Recently I've taken a step back in my efforts to look after myself mentally. I'm not going to be harsh on myself because it's been a busy time for me—I've just moved out of London...during a global pandemic. However, the signs that I haven't been trying my best in the self-car department are evident.
I've noticed that when I am not practicing self-care—creating art, dancing, yoga, walks in nature, resting well—my mind seeks gratification elsewhere, and in unhealthy ways.
Unfortunately, my ego has decided that my drug of choice is perfection in the workplace, and I am at its mercy—so much so, that it's causing consequences that could have long-term implications.
My illusion of perfection drives me to start my day answering emails at 7am and finishing at 8pm, it tells me that I don't have time to eat because I need to be at my computer, and when I am resting it is already thinking about my to-do list for tomorrow. It's funny that many people don't think of this kind of behaviour as an 'addiction', but it certainly is. It's driven by my fear of judgement for not being good enough.
I guess, I wanted to write this to have a constant reminder of the consequences of this unhealthy behaviour. Some habits include eating less food but consuming more sugar, I take less than 100 steps a day, I have on average 4 hours to myself in the evening, where I will rest of the couch and feel exhausted, I'm constantly thinking of my to-do list and constantly projecting this anxiousness onto my partner and family.
Now I want to highlight that I take full responsibility for this. In the last few months, I have forgotten to implement my boundaries, and therefore, I have enabled this.
My ego is constantly seeking a short-term high every time I appear as 'perfect', while my body is dealing with the long-term consequences.
The benefits of boundaries
My partner recently put things into perspective. He said that on average, an individual would have 8 hours a day working, 8 hours a day for their personal time, and 8 hours sleeping.
I, on the other hand, have 12 hours work, 4 hours of personal time (where I am exhausted and sleepy), and then 8 hours a day of rough-sleeping because i'm thinking of my to-do list.
So I decided to try a day where I listened to my own boundaries—I started on time and I finished on time, and well...WOW. I just cannot believe how excited and energetic I felt, and how much I could do during my personal time. Everything changed. And that was just one day.
Here's what I did...
Woke up at 6:30am meditated, stretched, tidied my space and had food.
Started work at 9am, and was excited and ready to be the best I could.
Had a productive day at work.
Finished work at 5:30pm and went for a walk, danced, cleaned, cooked and ate, did a new lino print (I will share on my Etsy page soon), spent quality time with my partner when he got home.
Went to sleep at 11:30pm and felt incredible and excited.
I just cannot comprehend the difference. It's only been one day, but my attitude has changed.
I'd like to remind myself that having a day like this more often is completely possible, and is my responsibility. I would like to continue to set boundaries as part of my personal self-care routine. I'll leave that there.