So recently, I had to take three weeks off for my mental health. It was out of the blue, and something I had never done before. My doctor wanted to push it to four, but at the time, I knew that if did that, I would find it very hard to go back.
Before I took that time off, I had been burning myself out. I had been working hard on my projects outside of work, working a full time job, and not having much fun at all. I had not been self caring, and had started to think suicidal thoughts. Once I realised that something was wrong, I booked a doctors appointment. I am very fortunate to have a good doctor and she listened to what I was saying and asked further questions. She also asked me what I wanted to do, if I wanted to increase medication or take a break. I didn’t want to increase my medication as I had gotten myself to the right dosage for me, so I talked about perhaps taking a break and getting back to basics. She wanted to go for four weeks but I settled on three, as I knew it would be difficult getting back to work and felt for me that 3 weeks would be ample time for me to sort myself out. So naturally, I asked what I do over the next three weeks, as I have never been in this situation before.
She replied with the recommendation of having a duvet day for a day or a couple of days, and watch stupid shows and just relax. Then after that, doing one thing a day, not a million. She also gave me a great meditation app to use. So I left my doctors, and immediately called my husband and work. Both were very supportive. After that, I walked home slowly, thinking about what I needed to do over the next few weeks to change what I had been previously been doing. So once I got home, I did what the doctor said. I got under the duvet and caught up with all of my Netflix shows. I spent a Saturday in bed for the first time in ages. My husband thought it was amazing as I am usually up and whizzing about the house on a weekend.
I went to the library and stocked up on books, both fiction and non fiction. I love reading, and hadn’t done it for ages as I have been so busy with other things. I also got out books on confidence, anxiety, and learning to say no. I made my way through these books over the next 3 weeks, reading up on how to be better at prioritising myself and what I needed to do to help myself. I also read books for fun, and had an hour or so just reading and not multitasking.
I used to multitask like crazy. I’d be watching something, and on my phone at the same time. Or typing a blog out while watching something on Netflix. I realised that that wasn’t helpful for my mind, and in fact overloading it with information that it didn’t need. So I eased it back. I would only watch something and only that. I would read a book without listening to music. I would only spend time on one app instead of 4 at a time.
I also used the meditation app, and did yoga every morning. This was a great way to make sure I kept up with some form of exercise and mindfulness too, and it taught me some great techniques. I also started to view it as a treat for myself, instead of something that I had to do in my list of things to do for the day.
I also looked at where I was at in my life. I knew for awhile I wasn’t happy with where I was, and knew I needed to change some things. I knew I wanted to work part time, so I could do my blog and work on my conferences, and also make my way into Social Media, which has been a passion of mine for many years. I didn’t know whether I wanted to make it freelance or work for a company, however I wanted a lifestyle that is easy for me to get a dog and finish doing up our house.
After the first week, I started to feel better. I felt calm and collected, and I could feel myself coming back. I knew that I was confident inside, but sometimes in stressful situations, my brain shuts down and that confidence goes away. However at the pace that I was now going at, I could take time with things and think about things I did or said. Over the next couple of weeks I ventured out to see friends, saw the fireworks, and did things that I enjoyed doing.
I also went to see a therapist that I had seen previously, and we had a few sessions on what had happened and how I was going to move through it. She helped me see some things that were influencing my behaviour and also unpacked a few issues also. It was very helpful to me to help me see why I had been doing what I had been doing.
At the end of the three weeks, I can tell you that I wasn’t ready. However, I knew that I needed to go back to see how much I had progressed and if the thoughts and feelings I had been experiencing over the last few months were valid.
I felt nervous when i went back to work, and knew that it wasn’t for me when I went back. I knew i wanted to follow my dream and live my life differently, both in work and out. So I handed in my notice, I now have a part time job, and I am working hard on my blog, my conferences, and I did my first social media coverage for a company. The road isn’t easy, and there have been a few times I have had to stop myself from doing too much, but on the whole, those three weeks were so helpful and I had a lot of great support.
Heres to the next chapter!
Read up on my other mental health blogs!