Yesterday afternoon the generous support of my husband enabled me to have three hours to myself.
I caught up on my favourite tv programmes, wrote a blog post, read a bit and painted my nails.
It felt so good to just slow down and ‘be’ alone by myself and made me realise just how much slowing down is vital for my mental health.
It also made me realise that my life has been very full recently.
I wrote in my last blog post about how my life is so heavily structured. I know where I’m going to be most of the time and a lot of my ‘down time’ of late has been filled with weekends away and time away visiting family for Christmas.
I’m not complaining about these weekends away and Christmas plans – they’ve been lovely, fun and precious time with family – but with work being busy and outside work being full, I’ve not had much time where I can just be, by myself.
But I’m realising how much I need this time by myself. I’ve felt myself edge closer and closer towards mental breaking point and I need to stop before I make myself unwell.
But what does this time alone need to look like to improve my wellbeing?
I was reading an article about self-care that my close friend, Christina, sent to me.
It talked about self-care as the things we do that nourish and replenish our mind, bodies and souls.
And the first thing on the list of self-care examples they gave was slowing down, making space for solitude and reflection.
These are things I have little time for at the moment, but I’m beginning to realise that they are things that are so vital for my wellbeing.
Well, I think I have little time for them, but I could flex my life to have a bit more time alone.
- I could take one evening a week when Jenson is in bed to do things by myself.
- I could use my lunch breaks to do things that feed my soul, like meditating or writing.
- Gregg and I could take it in turns to have mini-solitary sessions in the evening when we’re looking after Jenson.
- I could be less focused on preparing for the week – making lunches and dinners in advance – to make more space for time alone.
- When I’m away, visiting family or friends, I could take little pockets of time for myself
- I could ask my parents to plan some weekends to Brighton over the next year to allow life to slow down.
- I could stop filling every moment of downtime with activity – reading work books on the train, recording voice messages when I’m on my way somewhere, looking at my phone when I’m waiting for someone
I know that not all these ideas are practical, but something needs to change.
I desperately need time alone for my wellbeing and in order to stay in tip-top shape for the marathon that is parenthood and the journey that is life.