Putting less pressure on yourself

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

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