Some days, I feel like I’m nailing this self-employment and parenting lark. Others, I get serious imposter syndrome and wonder if I’ve made a right royal cock-up. And I know I’m not the only one. In fact, I’m lucky: there are so many people having a seriously tough time and struggling beyond anything I can comprehend.
Boundaries. Expectations. A reasonable night’s kip. Just some of the ways I find things easier to manage when my brain hits the frantic overwhelmed fog and I know my mental health needs that bit of extra care.
My out of office is permanently on. It tells people that, in fact, they might have to wait a bit for me to get back to them. My working days and times suit my family life. It means some weekends are dedicated to client content, and some weekdays I’m all about the park life.
I can certainly do without the pressure and panic that comes from feeling I need to be ‘on it’ at all times. If someone’s worth waiting for, I hope they’ll wait for me too.
I used to think I could ‘do it all’. Maybe one day I can. But certainly not at the same time.
I know that winning new business, delivering huge projects, spending quality time with my son, visiting my grandparents, cooking a three-course dinner, emptying the laundry basket, making a costume for World Book Day and sitting down for thirty seconds won’t all happen in one day. So I’ve stopped trying to make it. When I remind myself of this, it all gets a little easier.
Bahaha. My son was a TERRIBLE sleeper as a baby. Actually, that’s a lie: he was a really good sleeper, but only when being rocked by me. My nights involved performing some sort of continual swaying squat dance in the dark, in between Google searches: ‘at what point does sleep deprivation kill you?’
Now, he’s doing fairly well so I can factor in a reasonable night’s kip. And it’s essential. Less than six hours and I’m grumpy, tired, and I know my resilience will take a massive nose-dive.
Why am I talking about this? It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay, and it got me thinking about our natural (British?!) approach to saying it’s all grand when we’re drowning below the surface.
World Mental Health Day isn’t a bandwagon to jump on. It’s not about ‘being reactive’ and ‘sharing relevant content’. It’s a chance to remove the (hideous) stigma. To shout out to those who need us that we’re here. And actually use a hashtag for a purpose: click on it, and hopefully find some great support mechanisms, or at least a reminder that you’re not alone.