Our weeks are often full of ups and downs and highs and lows. This has definitely been true for me this week. As many of you may have seen I spoke on a radio show last Saturday night regarding my experiences as both a patient and a doctor, or more specifically as someone who suffers from multiple chronic illnesses whilst also being trained as a clinical psychologist.
As you can imagine this took me right outside my comfort zone and at one point I nearly decided to back out. Fortunately I did not, I chose not to let my fear on this occasion stop me from doing something that was important to me, and once the show got going I thoroughly enjoyed it and came away buzzing. I was pretty knackered for the next couple of days but it was worth it. For a whole host of other reasons I felt a little emotionally and physically all over the place the remainder of the week, feeling really quite despondent at times. I made the decision to allow myself to take a step back from some things for a few days in order to take care of myself and give my mind and my body what it appeared to need – NETFLIX. I am a massive geek so TV series and movies are my go to relaxation, escapism and respite.
It got me thinking – self care and self development encompass both giving ourselves a little nudge outside of our comfort zone (or in this case for me a big push) from time to time, whilst also giving ourselves time to rest and recuperate.
The tricky part perhaps is knowing which to apply when. The management of both physical and mental health difficulties sometimes seem to ask of us the impossible, okay maybe not the impossible but definitely something pretty darn difficult: don’t overdo it, but don’t under do it; keep nudging yourself forward, but pace yourself; try new things, but make sure you take time to rest. Oh yeah, and all within the unpredictability, responsibilities and challenges that comes with this whole art of being an adult.
This art takes practice, it takes falling down and making mistakes, it takes getting up again, it takes not always getting the balance right or life not always affording us the opportunity to get it right, whatever right may be.
Perhaps a good place to begin is simply acknowledging that sometimes we have to dig deep down inside and find our own GRIT and strength to take that step forward, and other times we need to rest in order to help us take that next step forward, regardless of what your individual step entails. My step this evening is to go out with a dear friend who something to eat (my GRIT move) followed by watching a movie and eating a couple of packets of my favourite gluten-free crisps (my REST move) .
So there you go, my key to chronic living: NETFLIX and GRIT!
As we enter into the bank holiday weekend (here in Northern Ireland), take some time to reflect upon how much grit and how much rest YOU need to achieve what you would like to achieve whilst also looking after yourself.
Both these photographs were taken in the park in which I live.