Being Lazy is Self care

Sunday, 4 November 2018

It's not been the greatest of weeks causing my anxiety/stress levels to go through the roof and send me into a series of mini manic spirals. The sciatica pain in my leg still lingering, I went for an endoscopy on Monday (which I might add is a thoroughly uncomfortable and unpleasant but on the plus side they couldn't find a reason for my random vomit episodes), on top of that I had a reaction to a new beauty product and my face now resembles a sun slapped puffer fish! So I've been slinking off to bed early with my laptop to sulk and binge watch Netflix, something I rarely do, not sulking, I'm always sulking. On Thursday I barely made it through the start of a film before I dozed off, I was that tired but then again I'm always tired, I mean like since forever. Over the years I have attributed it to many things, being young and restless, a rather prolonged bout of insomnia that sent me into one of my worse spirals and now because I just don't know how to switch off because I'm middle aged and restless. Not even in sleep, even on the rare nights when I get uninterrupted sleep (I wake up on average at least twice in the night) I'm still not fully rested, I have wild dreams, fitful sleep, my body and my brain do not know how to rest, which is probably why it's continually breaking down! When I think about it, not being able to switch off has been a problem as far back as I can remember.

On Monday I felt going to bed early was warranted considering I'd just spent the afternoon having a camera tube shoved down my gullet, yes I did have a peek at my insides also I felt a bit bruised which is normal, and decided to take advantage and have some down time. Tuesday I did the same but I was fine so it felt a little indulgent, what is the difference in lying in bed and watching TV than sitting on the sofa watching TV, well on the sofa I'd usually be doing something else as well like knitting, multitasking will be my downfall. By Friday I had fully embraced my new lazy self and have caught up on three Netflix series in my never-ending watch list. The thing is what I call lazy isn't really lazy, it's just rest. Like I said I'm not really good at resting, I'm a constant fidget, even in my sleep, people hated sharing beds with me when I was young as I would move so much in my sleep. I rarely wake in the same position I fell asleep in, I've been toying with getting one of those weighted blankets to see if that helps. I envy my husband who sleeps like the dead but also relieved that my constant restlessness doesn't keep him awake too.

Going self employed was both a blessing and a curse, blessed my time was no longer owed to someone else, cursed that I don't know how to switch off. When you work for someone else, you have cut off point, we'll call it 9 till 5 for the sake of argument, it varies but when your shift is over, most of the time you get to go, switch everything off, leave and it's there waiting for you the next time you walk in for the next shift. You get benefits like annual leave, sick pay, etc, I get that varies from job to job and in some not at all but for the large part in public sector it does. In self employment these things need to be factored in, so for the most part you over compensate for the just in case scenarios and swing widely over to workaholic status and sometimes forgetting to switch off entirely. This happened a lot in the beginning, early mornings, late nights and frequently asking what day of the week is it and not knowing when I last took a day off. Since then I've learned to dial it down a little, set routines and a more structured work day but I still sneak in work during the evenings and weekends to keep things ticking over and running, and also because when the creativity flows, you let it flow. 

I have over the years had many creative pursuits/hobbies/interests. I like to give things a try myself but recently I've been very tired and bashing myself for not being more creative and hands on. Not making enough, not writing enough, not cooking from scratch enough. I keep calling myself lazy but I know I'm not mostly because I can't fit everything into all the hours of the day but then I also spend a large amount of my day procrastinating. Not the sitting round and staring at a blank page kind of procrastinating, the kind where I'll clear out a cupboard, or clean the whole flat, do all the laundry, relandscape the garden (I kid you not)  just to avoid doing the thing I'm supposed to be doing, so technically still getting shit done. My husband says I'm the least laziest person he knows and that I don't know how to relax and he's definitely right on the latter.

I have stacks of books to read mostly because I buy books faster than I can read, a pile of sewing projects to finish, new projects to plan, design and make, blog posts to finish, a book to write and other stuff. I had loads of plans for creative projects for Halloween but I lost my Halloween spirit and turned the pumpkins into risotto and soup because I just could not be bothered. You should know that me losing their Halloween spirit is the equivalent of Santa Claus not be arsed with Christmas! Me and Betty Crocker have been baking up a storm because I can't even bear the thought of baking from scratch. I love cooking, it's therapeutic, it's great eating a homemade meal from scratch but you know what sometimes you just gotta eat the ready meal or bake that ready mix cake because time is short, energy is low, enthusiasm has long gone! These are all the things I know and give as advice to others but never put into practice myself but I'm currently recalibrating and adjust to stop being so hard on myself. What is the point of starting over in a new adventure if you burn out before the first hurdle?

I've had enough burnouts to know the importance of rest, I'm just not good at looking after myself, slowing down, or learning my lesson. This is probably because I've spent a lot of time pandering to other people's needs but I'm getting more selfish, it's not been popular amongst some for obvious reasons but pulling back and making people deal with their own problems has freed up some time. I'm fortunate to have someone who has my back and reminds me constantly it's okay to tell people no and that looking after yourself is not selfish, and that you don't need to justify that to them.  There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to self care and knowing your limitations. It took me a long time to learn that I was not limiting myself enough and that includes time with other people. It's so easy to overstretch yourself, just do this one little thing, oh and then this and then that. People are also great at guilt tripping with their oh you look fine, you never do anything I ask, you're always letting me down! Or everything turns into a competition, they've had a harder day, they're more stressed, they're been more ill, I'm a magnate for these people!

Not only that we are always being encouraged to push ourselves to the limit to achieve maximum results but for what? And more importantly for whom? Yes deadlines are important and whatnot but I'm talking more about trying to do everything, it's an easy trap to fall into, everything in the world is designed to make you feel you are underachieving or not trying hard enough and it's all a lie. So the next time you feel guilty for taking a time out and just chilling when you could be a number of other things on your to do list, don't! 


(Photo by me taken in Leigh on Sea)

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