I like to look at the bright side…that positive silver lining, however lean, keeps me afloat in the most sinking of the situations. “It could have been worse” I find me re-iterating to myself on numerous occasions when low gets real low. This has definitely kept me going for years now but there’s something so different about this current scenario, that we all are in together. I remind myself of my blessings every day and feel genuinely grateful for everyone and everything I have that makes dealing with this so much smoother. I try to distract myself from ‘what I can’t have’ – such as, the freedom to go watch the Harry Potter show I booked 6 months ago, or Cirque De Soleil, which I had finally convinced the hubby to book after good 8 years of persuading or take the trip to New Zealand which was booked well in advance, being the one and the only thing our tween had asked for, for her birthday – to ‘what I CAN have’- such as, the chance to look after my family and my health, learning new recipes and eating well, time at hand to practice yoga or to go for long walks, smashing tasks at work and earning appreciation, re-connecting with long-lost friends spread all over the globe…there’s definitely so much more on the ‘can’ side.
Even though with all this conscious effort to keep positive, a couple of days ago I found myself drowning in these rapids of life. I realised I was working more and not only physically but mentally as well. I was burning myself out at an extremely fast rate. Personal life, family Life, professional life, household chores, social life – all were merging, the lines were becoming more and more fluid, I was using all my energy to the last bit every single day and that’s when it occurred to me that at this rate, I may not sustain. I read somewhere ‘ When you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit‘. So, I decided to take a well-earned break. For a week! which is quite a difficult thing to do when you are one of those who like to ‘save’ their annual leave to travel & holiday. I took the plunge anyway!
If you know me, you would know how ‘planning’ thrills me. The best thing to gift to me by the way, if anyone’s taking a note, is a list planner and a pen, because one can never have too much stationery. Lists and spreadsheets are my lifeline. Now because it wasn’t easy for me to decide to take some time off to be at home, and not for travelling, I understood that if I don’t use this time-off wisely, I am going to regret it when travels open but I have less of ‘leave’ left to leave (the house). So, I of course leaped onto my notepad to jot down a few goals of this staycation. I wrote down every single thing that I have wanted to do for the last twenty plus weeks but wasn’t able to do because of time, but mostly energy constraints. Then I drew a subset of those which are ‘doable’ given the lockdown situation. Like I can’t fly to Singapore, but I can, most definitely can, fix the chaos in my wardrobe. I can’t go watch a movie at the cinemas, but I CAN have a slumber-party and a night out with my darling daughter. Once the goals were set, I put a reasonable action plan to achieve them, spread over the entire week. Well, three more days to go for me but I am absolutely delighted to inform you that I have smashed each and every goal on my list. And the most important note that I want to share with you is that ‘I feel great’ and that I don’t feel the need to deliberately place positivity enhancing measures around myself – I feel totally and genuinely at peace with the situation, well-rested and thoroughly rejuvenated to start smashing those rapids when they start coming my way on Monday. I hereby declare this holiday a total ‘success’! Time-off done right!
I was recently speaking at a webinar to a bunch of Uni students where I felt a strong need for me to talk to them about health & mental wellbeing and how that is, truly, one’s most important asset to protect, even though the topic that I was asked to speak to had absolutely nothing to do with it. But then, I guess everything ultimately is related to our health, mental & physical both. We can’t feel truly happy in the happiest of the situations if our head hurts or if we stay anxious about the celebrations, can we now? You can grab the best career opportunity available, you can work hard to the next promotion, put food at the table for your family, live in a beautiful mansion, bring your groceries home in the most luxurious car there is, but it all comes down to your health and well-being when it comes to enjoying all those wins. And so my friend, you may be doing very well in managing every single aspect of your life and most likely (and I hope truly) things aren’t falling part for you, but if they are and if you are struggling to see yourself at the end of this marathon, I put forth a compelling case and urge you to consider taking some time off – for yourself. You’ll find it totally worthwhile; I assure you! And if you are anything like me – plan for it :)