This afternoon I gave myself some down time. I chose to relax for a few hours.
That might be odd to some considering it’s Sunday. But to me I feel guilty if I am not doing something.
Even if it's just catching up on emails or working on one of my projects.
I have worked hard for my whole life. I’ve always strived to fill my days with work. I’ve always been very driven but at what price?
My health for starters has suffered for various reasons but one of them being working extremely long hours.
My relationship suffers when I don’t give my husband time, we start to loose our connection.
My relationships with family and friends drift apart because I’m prioritising work. My close friends always know I will be there for them when ever they need me but it’s not the same as just hanging out having a laugh or doing normal things together, chatting and creating memories.
So basically I’ve learnt the hard way that whilst I love to keep going sometimes it’s just as important to stop.
To give myself the permission to do nothing.
To allow myself time out not chasing that endless to do list.
To snuggle with my fur babies.
To sit in the sun and watch them playing.
To curl up and watch Netflix
To hang out with my husband or family or friends
I’m still learning to balance my life but I am not on the verge of burn out at any minute like I used to be.
It’s a work in progress and the hardest hurdle to get past is the guilt I still feel when I am taking time out, the guilt that I am not working every waking minute.
Not entirely sure where that guilt comes from just know it's been there as long as I remember.....I know where the workaholic drive comes from though...the need to fill the void after my partner committed suicide. It was my survival mode, it was the way I dealt with the pain. I became addicted to work. I used it to escape my painful reality.
I worked more and more hours, as much as I possibly could, even managing night clubs Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights to fill in as much time as I could so I didn't have the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts and feelings. It got me through. I am grateful I did not turn to drugs or alcohol or other forms of addiction but over 11 years later now and it is still my default way of being even though I don't need it to survive it's become such a big part of who I am.
I am trying to unlearn that, trying to create a me away from work.
A me that doesn't need to be working every waking moment to survive.
A me that can be normal in social situations.
A me that isn't so awkward when I am at an event or in a social situation and not working.
The ironic thing is that people think I am a party girl because I have always been "out" but really I have always been working in events and night clubs and I actually find it really hard to be out and relaxed in that environment now as I am so used to working. I hate small talk, I have anxiety walking in to events, I feel like I will have nothing to say, like I have nothing to add by being there. I think I sometimes scare people by launching into intensely deep conversations about the meaning of life 5 minutes after meeting them which they entertain to be polite.
The few times I would be out socially I used to love being at clubs because the music was too loud to talk so I didn't have to do more than say Hi and I could just dance.
I used to avoid BBQs and other occasions where people would definitely be sitting around talking.
I am getting better at being less awkward and more relaxed in those situations but it's been a challenge to learn to be ok with just being me and not second guessing everything I say.
I am much better at not having to be on the go all the time. Not having to fill every waking minute. Being alone with my feelings and thoughts but it has been a long process. 11 years of working on myself and working through it all. 11 years of learning to be ok who I am.
Yoga has been a crucial part of learning to slow down. Trying to meditate helps although I find it so hard to switch my brain off. Earthing or grounding helps. Watching sunsets has an amazing calming effect on my soul.
Having pets helps because they insist on cuddles and scratches and attention.
I don't ever want to be lazy and I don't think that is in me but I would like to be able to chill for a couple of hours or do something non work related and not feel guilt. Maybe that will come with time or maybe it's just ingrained in me.
I figure as long as I am aware of it and working on it then it can only get better.....