I’m giving myself a break.
Not quite the break I’d like to give myself – somewhere hot and sunny next to a beautiful beach for peace and quiet, blissful tranquility….*drifts off in a dream*.
Sadly I can’t have that at the moment – finances, work, and other sensible boring grown-up things are getting in the way of the idyllic dream.
Now, I could beat myself up about the lack of money and therefore holiday; I could sulk about the crappy weather and lack of sunshine. Admittedly, I’m not happy about the current situation but what’s the point in wallowing in self-pity about it?
There is no point.
The way I try to look at it is that the lack of money can be worked on – spend less, manage it better, find new ways to bring in more. Then, perhaps I can go on holiday. The current crappy weather I can do nothing about but to brighten my mood I can wear brightly-coloured clothes, do creative things, or encourage some endorphins to come out to play by going to the gym.
An analogy I like to use is that any of us have only a certain amount of energy in the tank. The energy in that tank includes physical and emotional energy. A significant portion of our energy is spent on doing everyday stuff. Work, family, housework, normal regular general life stuff.
Things don’t always go to plan, people can annoy us, things can get in our way….it’s easy to get caught up spending more energy than we can afford on letting it get to us. Letting it eat away at us, gnawing at our brains, sucking out our joy – and it starts to affect the energy we have for the normal everyday stuff.
We end up running on fumes. We get more ratty, more stressed, more annoyed. With those we love, with people in general, and with ourselves. It becomes a huge vicious circle.
I know I’ve done that more times than I would like to think about, and I’ve found out the hard way just how much it damages my overall wellbeing, physically and mentally. My head feels like it is about to explode with all the thoughts jostling for attention, I am too tired to think about exercising, I end up relying on cake and chocolate to get me through, then berate myself for it all….which yep, no spoiler alerts needed becomes a downward spiral towards burnout.
These days, I try to give myself a break.
This morning, my day off, I had planned to go to a spin class, which is something I enjoy. I woke up feeling a bit grotty, though, so gave it a miss. This afternoon, I went out with Martin to a local cafe and enjoyed a delicious cake. This evening, I’ll probably have a glass of wine that will go down very well indeed.
A few months ago I would have given myself a terrible time for missing my workout class, and for breaking my good run of healthy eating.
Today, though, I reflected on what I have achieved, how far I have come, that it’s ok to miss a day. I reminded myself that I have been working out really hard these past few weeks, as well as working on other things, that sometimes my body needs a break and that I need to listen to it in order that it can continue to do all the things I need it to do over the longer term.
I remembered that life doesn’t always have to be perfect.
That indeed, it can’t always be perfect.
Life is all about balance. A couple of things that can help achieve balance, even in a hectic lifestyle (or especially in a hectic lifestyle!) are a bit of self-compassion, and learning when to let things go.
Today doesn’t represent failure: I know I’ve invested enough in my wellbeing that taking a break from things today won’t mean I’m going to return to my old habits. I haven’t given up. Instead, a break is refuelling my energy to keep moving forward for more awesomeness.
Giving myself a break feels good.