A little bit of what you ask…..
It could be anything; a little bit of time, a little bit of space, a little bit of cake! OK so it’s never a little bit of cake, but you know where I’m coming from. Sometimes you just need a little something to make you feel like you again.
Since last writing about my anxiety I’ve been making a conscious effort to make some small changes. Just little things to help myself. Because the ironic thing is, it’s the small things, the things that don’t really cost much, if any, money, that can make all the difference.
It’s often easier said than done, trying to make time for yourself. You spend your whole day dedicating everything to these beautiful miniature humans you’ve made. Recently I’ve been extremely guilty of making sure the kids have eaten, then I’ve made something for my husband whilst he’s on night shift and then it gets to about 2 in the afternoon and I realise I’m starving because I’ve totally neglected myself in my mission to keep everyone else fed and watered. Time and time again I leave myself at the bottom of the priority list. And perhaps I am now starting to realise, that is just not right. Because if I am not well fed myself, and rested, and in general good form, I am not going to be the best Mum that I can be to my beautiful babies. And the poor husband is having to put up with a hangry wife which can’t be much fun at all.
So, food and water is a big one for me. I love my tea – love it. I do occasionally have a coffee too if I’ve had a rough night but I do limit to one a day. But more than anything I am drinking plenty of water. Fortunately I genuinely like water so it’s not an effort for me in that respect, but it’s almost a case of remembering to drink it. I’ve taken to having a water bottle on me at all times (I’ve been watching too much Love Island haven’t I) and that does seem to be working. And I’m always going to love my chocolate and my cake but I am making a conscious effort to make sure my three main meals a day are healthy, colourful and enjoyable.
One of the main things I’ve started to do which really is helping me and which I absolutely love, is running. I downloaded the app Couch to 5K and I am loving it. I’ve had to have a little break whilst Sam is on temporary shift work and I am missing it so much. I saw a girl running the other day and I thought “you’re so lucky”! That’s mind boggling to me, that I’ve got to a point where I actually want to run. It’s not even the getting fit for me, although that is a brilliant bonus, but it’s the freedom of running. Of putting in my earphones, some good music and literally running away from the chaos, the toys, the constant feeling of being climbed on by the kids, and just breathing in fresh air, taking in the countryside and not being needed by anyone for half an hour. I always go home feeling a bit lighter, ready to deal with whatever life has to throw at me and with a calmer attitude than before I go out. Those endorphins really do the job!
A big part of all this is just trying to reclaim a bit of me. It dawned on me the other day that I’ve actually now got a bit of freedom back; for the first time in four years I am not pregnant and I’m no longer breastfeeding. So I want to grab that freedom with both hands and use it to remind myself of how I can be me and be Mummy. Work is a big part of that. I was never a career girl but I do want to go back to work, be it doing my PA work that I know so well, or incorporating some of the blogging and social media work I have been doing since having the kids. Something for me. Where I can wear something nice, listen to the radio on the drive there, and be around adults discussing things that aren’t poo, nap routines and how my kids won’t eat dinner again! I’ve started doing some work for a friend of mine (check out her blog http://www.littlepaperswans.com/ ) and every time I go to work with her I am fizzing with ideas, enthusiasm and inspiration. It’s like a part of me is slowly waking up again.
I don’t want any of this to sound ungrateful though. I know just how fortunate I am. I have two beautiful children, and I’ve got to stay at home with them. I am so glad I did because with Josh’s diagnosis of autism I was able to dedicate a year to pushing for support, investigating and getting that key early intervention. I get to see them all day and we have fun. But I’m not going to lie – not every day is fun. It’s demanding, hard work, relentless and it never ever stops. You are constantly “on call” for these demanding and unpredictable whirlwinds. So a little balance, for me, is essential.
I felt in myself that Fi was slipping away. I got to a point where I was rarely writing as I’d even lost the space for that in the house to make way for a much needed playroom. But one thing I have learnt from this recent spell of anxiety is that by looking for solutions as best as I can, rather than succumbing to the feeling of helplessness, I feel a bit of control. I can make little changes, and grip that bit of Fi back. My wonderful friend suggested I get a ladder desk, make a corner of our dining room mine, and that would be my space. To write, to look for jobs, to be creative. And it has helped so so much. Such a simple small change and it boosted me so much.
I am always going to be an anxious person. But having some control over it. recognising it, acknowledging ways to address it and move forward calmly and with some purpose, is helping me massively. Anxiety can be massively misunderstood by others, and people may not understand how drinking water and going for a run can ever help a person to stop worrying about anything and everything. But those of you who are on my anxiety wavelength, you’ll get it. And I’m going to keep doing these things, and doing little exercises such as my gratitude lists, and turning over a new affirmation card each day and quietly work on me. Work on being happy and positive. One day at a time.