Recently life has given me a lot to think about.What should I do now? What should I do next? What's my priority? What's my plan? Where will I live? Will I have enough money? I've had a lot of changes to process; a change in the direction of my work and with that a change in my week-to-week schedule. Each negative thought that slips into my mind, that lingers for a bit too long, adds up. The amount on my mind grows into a heavy weight that holds down my mood and makes me feel low. I first started to feel like this during university, when the amount of new pressures was absolutely overwhelming, but only in the last 6 months or so have I really started to pin point what causes my change in moods, my lack of energy and my negative feelings - and what can prevent and relieve them.
This week I've spotted the signs early;
- I'm sleeping a lot more
Not just my usual 8 hours but more - naps in the day, sleeping in. For a while I wondered if I was just being lazy, but then it occurred tome that this might be my body telling me to make time to process what's already going on in my mind before I move on to the next thing. It made sense.
- I'm staying inside more too
And I'm being less social. I got nervous going into a new bar, even though I was with people and there was nothing worry about. I worried about what I was wearing even though I usually couldn't care less what others think of me.
When I really think about it, there's been a definite shift in my behaviour which has bound to be from all the things that I've been trying, desperately, to work out in my head.
So this is what I'm doing about it:
I'm having a mental health reset day.
All this thinking about the new and the unknown has used up a lot of brain space and I've been neglecting the simple but vital areas that are my self-care practises.
These are not complicated but they did take me a long time to recognise, mostly because they're so simple and so easy to overlook! Here are some of them:
- Waking up at roughly the same time everyday and getting out of bed without unnecessary delay (caused by things like trying to plan my day too early and phone checking).
- Starting the day with stretching and breathing - essentially, very basic yoga.
- Taking a shower every morning - and not just for basic hygiene!
The missing ingredient
This week I'm re-committing to another self-care practise that I've been overlooking for far too long.
Being in nature.
For real, Me, the nature photographer, the wildlife watcher. I have been over-looking being around what so much of my work is based on.
Why? Again, I think it's to do with working from "home" and not needing to go anywhere most of the time. I can get up, get ready, sit at my desk and go. What's missing is something I've always had in the past - a walk to work. Even at school I would spend the first half an hour of my day outside, gently exercising, undoubtedly spotting birds and other critters among the terraced and council houses that most people didn't look twice at.
Living on a tropical island I should totally be more motivated to get out and find things, but in my quest to work my life out I've spent more and more time surrounded by walls.
This morning I finally made the switch in my head, and before I touched my laptop I grabbed my bag, slipped on my flip flops and walked to the beach. Within 1 minute I noticed how rapid and random my breath was. Within 2 minutes I'd seen a tiny bittern species I'd never seen before, and the moment I got on the beach I spotted a sparrow-hawk species being mobbed by swallows. It flew directly over me, missing my head by only a few feet. At that moment I knew I'd done the right thing - my day was already much better than those that had come before it.
Carrying on I saw many more bird species, and clambered over some rocks to find a quiet spot to do a bit of breathing and stretching. There was so much tension in my muscles, nervousness in my breath, so much doubt in my belly, and fear in my chest. I breathed and stretched it all away while the sea whispered its way onto the shore and the wind gently wrapped around the rocks and I. All the while swallows zoomed past me and egrets lulled their white wings across the bay.
Now I'm home, my laptop is open, I have a plan for the day. I'm ready to work and oh look - I've just written a blog post by absolute accident!