I was talking to a friend recently. I was saying how hectic my week ahead was going to be. Knowing what I was up to he queried how a 4 day week could possibly be classified as being busy. I gently pointed out that my ongoing recovery still involved therapy and regular bouts of mindfulness study alongside working for myself. He graciously conceded the point but I also felt a little awkward, after all I’ve been lucky enough to work relatively steadily when many are struggling under highly pressured environments or out of work entirely – 4 days, surely that’s easy.
The reason I was so busy this week was because I had 4 days of training delivery. Routinely I wouldn’t book my time like this but I had an existing client to honour and I also wanted to get the new Mental Health First Aid Training off the ground for myself and my friend / colleague Charlotte Walker.
I’m pleased to report that the MHFA went really well. I was concerned about how my own mental health would hold up under delivering a subject so close to home but actually with Charlotte’s support (and a really eager group) I got through both days albeit very very tired afterwards. Unfortunately I still had two days of delivery left in the week.
Having been very aware of the physical and mental toll the week was likely to take I planned plenty of steps towards self care. I watched my diet, kept on with my yoga practice and drank plenty of water. Additionally I took the decision to draw back from social media. I even stopped answering non-urgent emails in the business (something which it pains me to do). Basically I went “missing in action” for several days whilst I concentrated on the important tasks.
By the end of Thursday I was really struggling and had to face up to the reality that I had maybe bitten off more than I could chew. I regrouped and headed out on Friday aware that I didn’t have much left to give. It was a tough day and I resisted the groups request to work through lunch citing that we all needed a “mental health break”. A few hours later my week was over.
As I sit here on Saturday afternoon slowly recharging I’m facing up to a few hard truths about how far along I am in my recovery. When people connect with me on social media, during my sporadic forays in to London or in the course of my limited amount of work they don’t realise the effort it takes for me to be consistent and focussed. I’m doing my best but it occurs to me that after a busy week I’m missing “inaction” and by that I mean the inactivity, the time to reflect and process, to build my strength and resilience. I really need those periods of rest in order to function well in the world.
Next week promises to be a little more relaxed, therapy Monday followed by blood donation Tuesday and a meeting on Wed before two days of training delivery at the end of the week. It’s a more balanced week and hopefully will allow me more space and time to recover. However if you see me out there on social media please feel free to tell me to take a rest.