These past few weeks have been pretty full on at work, and it’s meant that Jiggsy has had to take a bit of a back seat. Yesterday after a 10 hour shift in a busy newsroom, I had used up all my brain power and didn’t want to even open my laptop.
As I lied on my bed, flaked out, I felt hugely guilty for not doing Jiggsy work. I always seem to have an endless list of things to do, and berate myself for not utilising every waking hour I have. No one puts this pressure on me, it’s always been a familiar part of my make-up. ‘Must do more’ ‘not good enough’ ‘push yourself that bit further.’ Part of these character traits have definitely progressed me in life, but they can also be a punishing dialogue that swirls in my head.
I compare myself to others who seemingly (from the outside) have a whole lot more on their plate, but then there is very little point in looking at what others can do and what I can’t, I actually do a lot! Most days I’m out the house by 6am, I spend hours before and after work travelling, I have a mentally demanding job, and do my Jiggsy work during any spare waking hours I have.
This sounds like I’m justifying it to myself, and maybe I am…but putting out here on ‘paper’ has helped me to be less hateful towards myself. On top of this I have an eating disorder to keep at bay, so you know what…I’m gonna cut myself some slack.
As I lay there with lists running through my head, I played a different record. Tiredness leads me to a bad place. I struggle to deal with the smallest of things, I’m more emotional, less productive and I feel low in mood. I’ve never been able to function well without at least 8 hours, so for me sleep is at the top of my self-care list. It’s easy to underestimate the value of recharging not just your physical self, but your mind as well. The long term effects of sleep deprivation are real; it drains your mental abilities, weakens your immune system and generally makes you cranky. Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function at its best. Sleep is not a luxury…it’s a necessity.
So, you may have to make some difficult decisions, but you can’t keep running on adrenaline without compromising your health. You might have to put social events on the back burner, say no to what is not a priority and be more efficient with your time – all of which have been a huge learning curve for me. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t compare, listen to your own needs. We are all unique and we all lead different lives, so what works for one person, won’t work for the next. I talk about it a lot, but connecting back to myself has been basis the basis of my recovery.