I haven’t posted any blogs or followed my daily routines for two months.
Things just got busy
This is an excuse that we make believable because we can convince ourselves and others that life generally does get busy so of course we can’t do everything, even though the things we’re no longer doing are the things we always had time for before. Did life get that busy?
The truth? I didn’t want to blog. I didn’t want to have to put any of my thoughts to paper. I didn’t want to do my morning routine. I didn’t want to do my evening routine. I wanted a break from doing all these things because it started to feel like I was ticking boxes and I wasn’t convinced that forcing myself to do any of it was the best thing for me. But the guilt of owning this message is or was too much. It felt like I was saying I’m…not dedicated…or I’m not taking care of myself…or I’m lazy (gasp)!
Saying things just got busy is way easier. It means I’m dedicated…to something else and I’m not lazy and I’m taking care of myself by prioritising (the beauty of rational thinking).
Being busy is an excuse to use instead of saying, “I didn’t feel the energy to do any more blogging or self-care routines”, and being able to say this without feeling guilty is…hard. Difficult.
A break from self-care?
Who takes a break from something they enjoy doing or from something that means they’re looking after themselves? Isn’t the “If we stop doing something then it will be hard to get back into?” mantra something we’re meant to fear; or are we meant to learn that life is not linear, more of twists and turns and swiggly lines all over the place and us imposing these things is our way of trying to feel like we’re in control. Let’s try force the swiggly lines to become linear, then feel guilty when we have not succeeded.
It isn’t that I didn’t try to do any routine or try to blog. I did. I have many unfinished drafts of topics that I’ll finish at some stage or not. Blogging for me is a time to reflect, share thoughts, ideas, feelings (look at this growth!) and the more I tried to forced this to happen, the less it happened. So I reflected mentally. Didn’t even journal (oh wait, we know I’m already bad at this so…whoo…much easier message to own).
I reflected from the time I started blogging 8 years ago, and noticed a pattern. Winter. Yes, strange I know. It feels inappropriate to say I hate winter considering that I accept there are benefits and it’s much needed (plus I feel like I’m insulting mother nature). But it’s a season that affects me. In winter, I want to hibernate. And do as little of anything as possible. Besides the absolute necessities, my brain doesn’t want to do anything else. It’s a time of “just getting through this” (this being winter) and being grateful that where I stay I can still see the sun shine during the day. I’m not trying to sound dramatic (I think I sound ridiculous) but for those people close to me, I think they would see the truth in this and my behavior. Everything takes up more energy than normal.
The conundrum that takes place is that I like keeping busy, always having something to do. But during this time more energy gets spent in trying to force myself to do these self-care things and feeling guilty when nothing happens then in actually doing them. Could it be that the real action of self-care would be to not try force anything during this time?
You would think after 8 years, I’d accept that I’d take 2 months off from blogging or whatever else I deem as self-caring (it’s normally around May when I can no longer deny that yes, winter is coming) and I’d be able to put up a post that says, “Thanks for reading, see you in two months when I’m back from hibernating” and live the next two months guilt free that I’ve not blogged anything or done much. The funniest part of all this, is that this doesn’t really affect anyone else but me. I’m the one putting this level of pressure and stress on myself because I told myself that this is what I must do. I’m also pretty sure I’ve told myself to take breaks but hey, even I can’t always follow my own advise.
This year I went to the extent of putting reminders in my calendar because forgetting to do something I supposedly enjoy doing requires this. And what did I end up doing everytime that little sound on my phone went off? I’d feel guilty for not posting for yet another week and delete the reminder (At first I’d move it to a later time but then I stopped lying to myself). And for the rest of the day, I’d be bugged for not being able to think beyond food and warmth. I’d be irritated with myself and feel unnecessary pressure. Then I’d get busy with some distraction that’s unavoidable and say to myself, “Oh yes, I’m too busy so that’s why I couldn’t blog (or do my daily routines)”.
The beauty of rational thought.
Maybe next year, I’ll be able to put that post up, and take the break without the guilt. And maybe I’ll learn and believe that that’s what real self-care is. Listening to what’s needed, not doing things because I’m forcing myself to because I’ve always done it. Maybe next year, I’ll understand that taking a break from all self-care routines and not feeling guilty about it is the real way of caring for one’s self.
Let me put in that reminder.