We seem to very quickly forget that we are human.
We forget that we are allowed to make mistakes, that we are not built to be perfect – we forget that we can’t achieve everything by ourselves.
I am very guilty for this. I have always attempted to carry the world on my shoulders. I seem to think that people expect me to, that if I ask for help I’m weak or unworthy. No one has ever told me this and I am unsure where this idea has come from – but the point is I’m working on it.
I am trying to ease into the strange world of 2021 putting less pressure on myself.
In January I finally couldn’t take the weight of the world I was putting on my shoulders and I had to take some time of work. I’m not ashamed to admit this and was very honest with my co-workers and manager about how I was feeling. I felt alone but in some strange way I was the one isolating myself. I had people around me asking how they could help or asking me how I was and I completely moved past this opportunity to reach out until my body gave way. It took until I was literally throwing up to address the fact that I was not okay and that I needed help.
I am very lucky that I feel able to be open about my mental health, I know many people are unable to or do not have the support I have in place. I luckily have a supportive GP, who I reached out to and who helped me see that I was not looking after myself. I have a supportive partner – who had been saying all along but I hadn’t seen it in a supportive way, I had seen it in a critical way and ignored him.
When I returned to work my manager asked me “What did you learn from this?” and I immediately said “I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself.” We discussed how I needed to start asking for help and delegating my work load, how delegating isn’t a weakness it’s part of managing your role. I struggle asking people for help, I always have – but again, I’m working on it.
I am beginning CBT therapy this week to look at how I can look at this in another way, in how asking for help makes me stronger, not weaker. I am trying to address the negative thoughts I have about myself and redirect them in a more constructive way. I’m never going to stop having those thoughts as I have anxiety and depression and this is probably going to be something I manage for the rest of my life – but I can keep learning how I can manage them in a better way.
- Asking for help – it does not make you weak or a failure if you ask someone for help. It actually takes a lot of strength to admit you need help. Once you have asked you often feel this sense of relief knowing everything isn’t all on your shoulders.
- Keeping a do-list and delegating where possible – if you are feeling overwhelmed by the list of things you need to do either in work or personal life I find keeping a to-do on my laptop helpful as I can just keep updating it and crossing things over when completed. It also helps as you know what you can delegate to others or ask for help with.
- Fuelling your body – I have always struggled with self-care and ensuring I am fueling my body ready for the day. I struggle to eat my lunch at work as my brain sees it as a distraction and doesn’t see it as a significant part of my day. It’s important to make sure you have had breakfast, lunch and dinner and that you are drinking plenty – even not having enough water can make you feel unable to get through the day.
- Enjoying the present – I’m very guilty of focusing on what I need to do next or what’s happening the following day. I sometimes don’t enjoy my evenings as I’m too focused on what I’m doing to do tomorrow and end up just going to bed because I can’t enjoy myself. I have been trying to make sure I do set things just for me in the evenings – even if its listening to a podcast whilst doing the washing up.
Even as I write this I know I have been putting pressure on myself to complete this post. I haven’t written a blog post in a long time and have found it hard to sit down and focus. But I made sure to not see this blog as a chore, I started this blog as a way of helping me, not hindering so I will continue to stop putting pressure on myself to create certain content.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I hope you are staying safe. Emma x