Oh how good it feels to to write. I’ve been planning this blog in my head for a while now. Anticipating the weekend where I’ll have time to sit, time to think, time to just, ‘be’. Travel time.
There was once a time I felt like I practically lived on a train as travel was a huge part of my job. I would also visit family and friends that didn’t live near me often and it would be tiresome.
These days, travel at times feels different to me, and I see it as an opportunity to just be on my own where I know I can just sit back, on coach or on train, and just be. Me time.
Talking of time…the clocks go back on Sunday. We gain an hour, hooray! Whilst I really do welcome this I carry a little caution for the potential effects that the darker evenings and mornings will have on me. Another reason why I’m writing on this topic as I prepare for this time.
For a while now I’ve been thinking more and more about my time. Ive written about it before but it’s about time I checked in with myself again.
Back in the day my weekends were jam packed of breakfast, lunch and dinner dates, drinks in the evenings, one after the other, different areas, travel, party, sleep and on to the next day to repeat. I really don’t know how I did it so often but at the time I feel like I thrived off of it – whether that was the case or not I’m not sure, it seems so long ago I don’t even remember. I think I wanted my every minute full. God knows why. Maybe I didn’t want to be alone in my reality or how I was feeling. Maybe it was my mental health. Did it make me feel important? Because it sure makes me feel other things now. Not good things. I try not to book my time like that yet often feel I think about my time like that in terms of my productivity which isn’t always helpful. There are always busy periods and this sure has been one of them.
Since a particularly dark one which started around mid November last year and fizzled out mid February this one, I physically and mentally had no choice but to take a step back from the glorified busy world that many live in.
On my birthday I had a brunch with some of my favourite women and found that many of them, like me at that time, seemed more than happy with a cuppa and cake over a ‘wild night out’ and this reassured me a bit. Not that I needed that to validate my own preferences. I know it’s different when you’re in a relationship too sometimes. I’ve been more into deep and meaningful chat and the quality of time rather than quantity of social events for a long time now. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good boogie as much as the next person but a night in with music and people I know appealed to me much more so I could feel in a safer space. My relationship with alcohol has definitely changed. Sure some nights I may have a bit more but I could easily go through weeks at a time without. I used to worry what people thought if I didn’t fancy a drink but I own my preference around this much better now. To be honest, I can’t really afford to have as many days feeling hungover when I already have to make other additional adjustments to my lifestyle to look after my mental health and it would feel quite self destructive if I drunk much more regularly than I do. It actually feels quite liberating. I enjoy it in moderation a lot more. I feel like I’m actually tasting things (food too, though this can still be a battle) rather than barely experiencing large consumptions of what I’m shoving or guzzling into my body. My behaviours can often be influenced by who I’m with but it’s my responsibility to listen to myself and respect my limits without feeling a certain way or just accepting feelings that might come with it. Connecting with communities who feel similarly also help with this. I do this through reading other blogs or listening to podcasts and it really helps.
Now this blog was inspired by 2 things:
1. Another Blog by Poorna Bell about how her social calendar was nauseating being booked up for months and how adopting a ‘2 week rule’ was something she was going to give a go as a solution to it. It was met with different responses. I think it’s a bit too hard for me especially having friends and family in different places requiring some advanced planning and train and coach fares being more expensive for last minute plans as well as also factoring in others availability, but I get it. I really do. My November weekends whilst packed with lovely people and/or events leave minimal, minuscule, seemingly non existent time for me. This isn’t about ‘being popular’ and having ‘so many people to see’ or ‘things to do’, some of my friends are without this problem and I aspire to learn to time manage like them. It could be about an ability to say no. To say “hey, I need to look after myself”. To have a weekend where your only plan is nil plans without feeling selfish or guilty. However, this problem does not just belong to me, it’s actually a reflection of many others calendars and how much of our society so called functions (burning out in the process). I don’t think it’s healthy. I don’t think it’s cool. Yet it has made me question at times and want to compare myself to others which I equally know – is not healthy and is not cool – “so and so seems to be able to do all this and they can manage.” But can they though? Do they? Or are they also drowning in their own calendars. Suffocating in silence but appearing with a shiny social media feed of success by juggling every thing under the sun.
The second thing that led me to write this is just the desperation I have felt to value my time more. My time / me time whatever time it is we have in the day. I and many others can be so judgemental of their own ‘productivity’ whether in work or in their personal lives. I’m guilty of this and I tell you one thing, it’s often not worth beating ourselves up (verbally often brutally) about. It’s the inner critic that’s coming at you again finding something else to pick on and making you feel you should have done more, you should be more, and so on, and so on. It’s a vicious cycle and right now – my senses are heightened, alerting me like the good nervous system does, and I’ve become aware in hope to catch it before it catches me and pins me down.
Admittedly, I’m already in this cycle as my thoughts of next weeks to do lists are filling and spilling over my mind and surfacing before I sleep and even in my dreams. Nice – I know.
It probably also hasn’t helped that I was physically unwell for 2 weeks, setting me back in many ways and I wasn’t exactly being kind to myself about how behind I was and felt which probably prolonged my recovery. It also meant I wasn’t able to exercise and haven’t in a long while. It meant I didn’t have the energy to cook healthier meals and take care of myself. Naturally and inevitably I felt a deterioration in my wellbeing.
Now whilst I don’t intend or want to will-fully cancel any of these packed weekends or other plans, I will become particularly careful when it comes to future scheduling (the Christmas season will be upon us in no time!) and if I need to prioritise my health I will try not to feel guilt if I do cancel. True loved ones will want me to look after me. It will have less to do with not wanting to see certain people or do particular things, yet I will need to be cautious who I give out my energy to and receive it from.
Something needs to change, and with a change in time, I welcome a change in mine.
Maybe it’s time to check in on yours?
A x 💙