Making Mental Health a Priority

I’ve started to think over the last week or so why I haven’t been writing as much, or why I haven’t had the urge or passion to write, which I do so often. I’ve been so busy and it got to the point where juggling everything just wasn’t possible anymore. Something had to go -at least temporarily- and that ended up being the blog.

It was a real shame and I felt shit for letting my passion be the thing which I had to take a step back from for a while but it just had to be done. There’s 4 major things which are important to me in my spare time, and these are, (in no particular order!) sport, travelling, looking after my mental health and writing. Out of all of these things the first and the third are typically the things I’ve usually pushed to the bottom of the list but for the first time ever I really just felt that this wasn’t possible or sensible anymore. I’ve massively gotten into fitness this year, more than ever before maybe and I’m loving seeing the rewards from working hard, but also this year I’ve been pushed to my absolute limits emotionally and mentally and so taking care of myself has had to be a priority.

I wish I hadn’t felt so sickeningly awful over the past few months but in a way maybe it was the wakeup call I needed to stop, breathe and make my health a priority rather than everything else on my to-do list.

So take today for example, I woke up later than usual having been woken up several times in the night from storms, anxiety and housemates coming home and I was immediately pissed off with myself that I was starting my day at 10am and not 7am. This kind of self blaming and anger is just absolutely not what you want to start the day off with. Anyway, I got up and had a really productive 6 hours working remotely for my job in Berlin. After a while though, the wifi was breaking up and websites were crashing so I just took a step back.

I’m trying to learn that 6 hours of work is 6 more than you’d done this morning, not 2 less than I’d planned to do.

So then I moved away from my laptop and thought about what else I have on my schedule for today and if I could improve it in any way. I have a Dutch course twice a week for 4 hours and I’m not the biggest fan of it to say the least! I finished the last of 4 exams on Tuesday and so with only 2 classes to go it’s fair to say I’m completely over it. So why was I going tonight? Because I felt like I had to and to get my exam results back.

So I just emailed my teacher asking for her to email me my grades and that I won’t be attending tonight because I have work and Uni commitments- all true. I’ve decided I’m going to take the next 2 hours off to do some meditation, yoga and writing and then instead of the class, I’m going to a spinning session and then group outdoor workout in the city. This is me stepping out of a situation which brings little reward but large anxiety and discomfort but actively putting myself in a different situation which is still productive and will actively make me feel and work better after. I can still catch up on the work for the next class but in an environment and situation which works better all round.

For me it’s always been really important to challenge my anxiety. By this I mean to not give in to everything that seems difficult, often I do things that give me anxiety to I remind myself that I can overcome it and that it’s important in life to keep going and try and remain on top. But I also need to recognise that sometimes doing that 1 thing you have anxiety about isn’t always worth it. It doesn’t mean that you don’t go and instead just sit in bed watching Netflix, no actually, it’s about doing something with that time which will benefit me mentally and/ or physically and help me feel a sense of achievement afterwards.

A year ago I would’ve thought this was such a cop out -some people reading this probably still will! But I think most people, especially those who suffer from anxiety will understand and relate. It’s not like I just ‘can’t be arsed’ to go to this class, (even if it was that would be pretty valid too!), but it’s assessing the events around me and making sure I’m putting myself first when it’s appropriate and making sure I have the strength within myself to fulfil the commitments in my life which are the most important.

Working on my mental health is something I’ve been forced into doing, after being at an all time low I’d had enough and had to take action but it’s an ongoing process. It’s a rollercoaster but I think recognising that it needs to be a priority is a good first step.

So in regard to not being present on the blog, I’m not really sorry because it was what I needed to do. But absence makes the heart grow fonder and I’m excited to slowly but surely get back into it.


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