It’s become abundantly clear that I am a shitty blogger... with the best will in the world, I find it so hard to be consistent. Some weeks (all weeks) my job really maxes out my energy and thought capacity, so the thought of sitting in front of my screen in the evening or at the weekend is less than appealing. That being said, I’m paying for my domain name each month and Sean has been furiously blogging since January, so to ensure I don't lose our bet - here I am!
When I first started this blog a couple of years ago, my intention was to create a space where I could talk openly about my mental health and work through some of the things I was feeling at the time. Those posts aren't live any more, not because I'm ashamed of them, but because in many ways I've moved on. However, I've been reflecting on how far I've come recently, so I thought I'd share a few thoughts.
Managing Anxiety | Recently, my job has taken me into London 2-3 times a week. These days usually involve rush hour trains, suffocatingly cramped tubes and navigating myself around central to client meetings. I've co-hosted a training session for 40 people and presented work in front of senior colleagues, all while somehow keeping my cool. Two years ago when I joined my company, I was in a good place but still often felt anxious. When I found out I'd been hired and my role would involve trips into London, I took myself in to the city to see a Yayoi Kusama exhibition the week before I started working, with the intention of practicing getting myself around on the tube. When I got up and running with my job, I found I could manage the travelling but I'd spend the whole hour between Oxford and London in knots of anxiety thinking about whichever meeting I was on my way to. I'd feel pretty sure I was going to throw up (although never did!), and relied on rescue remedy pastilles for a few months. Some evenings now, when I'm sitting on my train home dishevelled and occasionally drinking Diet Gin & Tonic (from a tin, classy), I feel really proud looking back at how far I've come.
Socialising | If you've ever struggled with your mental health, you'll know it's all too easy to push people away. There was a time when I'd cancel plans last minute or just not make them at all, choosing instead to spend time alone feeling sorry for myself. It was what I needed at the time but this year so far, Sean & I have spent almost every weekend catching up with family and friends. I even recently caught up with a friend I hadn't seen for a few years because there was a time where I just didn't feel I could reach out to people, and it feels so good to be in a different place.
Self Care | I've been working on losing weight this year, and whilst I have a long journey ahead of me, I've seen some good progress so far. Most notably I've been working on improving my running and trying to run for 20 minutes at least five times a week. I used to barely manage two minutes without getting out of breath, and can't wait to see where I'll be by the end of the year. I'm also working to ditch gross old habits like biting my nails.
Keeping Busy | In the midst of the worst of my anxiety, I indulged myself by spending almost every weekend and evening sitting around and 'recharging'. This usually involved accomplishing very little, sleeping too much and feeling worse for it. These days I gym after work at least three times a week, and Sean & I often stay out for dinner or go to the cinema in the evening. When we do have a weekend at home, I try to fill my time with a substantial to-do list. I like to gym a couple of times and try to improve my running, clean (much less of a chore now we own our home!) and do our laundry, read, watch new movies, spend time working on my Japanese (i'm currently learning!) and once in a while... blog. I usually don't sit still until the evenings and keeping myself busy makes me feel like I have my work-life balance nailed, because I get things done and don't spend my free time stressing.
A lot of these things might seem unremarkable if you've never struggled to achieve them, but in the words of Jonathan Van Ness I really feel like I've been 'doing the most' and taking some time to look back keeps me motivated.