While I missed a lot of the people I work with and have seen for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week for 3 years, having space and time to myself away from the constant grind has actually worked out for the best. As I prepare to go back to work, here are some of the realisations I came to during my time off
When you leave for work at 7:15 am every day and often don't home until gone 6 pm every evening, it doesn't leave much time for yourself that isn't spent feeling tired. When the weekend rolls around I usually feel so exhausted and worn down that I don't really want to do anything and so waste my time off. Before I know it, it's Monday morning and the whole thing starts again.
This means I often don't have much time to relax with my husband, let alone myself. Over the last few weeks, I've realised just how important it is to make the time and to do more than watch TV while curled up on my sofa.
Even on days when I didn't feel great, I did something that was just about me, including reading my book in a coffee shop, doing a bit of colouring, running a bath or going for a walk while listening to David Bowie. Not only did this improve my mood, it helped me relax and feel like I'd achieved something with my day.
2: I need to do more of my own writing
I initially took my current job because I loved the idea of writing every day, however, writing so much for other people can leave you feeling uninspired and rob you of creativity when it comes to your own writing. Not having to write so much has meant that I've been able to enjoy putting pen to paper and picking up some old projects that have been left by the wayside.
This has meant that this blog - as well as a few other things - have had a lot more attention, which is something I intend to continue with. No job should ever rob you of something you love to do, especially as this can make you resent your job in the end.
I am refusing to fall back into the trap of not being creative for myself once I go back to work and am determined to keep writing because I enjoy it, as well as doing things like picking up a paintbrush and my camera again, which I have also not done in a very long time.
3: It's okay to have bad days
I suffer from depression and anxiety, which I've had under control for a while up until recently. Even though I usually have more good days than bad - not counting the last few months - I do still have bad days.
However, I don't let people know that I have bad days and usually carry on as normal, acting like everything is fine. The key word there is 'acting', as I cannot overcome a bad day just by ignoring it, In fact, trying to ignore my bad days is likely to have made my depression worse recently.
I have now realised that it is okay to have bad days and to admit to having them. It is also okay not to pretend that everything is fine when getting out of bed is a huge struggle and being around people causes me to panic. I have been more open with my work about my mental health and will continue to be so, including telling them when I am having a bad day.
4: I like doing everyday things
When I'm exhausted after work and at the weekends, things slide. House work gets left undone, I avoid going to the supermarket and I look at my pile of washing without the intention of actually dealing with it. Not only does this mean that everything piles up and takes more energy to eventually sort out, the mess can actually make my mental health worse.
Having time off meant that I have had no excuse not to keep on top of things. I have done so much house work, sorting out, shopping and washing that I now have very little to do and it is easier to keep on top of. Not only this, I have actually enjoyed being active and doing things, even if it is just washing up the day's dishes.
I've felt productive and have managed to do things that I have been meaning to do for months but haven't had the time or energy for. I've enjoyed going to the supermarket with my husband on a Sunday afternoon and knowing that 20 minutes of tidying will leave me with a clean lounge again.
On top of this, having a clean and tidy house has meant that I am not looking at mess and feeling my mood sink lower and I don't suffer anxiety attacks at the thought of people coming over. I still have more to do, but am making a list of small projects I can complete without exhausting myself.
5: Work is not the most important thing
I hate failing at anything and so will put all of myself into something to ensure I don't fail and that I do my best. While it is okay to put a lot of effort in, I have realised that you cannot do so at the expense of other areas of your life or your mental and physical health.
I am still capable of doing my job well if I don't give it all of my waking energy. I can still write high-quality content as part of my job if I take some time to write something that I want to write. I should be working to live and not living to work as then I miss out on far too much and risk being back in the place I was at the start of March, which is not somewhere I want to be again any time soon.
Hopefully, this realisation will stop me feeling so physically, emotionally and spiritually drained on a daily basis and I can get back to enjoying writing every day, even if some of what I write isn't what I want to be writing.
While I'm not feeling 100% better, I'm hoping that each of these things and the plans I have made as a result of these realisations will help me get there and keep me there.