I have always been a really stressed out person. When I try to concentrate I am sensitive to noise. I can’t stand to be interrupted. If things don’t go according to my plan I am anxious. I have (too) high standards and my rule-loving personality has a hard time giving up on rules even when I am the person who set them in the first place. And when under a dooming deadline the tiniest incident can make me innerly fly off the handle. Sometimes when I am at my breaking point I even burst. And man I can throw a tantrum!
If you’re not here for the first time you might know that I am currently writing my dissertation for my PhD. I am still working my full-time job even though I am in the lucky and privileged position that both things fit together and I can spent some of my working hours on my thesis. It is still the biggest, most demanding, time and brain consuming challenge I have ever encountered. It consumes every cell of my body and every thought I have is somehow related to this ~280 pages I have to hand in by October latest. I would assume to be a permanant stressball by now. But somehow I am the most relaxed I have ever been.
Who am I?
And how did that happen?
Well good questions indeed. To be honest I have a few theories and as a reference point I am using as I usually do: myself.
I love going through my own blog archives. I pass the really early posts by because of the unbearably high cringe factor. But I do enjoy reading my own posts from two to three years ago. This is not me acting out my narcissistic side, this is me marvelling over how different I have been only two short years ago. To be honest even the last few months have brought some really positive changes for me and my well-being.
I feel this is due to some changes I have made in my life. I changed some habits but even more importantly questioned some of my healthy on the sureface but not so healthy for me in my situation believe systems I have lived by in the past.
Let’s crash my old believe systems and see what has happenend when I gave up on them!
I have to prepare all meals from scratch and work out every day to stay healthy
Only a few years back my days looked like this: Alarm rings at 5.30 am. I roll out of bed, brush my teeth and then go to the kitchen for a good 45 min to prepare breakfast and lunch for Stefan and me. I run through the appartment like a headless chicken to get ready and pack my gym bag. My drive to work is hurried to make sure to sit at my desk at work at 8 am latest. I am already high-strung when the work day starts.
After work I work out and rush to the supermarkets before they close at 8 pm to stock up on fresh food. I come home, shower and then spend a good 90 min in the kitchen cooking dinner, cleaning up and preparing some of our lunches for the next day. We eat around 10 pm. I am dead and crash soon after.
REPEAT Monday to Friday!
Now my alarm rings at 6 am. I brush my teeth and then I spend a good 30 minutes sitting on my couch, drinking coffee and watching youtube. I don’t put on make-up if I have no appointment that day. If possible I grab leftovers from dinner or if there are none get me a salad, a soup or whatever I fancy from the supermarket on my way to work. Some days I work out, most days I don’t.
When I come home I cook if I want to. Often we only eat eggs or even order a pizza from time to time. We usually sit on the couch by 8 pm. We chat about our days or watch TV. At home we relax. We laugh and talk about what was stressful or good at work. We unwind together. I fall asleep sometime between 10 and 11 pm . And I still eat a pretty healthy diet.
I have an obilgation to socialize with my friends and family on a regular basis
I used to feel so guilty about canceling on friends. This was mainly because I always felt so obligated to go out of my way to make sure I could fit in all invitations. When I was with friends or family I felt burned out. I didn’t enjoy myself. And to be honest I was probably not a joy to be around. My mind usually was elsewhere and I had no patience to take part in the conversation. I think it was very evident that I didn’t really want to be there.
Now I say NO to most invites. I put myself and my needs first and if I don’t feel social I won’t go. Sunday is my sacred day of solitude. I don’t make plans for Sunday ever with birthdays being the exception. I have lost friends in that process but to be honest none that I would miss. When I meet people I am usually more present and I feel happier and a better company. I am more alone but less lonely that I have ever been and I don’t often feel socially burned out anymore.
I have to keep up my hobbies unconditionally to have a balanced life
My blog followed one simple pattern: I used to upload 4 days a week. I loved it. Nonetheless the time it consumed was time I’d missed later the day and that caused stress. But I still felt like if I gave this up I’d be the most unbalanced I could be and finally cave in and let my life be consumed by work and work only.
Last year after coming back from my summer holiday I decided it was time to go easy on the blog. I always have a few ideas for posts and my recipe book is full to the brim with recipes I haven’t shared yet. But pumping out 4 posts a week is not feasible for me right now. If you stop by here regularly you might have realized that I am less stellar with my posting schedule than I have ever been (maybe because I don’t have one but that’s a different story). Sometimes though a post wants to wiggle out of my brain – like today – and then I don’t stop it. But spending another 12+ hours at the computer per week doesn’t do me any favor. I actually feel more balanced than ever before.
I have to stop living in the futur aka my own dreamworld
This is like maybe the biggest thing for me. I am constantly living in the future and my own dreamworld. At a certain point it might become dangerous. When it’s a place where you flee to rather than visit occasionally. I am a class A daydreamer. I can get completely lost in my head and to be honest in stressful times it’s a place I prefer to be. It’s my happy place, my sanctuary, my dreamworld. I always felt bad for shutting out the reality and surrendering myself to my cloud-castles. For the longest time I fought myself out of my head and forced me to stay in reality.
Now I indulge in it as much as I want. I KNOW that it’s not reality! I KNOW it’s a bubble. It’s fun to play there nonetheless. It’s like a vacation for the mind. And it makes me happy. And actually and in full disclosure I hold it completely with this quote which is and has always been one of my favorites:
This being said, I hope you guys have all a unstressful Friday and I am going back to work now! And if not, wine helps, too! I feel like I shouldn’t sweep that under the rug 😉