I’m in a strange period of flux at the moment. My health still isn’t great, and I’ve not been putting in the work for my mental health either. I’m running myself ragged with work, social obligations, running my blog and trying to keep up with everyone and everything, to the point where I’m not doing any of it well.
I’ve had to take a step back and reassess where I’m at, not only with my priorities but with what makes me feel good, and what has a negative impact on my mental health. And I thought I’d share them here, partly to keep me accountable and on track, and partly to explain a few changes I’ll be making.
Phone free weekends.
This is something I’ve been trialling over the last few weeks and honestly it’s made a massive difference. I know that my stress levels will directly correlate with time spent on my phone, the more screen time I have, the more anxious and on edge I feel. I’ve been leaving my phone at home on weekend explorations, leaving it tucked in my bedside drawer from Friday night to Monday morning. And honestly? It feels great. Not checking in with twitter or instagram, not feeling like I’ve got a hundred and one messages to reply to, not feeling constantly on edge. It’s made a massive difference to how I feel, it’s like ACTUAL downtime, a designated time to relax and shut off.
A nice unexpected side effect of this is I’ve been using my cameras more! I’d often head out with just my phone because, let’s face it, the iPhone XS takes GREAT photos, and it’s less to carry. But by leaving it at home, I’ve been taking my proper cameras and playing with photography again a bit more, and loving it.
Taking a step back, socially.
I am so very lucky in my life to have so many truly wonderful, fantastic friends. And I’m not sure quite how to phrase this one without sounding like the worst friend in the world by contrast. I have so many great friends, spread around the country, the globe even. I’m lucky that they’re all so supportive, so kind and caring, so generous and lovely. But I’m an introvert at heart, and I’ve recently realised that I’ve been trying so hard to be a good friend in return, I’ve not been being a good friend to myself. I’ve been emotionally overburdening myself with coffee dates, four hour round trips to visit people, constant messaging all day. My diary is full, and I seem to constantly have a hundred messages to reply to, and it’s just too much for me. I’m an introvert at heart, and I’ve been trying so hard to be my friends’ perfect idea of a friend, I’ve not been engaging in friendships the way that’s best for me.
I’m hoping my pals understand, I’ve sent out some rambling apologetic messages for taking time out, and I’m not scheduling in anything right now. Luckily, most of them understand and are supportive, and it’s my own worries I need to work on addressing. I honestly think taking some time out socially to focus on my own mental health now will make me a better friend in the long run, even if it makes me a crappy one in the short term.
Starting my day with meditations.
I had a really interesting chat last week with Francesca Oddie, an astrologer who happened to be doing readings at a press event I went to. It’s not something I’d ever considered doing before, but it was really interesting, and she really nailed a lot of things about me, without much to go on. We talked a lot about how I’m in this period of change, and she really encouraged me to carve out more time for meditation. I know I do better when I spend more time meditating, and right now I could really use some time to connect with my intuition and figure out what’s next for me.
Prioritise time outside.
Taking a step back from my phone and from social obligations opens up time to spend in other ways. It’s the perfect time of year to really make the most of living in such a picturesque area, being a ten minute walk from the beach and fifteen minutes drive from the forest, there’s really no excuse for flaking on this one. Back at the beginning of the year I was in a really good place with making sure I was heading out at least every other day, but with my health being as it is this petered off and I stopped making the effort. The weather right now is perfect for getting back into this, so I’m making an effort to walk every day, even if it’s not for long. A few minutes of fresh air does so much for my mental health.
Taking the blogging pressure off.
I’ve never been a ‘career blogger’ no shade to those who are, it’s just not what was right for me. This blog is always something I’ve done out of love, and for fun, not because I had to or because it’s work. I’ve been pretty sporadic with posting recently, and it’s mostly because of the pressure I’ve been putting on myself to churn out regular, useful content. Sometimes, I don’t have anything to say, and sometimes I just want to ramble knowing that at least one of you will get it. I’m taking the pressure of regular posting off, and honestly? I’m just going to write whatever I feel.
So yeah, the theme for this summer really is just slowing down, and I’m good with that!