If you read my post about my PMDD, then you know I took a months leave from my job. Deciding if that was the right choice for me was hard but ultimately I decided that it was probably best – and it was. During my leave I continued seeing all my doctors, therapist, and taking my medication. I also started creating a routine for myself. I would wake up around 8am every morning (no alarm!) relax and enjoy the morning, go to the gym, and then do whatever I needed to for the day. It was extremely relaxing and I was noticing how much calmer I was becoming. Sure I had some bad days but they weren’t like before. It wasn’t until I was walking around the mall one day that I realized how stressed out I was before taking this leave. I had gone to the mall just for one thing and ended up wandering around for 2 hours! I didn’t care if there were long lines or kids running around..it was nice to just be. It was then I knew that I needed to listen to my body more and take care of myself physically so I could start taking care of myself mentally.
I work in a high stress environment and normally that isn’t a problem. I like being busy and I do well in chaotic situations but there has to be a point where I need to step away sometimes. The last few months of 2018 were very hard for me mentally. On days where my PMDD was at its worst I still went to work because physically I was fine so I couldn’t call out. I pushed and pushed myself to go to work and deal with work stress on top of personal stress. I started noticing that when I sat down in my chair, I was immediately tense and my breathing would change. I started taking the stress and negativity I was feeling at work into my home life and relationships. Taking my leave of absence made me really see how much I was overworking myself.
What I’ve been working on now is to listen to my body and know when I’ve reached a limit to where I need to take a step back.
- Take a Break – This not only applies to my job but my everyday life. At work I take my mandatory two breaks but other than that I don’t step away for breathers or anything. Same for my personal life – I’m always on the go, go, go and never stop. This is something I started writing down constantly to remind myself it’s okay to take a break if I need to slow down for a moment. Having a few extra minutes to collect my thoughts and feelings is a lot better to the alternative of being explosive and stressed.
- Control my Breathing – Like I said, I don’t ever slow down and that includes my breathing. I’ve tried a few times when I notice myself breathing too quickly and it honestly feels completely unnatural to me. Now when I start to notice it becoming too quick I do my best to try and calm it back down. I also assess the situation that I’m in to see why I started breathing like that. I’ve tried meditation before but like I said, having to slow down and focus on my breathing feels unnatural. However, given recent events I’m open to more things like it to see what works for me.
- Know my Load – I had to be the one to get everything done when in reality that wasn’t true. I work with 10 other people that can do the same task! When I came back from my leave I started pacing myself with tasks and reminded myself that it’s okay if I wasn’t the person responding to that email or making fresh coffee for clients. My team shares all tasks and I don’t have to take on the responsibility of doing everything.
It’s a small list for now but I’m learning as I go. Now I make sure to prioritize certain areas of my life when it really calls for it. If y’all follow me on Instagram then you know I’ve been pretty absent. I love my blog and sharing things with everyone but I mentally was not in a place to focus on it – and I know now that that’s okay! My blog is fun and I enjoy it so much. I don’t want to lose interest or start to hate it because I’m forcing myself to come up with good content.
What are some things you do to help calm down and assess the priorities in your life?