I get the impression that the majority of you guys are quite similar to me.
You like pizza, you really like good make-up days, and you like, without even realising it, to mentally beat yourself up.
You like to tell yourself off and punish yourself for the things you haven’t got done because lord forbid you decided to watch a second episode of Riverdale when you’d previously assigned that 43-minute slot to replying to emails.
So you hate on yourself. You convince yourself of all the terrible things that will probably now happen because you didn’t work hard enough.
You tell yourself that you’re lazy. You tell yourself that you’re not good enough. You tell yourself that you’ll fall behind. You tell yourself that you’re falling short of all the goals and ambitions and dreams you’ve set yourself in your head. You tell yourself worse things than you’d ever say about people you actively dislike.
You are, when it comes down to it, not very nice to yourself.
And, over the bank holiday weekend I took it pretty easy.
I saw some pals, I watched a few crime documentaries, I ate Thai food, organised an Ipswich blogger meet-up, did some ironing, caught up on Grey’s Anatomy, cleaned the bathroom, and took a nap or two.
But the guilt, the harrowing guilt for not getting ahead with work, stuck with me.
It lingered at the back of my mind like a really bad smell in the air.
And every now and then I’d berate myself for wasting the three days, for not having not achieved enough.
So it was when I spotted Beverley’s tweet on Sunday evening that said: ‘All I’ve done today is shower, cook breakfast, watch movies, and drink tea. Slowly learning that I don’t need to “achieve” every day.’ I was like FUCKING BIG FAT SEXY-SIZE YES TO THAT.
And it gave me a little reminder that actually, looking after yourself is achieving something. And even more than that, looking after yourself is achieving something on a much bigger scale than editing a video or scheduling tweets or plotting chapter outlines.
The issue is, I think unless we feel like we’ve at least waded somewhere into the middle of our to-do list first, that time we spend ‘looking after ourselves’ i.e. the time we spent curled up on the sofa with Netflix, a blanket and wine/tea/a can of Diet Coke feels undeserved.
As though the things on our to-do list are somehow more important and more valid uses of time than say, giving your head and your body a bit of downtime and a bit of respite from our p.hectic lives.
When actually, if you think about the one thing in life you’d prize above all else, it’d probably be your health over your job or your bank account or how clean your house is.
And so I think, on days where we’re feeling like a big, lazy pile of flubber, you have to fight back against your brain. You have to do the very thing your mum told you off for doing as a teenager – you have to give yourself backchat and you have to give yourself lip.
You have to follow up the guilt-ridden thoughts with BUT IT IS VITAL TO JUST SWITCH EVERYTHING OFF AND EXIST FOR A FEW HOURS/FEW DAYS BECAUSE I NEED RECOVERY TIME.
They say with sport and exercise that it’s the recovery rather than the actual physical movement that makes you stronger, and I believe the same is true of most things in life.
It’s during those moments of recovery, in those blissful little periods where I stop mentally attacking myself and I let go of all the internal stresses and pressures mounting in my brain, where I not only feel my happiest, but I feel most on top of my game.
I feel content and in control and inspired, like I really could take over the world. And, because my mind isn’t racing for the next great idea or trying to panic-choose which task to tackle next, I actually have ideas. GOOD IDEAS. They wander into my mind without me even searching for them.
So this post is just your monthly Hannah Gale reminder to take care of yourself. To take time out. To cherish your downtime. To pull back on the guilt. To slow down. To breathe. And to remember that life isn’t about the achievements, it’s about the moments.
Over and out.