Its all about energy
Its funny how, at times, we can forget to focus on ourselves. Not that we are not doing things for ourselves, but that we are doing them because of this pressure to do them. Because we need to do them, or should do them. It can lead us to become quickly burned out, depressed, and even miserable. What I hadn’t fully realized is just how easy it can be do to this to ourselves, even when we are doing things we enjoy.
In the past two months, I got away from doing things that I wanted to, and did things because I felt I HAD to. And yes, a lot of it did revolve around this blog, and that is in part why I didn’t quite grasp it. At least not until the end. I really did enjoy everything I was doing, but in that last week, I was pushing through as fast as I could to get it all done by the deadline I had set myself, and while I was still having fun, something had changed.
This change was how my energy was used. In the beginning, I was ecstatic with each new post. With the planning, shopping, creation, writing, and posting of each project. When I thought about working on a project, I had a slight uplift in anticipation, like the moment before the roller coaster drops. Working on these projects refilled me. Gave me the feeling of creative creation. But in that last week, my energy was more of a desperate push, trying to prioritize what was left on my plate so I could be as efficient as possible. It led to mistakes, and the feeling that things were not as good as they could have been (Ever the perfectionist) and that I was failing. With chronic pain or without, no one can maintain that for long before your energy stores are drained dry. Drained I was, and being that tired is just miserable. That I was too.
So, after my flare up and impending crash, I made a counseling appointment and decided to sort through the baggage and other debris floating around my mind and get back on a healthy path. The first step, and my first assignment while back, was to do a weekend for me. I was frustrated, because I was doing me! The whole month had been about me doing my crazy projects while my boyfriend watched me with a bemused grin and shook his head from across the room. The point I needed to see, however, is that I needed to see the difference of doing things because of this perfectionist pressure and doing things because they refill my energy stores.
I think it is a bit disheartening that we need to give ourselves permission to be happy. Permission to take time for ourselves. Permission to enjoy being lazy, relaxing. But once I realized I could give myself this permission, I couldn’t wait to get started. A whole weekend for me, doing things that made me happy. Fair warning, there was a lot of pumpkin involved.
Essentially, here is my 12 year old’s account of all of the “me” things I crammed into a weekend. If this stuff bores you (which it might) skip down to Lessons Learned!
Before I even headed back to work that Friday afternoon, I swung into Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Frappacino. See, up to this point, I had not had a single pumpkin anything. I have loved pumpkin my whole life, and suddenly over the last 3 years it has taken on a life of its own, with PSL everything, at every restaurant, every gas station, every shelf. So, I am a little more hesitant about indulging. That said, my abstinance was over, and proved to be a good start to my weekend, as the lovely woman behind the counter was so incredibly and overly conversational and kind, complimenting my necklace, engaging in conversation, and wishing me a wonderful day in such a sincere manner. I had walked into that store with my nose and eyes still red from crying, and you never know how far a little kindness will go. I thanked her as I walked out of the store and let her know she had so greatly improved my day.
I followed this up by indulging in BBQ chips with lunch, and spending the rest of the day working in a conference room so I could just be on my own. It was beautiful. After work, I made an appointment with a beauty salon, checked out the grand opening of S.H.U.E.S downtown and picked up a new chunky orange scarf, wandered around Barnes and Noble and bought a new book (Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica… I recommend it!), and picked up a pumpkin pie blizzard, with extra pumpkin pie… I’m just getting started guys… and finished my blizzard snuggled up in blankets with my dog after renting Hocus Pocus from Amazon. I had been so sad I couldn’t find it in stores during October and determined to watch it, realized it had to be online somewhere. I then read my book until I fell asleep.
Saturday, I woke up and after a refreshing walk with Mystic and a shower, dressed up wearing my new scarf and went into the office. See, while most people hate the office on weekends, I actually love mine. Its lovely, quiet, and I can lock myself into its dark depths, like a comfortable womb. This is the introvert in me, but I love this time. I do, and did, use it to catch up on work, but then enjoyed time on Pintrest while playing music and singing out loud, and balancing my checkbook (this calms me down for some strange reason). I then walked downtown, bought another scarf from Chelsea’s Boutique, and decided to splurge on a pair of boots I had eyed the day before. I stopped in to C.H. Patissarie and bought two macaroons (not pumpkin, unfortunately, but settled for gingerbread) and headed to my beauty appointment.
