a weekend with no plans and even when I want to spend that doing literally nothing I still feel a need to do that in a formal, structured way; I choose to wear lounge clothes, cook some nice food and light some candles, I don’t seem to have the ability to just chill the frick out and lie in being a bit gross. I think this continues to be my latent ‘benefits guilt’ which is essentially that I have been told by the government for so long that I am scrounging that I feel a huge weight of pressure to prove I am not just swanning about my flat watching TV and eating junk food; even though I was more than justified to do this when I was unwell if i needed to let alone now when I work. When I was on benefits and had a terrible night of insomnia I would rebelliously fight a nap just because it made me feel gross and dirty to be doing nothing, these days I try to remind myself that a nap is ok if I need one!
I have been reminded of this need for structure over the past two weeks whilst off work sick. Now obviously if you’re sick you need to rest but I fought against the elements most mornings, much to the frustration of my colleagues, to get into work only to be sent home on arrival. This is because a) I start to go a bit stir crazy when I have no routine AND am too unwell to implement one and b) I continue to feel a need to ‘catch up’ at work and prove my value. Again the government sits on my shoulder whispering into my ear, reminding me that I have spent a long time not working and using up public money, and that I am still ill a lot which probably makes me a burden to my organisation and team mates. I know this is unreasonable and simply not true but I continue to feel the pressure I felt when on benefits despite working full time now. Upon my return to work my Manager reminded me that I am indeed committed to my job and no one would doubt that, that I am an asset to the organisation regardless of my health that and I need to fricken look after myself better. This week I have finally called my GP, arranged a dentist appointment I’ve been putting off (turns out rightly so, they’re whipping out a tooth AND I need filling) and am organising an eye test. It sounds ridiculous but rather than leave work slightly early to actually look after myself I power through, desperate not to be any more of a pain in the toosh than I already feel. The reality is that both my physical and mental health suffer so this years resolution is to start acknowledging that I need to apply the same work ethic I have in my job to actually looking after myself.