It is finally the end of Term 2, and the end of a long Semester 1. With everything that has happened, I am glad to finally have a break. Working for 23 weeks, without a proper rest, has had me drained and emotionally, physically, mentally and in some ways spiritually tired.
This level of exhaustion made me realize that things need to change and I need to be more proactive in managing my emotions and energy.
Halfway through Term 2, at my lowest, I made a list of hobbies and activities I wanted to do but held myself back from. Things that made me happy but I pushed aside because of reluctance.
I had a look at the excuses, and realized that the only one holding me back was myself. The only one who held the keys to my happiness was myself.
Upon that realization, I gave myself permission and I made a promise to myself – to do more that makes me happy.
Starting with these holidays, there are three areas I am going to focus on:
Fix my DSLR camera and discover what type of photography I like and take more photos.
Be more physically active.
Do more hikes/walks around Perth as well as being in nature more.
Here’s to the things that make you happy. I’ll keep you updated on how my three focus areas are going.
When I was scrolling through Instagram stories, I spotted this image and it hit a chord. It hit a chord because it summed up how I feel when I’m feeling like I’ve been rushed (by life, or people, or a conversation). It also highlighted a recent lesson I’ve learnt and I thought I’d share it with you.
It’s been quiet here on Liebe + Letters because I’ve had a sudden increase of my workload (almost two-fold) and have been a duck straddling water to keep above the water. This high pressure to get things done at a last minute has made me feel like I’ve been stuck in the eye of a tornado with deadlines, emails, tasks whirling around me at a far faster speed than myself. Cue a faster heartbeat, increase in adrenaline and stress levels.
I found it harder to fall asleep – my brain wouldn’t switch off. I need to come up with behavioural strategies to deal with this scenario. How do I make kids more engaged in this task? What do I need to do tomorrow? Set a reminder to contact a parent. On and on these thoughts went and in the end I became more exhausted. My mental health slipped and not surprisingly, I became sick.
After a few days of feeling directionless, it was a realisation I had whilst conversing with a friend that snapped me out of feeling rushed. I realised that I was being rushed, and it was to my own detriment. My brain was still processing all the extra changes and responsibilities, and I had not given myself time to slow down and properly process it.
In the middle of the vortex of being rushed, it’s easy to feel unnoticed, misunderstood and isolated. It is a lonely feeling seeing the world blur around you and it can get frustrating.
What helped me stop feeling rushed and more confident about my abilities was to call it out and acknowledge that being panicked would not help the situation. My mantra became “I am okay – there is enough time for what I need to do. Take a breath and have a look at the bigger picture.”
Taking a step back helped calmed things down and highlight areas I was overthinking. Calling it out helped stop the looping patterns that causes me to overthink. By the end, I could deal with my workload in a better way that wasn’t to my detriment.
Rushed is meant to be a temporary state, and I need to acknowledge that more. I’m working on steps on listening to my body more, listening to my anxiety less and slowing down to appreciate what I have. That’s my lesson that I learnt this week, and I’m hoping that it’s helped you too.
December rolls around every year, and accompanying December is the process to reflect, and if necessary, change or modify any personal goals. You know, that end of year routine common to many people.
We, humans, are creatures of habit and we seem to really like our routines. Routines let us understand what is coming up and can act as a comparison stick in case anything out of the ordinary arises. Just like in a maths equation, once we know the variables, we can solve the equation. Routines help us figure out the variables.
The lead up to the holidays often means that our routines get interrupted, with all the planning, cooking, that last minute rush to sort out presents and fitting in as many social events before the year ends getting in the way. We are so busy looking out for everyone else, we forget to look after ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, looking after others is an important part of our lives because it builds empathy. It helps us connect with people, and we learn from each other. Yet empathy can’t be developed on an empty tank. One really important part of building empathy is self-awareness, the ability to distinguish between our feelings and thoughts with the feelings and thoughts of others. As such, we need to connect with our own thoughts and feelings, not neglect them.
One thing 2017 has taught me is that it is okay to take a step back from the chaos of life, all the competing pressures in your life and to look after oneself. It is okay to take that 10-minute break enjoying the seaside, or that 10-minute meditation practice or simply to sit down with a cup of tea enjoying the nature around you.
Because in looking after everyone else over the holiday season, we also need to connect with ourselves. So over the next 19 days left in 2017, and in the 12 days up until Christmas, schedule some time with yourself on a daily basis.