During my makeup tutorials, I had started to realize just how bushy my eyebrows were while attempting to cover them for various applications. I really do like the shape of my eyebrows, but felt they could use a professional cleanup, although this made me quite anxious. I shouldn’t have feared, as Ulta Beauty had a great beautician who colored in my eyebrows with a dark powder so I could see exactly what she was doing. She made me comfortable through the whole process, and I really do love how clean my brows look. Ive even had people ask me if I have new glasses!
I followed this with a hair appointment. It was much needed as I had not been in for a trim in about 18 months, so it was getting a little unruly, and not to mention, unhealthy. I had actually been worried about my hair lately, it had been falling out at an alarming rate and it hurt too much to put in my signature bun. While I was pretty sure nothing was wrong, it was still causing me a fair amount of concern. The beautician reassured me it was simply my hair doing naturally what I had usually gotten done at a salon about once a year prior, and she helped it along by giving me a trim, thinning it out, and adding new layers. I finished off the day by hitting up Hobby Lobby (I could spend hours in there) and grabbing Qdoba chips and queso on the way home, which I ate while reading late into the night.
Sunday: Eat all the donuts!
Sunday morning, I woke up refreshed and after cleaning the neglected kitchen and putting away the final Halloween decorations and hauling them to the garage, I set to work making pumpkin donuts in my new silicone doughnut mold from Hobby Lobby. After 3 donuts and 3 cups of coffee… I took a nap. It was bliss. Upon waking up around 4, I proceeded to eat my lunch and early dinner with another 4 (OK, maybe 5) donuts. I wasn’t kidding on the pumpkin spice weekend… that’s all I ate Sunday. Its the beautiful part of being an adult… you can’t ruin your dinner if it IS your dinner. I ran to Lowes to grab supplies for my next manic round of DIY projects for the apartment, and then settled into the evening to finish my book.
This was an interesting exercise for me in a few ways:
1. I realized that I can and do include a lot of these things in my life on a pretty regular basis. The difference is in the perspective I carry them out in. If I do it because it brings me joy, its a far better use of my time. If not, I should think about why not, and perhaps change what I’m doing.
2. What really brings me joy? All weekend, I focused on that uplifted swing feeling. When I thought about finishing up a project from Halloween, finishing up some of my remaining posts, or making donuts, only one of those gave me that excited rush. So I made donuts.
3. This account may have sounded selfish and left out Damir, but no worries… he got Qdoba, went out for a beer after his soccer game, and enjoyed donuts while studying for his finals week. The interesting thing I noticed was that when I was doing things that made me happy (still keeping him in some consideration, of course) we were both happier. As in, by making sure the time I was spending during the day brought joy to me, it can also bring joy to our household. We spent a lot more time joking, laughing, and teasing each other last weekend than we had in quite some time. It was wonderful, and I hadn’t realized just how much I miss it, as well as how much my stress prevents me from experiencing it.
4. I still got so much done! I didn’t completely ignore the chores. Before making donuts, I cleaned the kitchen. While I was reading, we did the laundry. While I was at work, I made sure I was prepared for the week ahead. What I realized was how many things I said no to that I normally would have pressured myself to do because “I HAD to.” Things like painting an old desk that I was giving away to an acquaintance, or for that matter, painting a collection of things I will be DIYing shortly, since we are having incredibly lovely weather for November and I can still get away with painting outdoors! Things like shampooing the carpet that had a stain. Or sorting through the pile of clothes I had decided to sell or donate. All of these things happened, but they didn’t need to be done right then. Instead, they happened on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Nothing fell apart and the world didn’t end. I just did it with a lot less stress and a lot more doughnuts.
Overall, I think was a much needed weekend and I was much better prepared to jump into my week, and was much happier doing it. You certainly don’t need to do a full weekend of pampering yourself, but there is a lot of merit to doing at least something. And whether it is a splurge (monetary, calorie, or both) do it because it makes you happy. You are worth it. And when you are happy, you can make those around you happier as well. And if all goes well, there will hopefully be something pumpkin.