Stepping Back to {Move Forward}

You may {or may not!} have noticed it’s been very quiet on the blog of late. As with all of us life happens and in simple terms other things took priority.

The last time I posted I was not in a great place mentally – I was feeling overwhelmed and “without a tether”, at home, creatively and professionally. I needed to take some time out and step back both mentally and physically.

Looking back

The title of my last post Empty {Cup} pretty much says it all, here’s a reminder:

You can’t pour from an empty cup and today mine feels completely lacking. I’m not the parent I thought I’d be. Work is stressful. Time is short. My children are unmanageable. I’m constantly clearing up after everyone yet the house is still a tip. I don’t get a minute to myself to breathe. I feel guilty.

I’m starting to wonder what the point is. Why do I even bother getting dressed when everything feels uncomfortable? Why do I try to cover the dark circles and unwashed hair? I can’t do it all. I don’t have time to enjoy my children because there are always a million things to do or get to. Too many needs to tend to. I’m drowning in my empty cup. 

Knowing now where I was and where I was about to go when I first published this post makes it hard to read. I was on the brink of a mental breakdown and was quite literally drowning in overwhelm. I now have a better idea of the contributing factors which lead me to this point.

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Inability to accept help
  • Attempting to be or appear perfect
  • Taking criticism hard
  • All ideas but no productivity = overwhelm and feelings of failure

What have I been up to?

So what have I been up to for the past ~6 months?

Before Christmas I suffered what I would call a mini or pre-breakdown. I took two solid weeks off work over the Christmas break and went back to work feeling {I thought} refreshed and ready to “start again”. Within a week it became obvious those feelings were beginning to surface again and by the weekend I suffered a full mental breakdown. Without going into details at this point it’s kind of a case of if you know you know. I don’t expect everyone to understand but the fact I can articulate what happened says a lot about how far I have come. I may have appeared fine on the outside, but I was breaking on the inside.

These are some of the things that followed:

  • 8 weeks off work
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Counselling and support from my GP including medication
  • Doing a LOT of thinking out loud {hello 6 hour round car trip with my brother} and heart to hearts
  • Rest and recuperation
  • Opening lines of communication
  • Reassessing my why

What changed?

  • I accepted help, support and medication
  • I made a conscious decision to step back and slow down
  • I reflected on and changed the direction of my business which included initially reducing my portfolio so I could ultimately increase overall impact
  • I reassessed what was important to me, gained clarity and didn’t give up on my dream
  • I changed both professional and personal relationships
  • I have a better understanding and acceptance of myself and the chaos which comes with having young children/ a lived in home
  • I’ve been working on building people up rather than feeling threatened or knocked down by others’ success
  • I let my hair down and have fun!
  • I am more aware of my personal and professional boundaries and expectations
  • I am more honest about how I am feeling and better able to communicate about my mental health than ever before – with friends, family, colleagues. my children and our wider virtual community
  • I am more present, accepting and better able to express feelings of sadness, anger, resentment, frustration, anxiety, excitement and happiness. And in turn more able to help others express their feelings
  • I have more honest and open conversations with my husband
  • I understand the value of building a community – both physical and virtual
  • I set boundaries without apologising, giving reasons or excuses
  • I know my core values and take pride in honesty
  • I am getting back in touch with creativity and inspiration
  • I understand the importance of taking small steps back in order to move forward – whether that be taking a break from social media/electronics, an hour or a day out in the fresh air or stepping away from a potentially toxic friendship or working relationship
  • I have a better understanding of my vocation – to support and build others up and give back to the community for FREE or at low cost where possible

Moving Forwards

  • Staying aware
  • Honing into a creative outlet/outlets – blogging, art
  • Creating boundaries and setting {often self imposed} expectations
  • Simplifying – Project {Simplify} post coming soon!
  • Building/being part of a supportive community and exploring chances to collaborate
  • Learning to brush off criticism
  • Acknowledge the need for sacrifice and prioritisation

My Aims and Aspirations

For the first time I feel able to articulate some of my aims and aspirations without feeling anxious about failing, being judged or people stealing my ideas {!} I feel open to collaboration with an outward vision. My mind feels clearer and better able to articulate where I want to be and to enjoy the journey! Here are some of my current aims and aspirations:

  • To {properly} launch my business Pro-Clerking
  • Creating both a personal and public self-care toolkit
  • To maintain blogging inspiration
  • To create learning resources
  • To create a professional and personal annual planner
  • To set up short and long-term collaborations both through a {Life} Twintastic and Pro-Clerking
  • To have a personal action plan for when/if my mental health needs time out or I start to feel overwhelmed
  • To reassess and work on my physical health in a sustainable manner

All of this remains a work in progress and mental health and clarity is something which needs to be nurtured. Moving forwards requires the support and understanding of those closest to you. I’ve drafted more posts at various stages of my mental health journey which I plan to share in time in hope that by sharing my experiences I may help others through theirs.

I hope this post helps anyone who is struggling, who is close to someone who may be feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope or in need of some time and space to step back in order to move forwards. For now, over and out.

  • Would you be interested in learning more about how we can collaborate?
  • Do you have a blog?
  • Would you like to write a guest post?
  • Would you like to feature a {Life} Twintastic on your blog?
  • Do you own a small business and would like to find out more about how to get involved with giveaways and advertising?
  • If you’d like to work with me get in touch via Facebook, Instagram or my contact page 🙂

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