I recently set myself the challenge of writing a blog every week but its only week three and I’m now several days late with this one! The trouble is I set myself quite a number of challenges recently and it turns out it’s all got a bit too much – I’ve been feeling stressed to say the least. What does that feel like for me?
Waking up at 5am every day? Yes.
Drinking too much coffee? Yep.
Feeling like you’re failing at everything? Sometimes.
Craving cheesecake? Absolutely.
Kids playing up because I’ve been ignoring them? Oh yes…
So this week I decided I would stop. Stop trying to do everything, stop trying to multitask, stop caring if the washing up has piled up and the washing is still in the machine, stop caring about which of the five different commitments I have should be prioritised for the next 45 minutes.
And I spent the day with my son.
No TV or cbeebies games for him, no checking emails for me. I just hung out with him and did whatever he fancied. We had a pillow fight, did jumping jacks, built a train track, went to the farm, pretended to travel at light speed on an ancient tractor, jumped in the hay bales, ate a picnic, took the train track apart and rebuilt it again, read some stories…
It was completely exhausting (there’s no doubt going to work is a break!) but my word do I feel less stressed? Absolutely.
It seems well timed given that it was Mental Health Week last week and the theme this year is STRESS. Now I know there are plenty of people out there with more serious issues than me. I’m privileged to have a bustling family, good physical health that lets me take on lots of roles and care for my family and that I have a busy working life that I love and earns me money.
But I guess I wanted to give a shout out to all those people who are experiencing stressful times in their lives.
Wherever we sit on the spectrum of mental health there is a lot to be said for taking five minutes to just stop.
So if you can – try it. Switch off your phone, close the laptop, turn off the TV and quiet your mind. Maybe spend a day or a few hours with the people around you who you love and love you. Go for a walk in the woods and listen to the birds. Head to the beach and throw stones in the sea. Sit on the floor with your kids and say ‘YES!’ when they ask you to play with them. Ask your partner how their day was and really listen to them.
Whatever it takes…