‘Every now and again find a way to take a break somehow. Not to escape life, but to stop life escaping you.’
I remember stumbling across this quote for the first time and it literally stopped me in my tracks. I remember feeling a massive weight lift from me as I read each word back in my head. I remember thinking this is exactly what I needed to hear right in that moment. I remember it all so well, as I was halfway into my maternity leave with my then 7 month old daughter.
Whilst being a first time Mum to my little girl has and still is the greatest thing in my life, it can also be pretty damn hard. I’ve always been someone who can never sit still and is always on the go. I would fill my spare time with errands and tasks, just so I could tick things off my list. The thought of a whole year off work sounded like heaven to me, all I kept thinking was how much I was going to get done around my house as we’re still renovating – haha how wrong I was!
It wasn’t until I had my daughter that the phrase ‘being on the go’ took on a whole new meaning. Fast forward to her being 7 months old and suddenly I’m feeling so overwhelmed by everything. Thoughts of the endless errands that need to get done are flying around my head; who’s going to cook dinner tonight? Do I have time to cook for her or shall I give her a food pouch again? When will I wash that mountain of clothes in the bedroom? Who’s going to wash all those bottles stacking up by the sink? How long can you leave your bathroom before it needs a clean? When will I get time for a shower?! These are just a few of the things that used to go around my head on a daily basis and still do actually.
So, while the baby would nap I would set about tackling the long list of household chores. Come on, do you really think that I would sleep when the baby sleeps? (Why does everyone tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps?!). I was trying to get everything done ALL the time, even when she was awake. I would sit her on her playmat with her toys around her and while she was occupied I would do a bit of hoovering or cooking. The feeling of needing to get everything done was heightened when lockdown hit back in March, I felt like the usual household list tripled as our house was more ‘lived in’ than normal.
Each day I would wake up feeling anxious about everything that needed doing, all the while trying to be a good mum too. I felt run down and exhausted all the time, I remember thinking this isn’t right. That was the exact moment I came across this quote. I suddenly realised that it’s okay to take a break, it’s okay to catch up on trash TV while the baby naps, it’s okay to have done nothing all day apart from playing with my daughter. I have to still remind myself to take a break now and again, it’s a working progress. Some days I just sit and have 10 minutes to myself in complete silence, I would NEVER of done that before. It’s in those moments when I’m resting that I realise I don’t want life to escape me, and for that to happen you sometimes to need to completely stop to take a break.
#WorldMentalHealthDay #MentalHealth #BreakTheStigma #DoOneThing
Quote is from therapist, author and mum of three, Anna Mathur.