Be kind to yourself: it really does make life a little easier

Despite the world being pretty much on fire, I have to say the first couple of days of 2021 have been pretty okay for me personally.

For the first time in months I finally feel calm. As if for the first time in weeks I can finally just breath. It’s as if everything is finally in place and I can finally think clearly again. These past couple of days I for the first time in a good while felt like I had the headspace to focus on the things I want to do again.

Does that mean I got up at 6 a.m. every day this week? That I was able to work on my dissertation from Monday to Friday? Nope. I still have chronic fatigue syndrome so there are going to be days that are just not going to go the way I want them to. I had a couple of pretty rough nights, which caused me to wake-up so tired that I decided to set my alarm for another hour.

And you know what? That is absolutely okay. If I am too tired to work on my PhD today or if I cannot get myself do do the dishes, then I will give it another try tomorrow. I have stopped getting upset with myself for not being able to do all the things I had planned on a particular day… And my gosh does that feel good!

As some of my avid readers know I absolutely love decorative planning. This is a type of planning style where you liven-up your planner with cute and pretty stickers. Every weekend I would sit down with my planner, decorate it and plan out the entire week. For everyday I would decide what I was going to do. Needless to say, if you have an illness as unpredicatable as chronic fatigue syndrome that does not work. So what happend was that I found myself getting frustrated every time, because I could not finish all the things that I had planned to do. Instead of my planner helping me be more productive and me enjoy working on it, I felt like it was a reminder of my failure to do simple things like dishes and was some kind of testemony to my inadequacy…. Yeah… If that isn’t one heck of an unhealhty mindset, than I don’t kow what is. So, I decided to quit planning for a while. I tried to get bak into it multiple times, but I could simply not find a way for it to work.

Until now. Every weekend I now sit down to decorate the week before, as I used to, but I do not plan anything yet, unless it is an actual meeting with someone. Instead I have incorporated planning into my morning routine. That way I can check in with myself on the day to see how I am feeling and to gauge how much I will be able to do. At the same time, I have learned to have peace with it if I have one of those days where I have less energy than I thought I had. So if I have written down that I will be doing the dishes that day, but am too tired, I simply put it off to the next day and regard th eplanner entry as a reminder for tomorrow. No giving myself crap, no feeling bad about it. It is what it is.

And you know what? It actually works! Yesterday, after a really crappy night I just couldn’t get up at 6 a.m…. So I got up at 7 instead. In the morning I had resigned myself to do nothing on my PhD that day, but planned that I would at least do dishes. Well, after working half a day I was quite unexpectedly able to focus on my PhD for 2 hours. However, the trade of was that I wasn’t able to do any dishes because of that. So I left that chore for today… and ended up cleaning the stove as well whilst I was at it. Just because I could. Flexibility for the win!

One of the reasons why I decided to share this in this blogpost with you all today is because I hope it helps some of you to perhaps be a little kinder to yourself as well. It is so easy to get upset with ourselves because of our limitations, physically or otherwise. Yet where does that get us? It only makes us feel frustrated, unhappy and may cause us to give up something that we love doing because of that. There’s enough negativity in the world already right now, don’t become another source of it for yourself.

No matter what you are struggling with, you are doing the best you can and that is enough. As someone on instagram wrote yesterday “being in our bodies is hard”. And so is being in our minds at times. But that is okay. It is alright to struggle or to feel pain. It is not your fault and it does not make you any less worthy. You are you and you are enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially not you yourself.

chibird — A small corgi pup to remind us that we are in...
Copyright: Chiibird