When the going gets tough, the tough take a day off

girl-491623_640I don’t know how it came upon me so fast but all of a sudden, I found myself drowning in a pool of things to do and crying at the slightest inconvenience. I seemed to have a mountain of work, another mountain of personal admin and clutter all around. I felt anxious, stressed and on the verge of overwhelm.

How had this happened? Just a few days before, I’d been spending time with my family under bright blue skies in North Wales, walking on beaches and playing silly games with my nephews. Back in London and back at work, the skies had turned grey and oppressive and I’d lost my spark.

But worse than that, I felt myself spiraling downward into something akin to depression. I hesitate to use the D word because depression means different things to different people and has so many levels of gravity, but my mood was definitely sinking at a rapid rate.

I tried to tell myself that the world wouldn’t implode if I didn’t finish my list of tasks for that day; that my career wouldn’t be over if I didn’t send that email or make that decision. But it didn’t work. I went to bed in tears and woke up feeling anxious.

Time is precious. Work is important. But our mental health must always come first.

The next morning, I prayed for a miracle. And as I walked around the park that morning – a miracle in itself – it came to me: I would take a “mental health day”. I would take a day to recharge my batteries, cook nourishing food and ignore all the things that were stressing me out.

I bought some groceries, made a big pan of chilli, baked some coconut bread, did some laundry and tidied the flat. As I write this, I realise that’s quite a long list – even on my go-slow days I manage to stay busy – but the activities were very different to the ones that had been causing me so much mental anguish. They nourished my body and my soul.

Pretty soon, something inside me had shifted. My work – those decisions, those emails – no longer seemed a matter of life or death. It could all wait. Not only that, but as I stopped trying to grapple with everything that was bothering me, I got more clarity about how to handle all the things I was struggling with.

As my mood lifted, I realised my mental health was my Number One concern. I had to prioritise my wellbeing above all else.

Back at work now, I no longer feel like I’m drowning. I still have plenty to do, but I seem to be approaching it with a different mindset. If I get things done, great; if not, I will attend to them another day.

I believe I got my miracle that day – it came in the form of the choice I made to put my mental health first. That decision restored my balance and gave me my sanity back.

I’m pleased I was aware enough to spot the downward spiral before I hit the ground and strong enough to do something about it.

Time is precious. Work is important. But our mental health must always come first.

About the author

Katherine Baldwin is our Maybe No Baby Blogger. She is a writer, storyteller, coach and speaker. As a coach, Katherine specialises in helping professional women navigate the world of dating and relationships and fall in love. She also helps men and women follow their passion and transition into more wholehearted, fulfilling lives. Katherine is writing a book about her journey from 40 to 45, a period during which she came to terms with being 40, single and childless, overcame her fear of commitment and her perfectionism and learned to fall in love. You can find out more about her work at katherinebaldwin.com, read her blog at fromfortywithlove.com and follow her on Twitter @From40WithLove

Related Posts