General Ramblings

Things In Their Seasons: Giving Myself Permission For Self-Care – Living #TheAnxietyDiaries II

There’s an awesome quote in one of my favourite childhood books, Virginia Euwer Wolffe’s “The Mozart Season”. And it goes, “Things in their seasons, Allegra. This is the Mozart season.” The idea of seasons appeals to me as someone who’s on the go almost 24/7. The Mozart season, or the season to concentrate on the beauty of music, is a big theme in the book, and in my life, I find seasons are things I need to focus on. When something isn’t happening for me, or even when it is – it’s just the season I’m in.

IMG_9318Winter is hard for me. My anxiety is generally worse in the winter. I hate that it’s always so horribly cold. I stop sleeping as well or as much. At work, things are busy because this is our season – the season where we make most of our revenue. So it feels, often, that I’m running from one thing to another, with barely any time to focus on my needs. Mostly, I end up melting down sometime in February. I either get sick, or I get tired and end up having a big weepy fit (which thankfully I avoided last year, but the feelings were still there). But for some reason, I feel like I have to keep going, keep pushing, keep pretending everything’s fine. I can’t tell if that’s society pushing me to do that or if it’s simply my modus operandi. Regardless, it’s not sustainable. I end up either taking on too much, or not having enough to do, and a general feeling of desperate dissatisfaction settles over me.

The idea of self-care is a good one. I believe in self-care. I’m just not always good at practicing it. I tend to regard downtime, just sitting, doing nothing, as sort of self-indulgent. I could be writing, or cleaning, or reorganizing the closet, or going somewhere, or doing something. And so I fill my downtime with tweeting, or going on social media, or writing another blog post, or cleaning up something in the house. I will end up crashing in the afternoons on the weekends, sleeping for three or four hours, and then feeling guilty. I could have been doing something else. I could have been getting the laundry done.

Our society is filled with disapproval for those who want to engage in leisure activities like watching TV. I like TV, but I feel that in order to get the most out of it, I need to devote my full attention to it. Sometimes, I end up turning off an episode halfway through because I just have too many other things to do and to think about. It’s exhausting. I know it leads to more anxiety. And on the cusp of a really busy season at work, and some events that I’m trying to arrange to promote my book, Lake Effect, and trying to be a good friend and family member, it’s not working. I need to let myself relax. I just don’t always know how.

I’m trying to think of things as “in their seasons”. Sometimes, trying to relax just makes me feel more anxious and more guilty because I can’t fall asleep, or I can’t focus on something long enough to really feel my shoulders let go of their tension. So, okay. Today I’ll do everything I have to do. I won’t feel guilty if I don’t get things done on the weekend because I’m too exhausted. I’ll go to bed early tonight so that I can work to the best of my ability at my job. And I know that my creative dry spell – the reason why I’m finding it so hard to blog and getting jealous of my friends who are doing so – will come to an end when I let my brain relax enough to have ideas.

Anxiety does comprise a large part of my life, but it doesn’t have to rule it. It doesn’t have to create a space where I can’t trust my own brain to work the way it should. So, I’ll take Instagram photos because I like doing it. I’ll wander around my city because I feel peace when I do. I’ll wait for the warm weather to come back – because it always does. And after the busy season is done, I’ll take more time for self-care.

Things in their seasons. I get a lot of peace from that idea.

We are still tweeting under the hashtag #TheAnxietyDiaries as a way to reduce mental health stigma in our society. Please join us if you are on Twitter.

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2 thoughts on “Things In Their Seasons: Giving Myself Permission For Self-Care – Living #TheAnxietyDiaries II

  1. “I’m just not always good at practicing it. I tend to regard downtime, just sitting, doing nothing, as sort of self-indulgent.”

    I have the exact same problem. If I don’t get my downtime, I run the risk of being unable to read or write for a week ’cause my dyslexia gets bad when I do too much text/language related things, but at the same time, there’s constant pressure to interact with others/read/write/whatever. Gotta keep reminding myself that idleness isn’t bad. It’s necessary.

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