Being signed off work with mental health issues seemingly causes its own mental health issues!
Being an avid reader and research based in almost all aspects of life I have, of course, been learning about ‘burn out’, anxiety disorders, mindfulness and self-help. The result of this has been a few key changes.
The first is, now that my day is not dictated by work scheduling and meetings, a new daily schedule. “Being Boss” by Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson is written for ‘creatives’ who need to take control of their work and life… I have, temporarily perhaps, rebranded my self as a ‘creative’ given my new role as Blogger!
In their book, Kathleen and Emily talk about setting boundaries for work and life, scheduling all aspects of your non-negotiables, what ever they may be, and then sharing these with the world so that everyone knows what to expect… OK. So I need a daily plan, a reason to get up in the morning and a reason to go to bed at a sensible time. But what goes in the schedule?
The other book I am reading, “Altered Traits” by David Goleman and Richard Davison talk about how to use meditation to achieve changes in state and traits. One aspect discussed at length is the measure of one’s state. Having an understanding of your current level of:
- quality relationships as well as many more
These gave me a structure to start to build a day, (and a ‘to do’ list to review my values and beliefs which I hope to write about in the coming days).
My current schedule is:
7am – get up (a little after the initial chaos of three kids waking up in morning so that it is not as stressful but still before anyone leaves the house so I can lend my assistance)
7.30am – when the kids and Nick head off to school, also leave the house for a walk. Outside. In the sunshine (and heat and humidity) I have mapped the footpaths in our residential area and have a couple of routes of between 25 minutes one way to 35 ,minutes one way, both arriving at one of the local coffee shops.
8.15am – write / read – this is when I am focusing on getting my blog written, reading the third book I have on the go ‘When’ by Daniel Pink who talks about ‘the best time to do things’ like – go for a walk and be creative
9.00 – walk back to the house and take a shower
9.45am – write / read – this is when I answer social media messages, update FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn and, where I complete ‘to do’ tasks associated with these.
10.30am – admin… house stuff, getting items photographed for sale, dishwasher, laundry all that usual fun. Nick usually gets home around now so this is the perfect time for catch up
12.30pm – Nick leaves to get the girls and leaves Fliss with me for her nap. This is my ‘creative’ time where I am focusing on creating the images for KATE’s CUTE CARDS. I am hopeful that I can create an income stream from creating cards with motivational and inspirational quotes to sell from the website… more on this to hopefully come in the months that follow. If you would like to share your favourite quote for me to use in a card please do send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
1.30pm – The girls are back from school (Ramadan Hours) so all work and creativity stop until after bed time while we get to focus on parenting
7.30pm – after dinner, bath, books and bed I create a plan for the next day as to what I want to achieve so that there is a reason to get up in the morning
8pm – admin – I am working through all the paperwork and books ready for leaving Dubai – usually with Netflix on
10pm – Meditation and bed
So, that sounds great doesn’t it? Some physical well-being, some mental well being, come creativity, a clear purpose, reading to get better at something… so why am I bemoaning it?
IT IS OCCASIONALLY A DISASTER!
Today, I arrived hot and sweaty at one of the local coffee shops ready for my creative burst – I am sat here now – but instead of feeling the creative juices flowing following the burst of exercise induced endorphins I am huddled in a corner hiding in plan sight.
A colleague from work, the place that I am signed off from to try to deal with my mental health, is sat front and centre in the coffee shop, fortunately with his back to me. So, I brave it out, as I have set my boundaries and I have a schedule to keep to! Find myself whispering to the Barrista so that my voice is not heard over the hubbub of the coffee making and giving a FALSE NAME so that when my coffee is ready I do not draw attention to myself… seriously… an actual false name! Who do I think I am?
So, fodder for a blog for sure, but testament to the fact that no matter how brave and courageous I sound on the other end of a post on the website there is still a very fragile individual who cannot look a colleague in the eye and say “Yes, I am off sick, no it is not something physical, it is something mental, so yes, I am out of the house having a coffee following a brisk walk with a rucksack as this is a natural therapy that will encourage my recovery”.
Well, at least not today. Maybe tomorrow. “Every day is a new beginning”