I’ve put off writing this for over a year now. When I first started I felt it was necessary but then it became too difficult and I stopped because I figured no one would be interested . After some time passed I started to wonder if I had done the right thing. I wondered if anyone else had gone through what I had been through. I share this with you today in the hope that there’s someone out there who needs to read it as much is I need to write about it. Consider it a cautionary tale.
Last spring, my body decided to self-destruct. To a casual observer it may have seemed as if it were a long time coming but to me it was a total shock. I didn’t know what was happening to me.
How do I describe myself at that time other than to say I was a mess? I had stopped eating and sleeping and as a result of my stomach was upset all the time and I was exhausted to the point that I was falling asleep in random places. My skin broke out and I started losing my hair. I lost weight and had to go to the doctor, who told me to stop overworking myself.
But I didn’t listen. As my stress levels rose, my health plummeted: I started having frequent panic attacks and crying spells that would last hours. I felt like I couldn’t handle anything and it made me hate myself. I was angry all the time: I’d throw tantrums, I’d throw things and then I would throw myself down on the bed afterwards and wonder about the person that I was becoming.
The final straw occurred when I got sick, really sick, the kind of sick that makes you cancel everything and stay in bed for a week. It made me realize that I was miserable. I hated my life. I knew that if I kept I’m going the way I was I would make myself sicker and at the time the only way out that I could see was to do something drastic.
So I quit my job.
Disclaimer: don’t quit your job. It’s a really risky thing to do, especially when you’re in a bad place. However, it seemed like the only solution to me. I missed freelancing: working from home, getting creative. I wanted to be passionate about something again.
First, I took some time off because it had been seven years since I had had a vacation. I had to teach myself to enjoy once again the little things that used to give me pleasure: reading, journaling, creative writing. It sounds like a lot of fun but reality it wasn’t easy trying to shed the workaholic personality I had developed.
It’s something I’m still working on. I did eventually go back to freelancing (that’s a whole other post) but even then I have learned the importance of following my body’s cues. In doing so, I have to come to discover that if you’re not taking care of yourself on an emotional and physical level you will lose the strength needed to deal with things on a daily basis.
Now that I’m kinder to myself my stress levels have become more manageable. I have more energy and experience better health overall. Sure, I still have my moments/days/weeks but they are getting fewer and farther between.
If any of the above sounds familiar to you than my advice is this: listen to your body because it will tell you when you’ve had enough. It will tell you when it is depleted. It will tell you when the lifestyle you’re leading is wrong.
Deep down inside, you know which things are best for you. Recognize those things, honor those things and try not to let them go.
In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.
What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to firstname.lastname@example.org.