I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed for the past few months, more overwhelmed than I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve had more work than usual, which is good financially, but leaves me with little time to do those important life admin jobs we all have. Not being able to do them stresses me out. I’m menopausal or perimenopausal, I’m not even sure which any more. But I’ve been that way for a long time and I’m on HRT. My sleep, never great, has got worse again.
None of that can really be helped, but I know why I’m actually feeling overwhelmed. I’ve taken too much on.
So here’s a word of advice from me:
If you’ve got a family, a house and a job, that is enough.
You don’t need to train for a marathon.
And if you’ve got a family, a house, a job and you’re training for a marathon, you don’t need to get a puppy.
Training for a marathon and getting a puppy while also having one child in year 11 and one in year 13 (not to mention a 20 year old who really didn’t want to get a puppy), is foolish.
I had this post in mind as something which was just a little bit amusing, but then a couple of friends started talking about their mental health struggles, and I realised it is a really serious message.
You can replace ‘marathon training’ and ‘getting a puppy’ with lots of other things.
Most of us are guilty of taking too much on and we all have our breaking points. Some of us take things on voluntarily, others have no choice (eg caring responsibilities). I’m not at breaking point, but I’m closer than I’ve been in a long time.
My breaking point might be easy for some people, others might have broken long before they got to where I am now. We are all different, we all carry different responsibilities and worries, and we all handle them in different ways.
People of my age often have to juggle caring for their parents or grieving for their parents, along with the responsibilities of teenage and grown up kids. Chuck in work and money stresses, living in the midst of a pandemic for two years and the menopause, and it’s no wonder so many people are struggling with their mental health.
We’ve all heard that phrase ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ and we are probably all happy to remind others to take a break, but forget to take one ourselves.
For me, I know I need time to read and time to run or walk or just be outside. If I don’t get that, I start to feel down. Other people prefer a bath or sitting in their pyjamas watching TV.
If I don’t get my running/ reading/ walking time, I start to feel down. And if I feel down, I’m being unfair to myself and to those around me.
We might think that our work is too important, that we our indispensable and that our team can’t do without us. But maybe we need to step back from it for an afternoon, a day, a week or a month. Because if we don’t, we’re going to end up broken. And what use are we then to our colleagues, our kids, our partners and our ageing parents?
So let’s all take a break if we need it, even if it might cause temporary inconvenience to others.
And remember that word of advice from me. If you’ve got a family, a house and a job (or even if you only have one or two of those things), that is enough! You don’t need to take on any more than you can manage.