On slowing down and being open when you're struggling

Sunday, 24 November 2019

At the moment it feels like life is really speeding along without many moments to pause for breath. Work is busier and more stressful, adjusting to living with Jack was initially quite a big change for me and my confidence and emotions have been all over the place the last few months. As a result, I've seen a huge change in how I feel and I'm only now taking steps to feel good again.

Usually I'm good at managing lots of spinning plates and I have a tendency to cram as much as possible into my spare time, seeing friends and making time for exercise during the week. However, in the summer I started feeling run-down and by the time I took some holiday in Copenhagen in September, the damage was already done. 

Leaving London felt like being whacked over the head with all of the stress I'd been carrying on my shoulders and ignoring for too long. It wasn't long enough to get me back to normal, in fact it took until my second holiday in Cornwall to properly slow down and come up for air again. Being away from the city for more than a week helped me catch up on sleep, actually sit and rest if I needed to and I spent a lot less time on my phone.

What I've learnt is that even if you're living with a partner or friend or seeing colleagues day-in-day-out, it's easy to forget to communicate with them because you're always around them. Since my time off in Cornwall, I'm making an effort to listen to my body and what ym emotions are like at that moment before going through the motions and forcing myself to do something. I'm a stickler for routine so it can feel like quitting to cancel something if I'm not feeling up to it.

For example, I stopped going to badminton this season even though it's something I've done weekly since I was a teenager, because I finally realised that it was contributing to the problem. Historically, it was something that was the perfect stress release from everyday life but a few months ago, I stopped feeling good afterwards and sometimes left feeling worse, so for the moment it's off my list. 

It boils down to quite a sudden loss in self confidence, the cause of which I'm struggling to pinpoint. It's not often I don't feel confident, therefore coming to terms with that has been difficult, but I've gradually started talking to Jack, my friends and family about it to lessen the burden in my head. I still exercise but it's on my own terms - some days I'm all for an intense bodypump session or a more relaxed pilates class, other days I just want to sit on the sofa and rest and I feel better for it. 

Writing this down has felt brilliantly cathartic, especially since it's been a while that I've felt motivated enough to sit down and write anything. My advice to anyone going through something similar is to keep talking to people you trust - be open and don't be scared to look vulnerable or pathetic. I'm only just starting to feel at peace with how I feel so it's becoming a bit more manageable, one day at a time.

Thanks for reading

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