It’s Sunday afternoon. I had a lie in this morning, I am still full from an indulgent breakfast, I can smell the roast, and I haven’t moved out of the house yet and have no plans whatsoever to do so. My dog, Jay, pictured above is curled up beside me on the sofa, snoozing away peacefully without a care or worry in the world. Lovely.
But alas, the guilt. It is a constant struggle. Unless I am at breaking point, I find it very hard to relax without feeling guilty or restless about it. Even if I am genuinely tired or feeling unwell, I have to keep pushing through for fear of wasting away time or being seen as lazy – to the point where I eventually and inevitably crash and end up having to take more time out than I would have needed had I listened to my body in the first place and just slowed down for an evening. Sometimes that’s all one needs; a few hours before bed at the end of a long day to switch off (literally, put the phone on aeroplane mode) and relax.
I am getting better at it, though. Take today; I relaxed for the morning and afternoon, but I still posted on the blog and will teach the four beginner violin lessons that I always have on a Sunday evening.
Self-care is very important. I value it deeply and encourage everyone to practice it. Sometimes, though, one goes through times when the ‘self’ part isn’t really working, or just isn’t enough. And that is perfectly okay – that happens. It is vital that we learn to recognise and admit to ourselves when that is the case. Needing help is absolutely natural, but sometimes it is hard to notice and to admit to ourselves when we have gotten to that point. Many of us might feel shamed, or pathetic, or like we might be seen to be exaggerating and just not capable of getting on with perfectly regular day-to-day stresses for no other reason other than pure laziness and unwillingness to take a lead and to just get on with things. Beating oneself up about feeling down is not helpful, and can be really damaging on top of everything else that might be going on.
Of course, being stressed out around a particularly stressful few days or week isn’t something to worry about – we all get stressed. It is when those anxious feelings, those episodes of deep and intense sadness, are on-going, lasting more than just a few days to a week, it is then we need to start thinking about what could be causing them to be so particularly bad.
If, after a time, you can’t seem to put your finger on it and those feelings haven’t improved, talk to someone. You can start with a friend or family member you trust. Sometimes just talking to someone can help you to clear things up for yourself in your own mind. See how this goes, and if it doesn’t help, then consider making an appointment with a professional.
I am not a professional, so after that I can say no more, and even at that – this is just my opinion, my experience, my view on what may help. Everyone is different and deals with things in their own way. My bottom line is this: get to know yourself, to trust yourself, and help yourself. If that means letting others help you to help yourself, absolutely do that.
Ciara D. 17/2/2019