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As the days wound down to the return to school, I had two conflicting sets of emotions.

On the one hand I had done really well at relaxing. Six days without children did me a great deal of good and I tried to carry on taking time out to relax without worrying about impending school and all that goes with it.

While I haven’t read anymore, I have been thinking about mindfulness and how my thoughts spiral out of control. By the way, 2son saw the book and said that they’ve got on on the ward and use it a lot.

I know I think too much.

This can be the practical sort of chain thinking with “I’m doing this now, next I’ll do something else and I must remember to do something today and something else this week” and before you know it I’ve run through everything I need to do this week. This can be useful but I realised a while back that I tend to do this and so I got organised with written lists and incorporating tasks into my calendar so that I can see what I’m doing and when. If I do remember something late at night I jot it down on my phone rather than thinking “mustn’t forget to do X tomorrow”, a thought guaranteed to lose me sleep. Even though I’ve taken practical steps to address this what I’m now doing is saying stop to myself, that I’m doing whatever it is that I’m doing now and when I’ve finished I’ll think about what to do next. In some ways it’s the reverse of multi-tasking.

The other more emotional type of chain thinking is “I would like to do Y but I can’t because I feel unhappy about Z which is because W happened as a child and T happened as an adult and I know I need to move on but I’m not ready because I can’t think about Y because I’m not worthy/strong enough / whatever”, usually ending up with a grand negative thought about myself that is far worse than my original thought which I’ve probably forgotten anyway. Clearly an understanding of why I do things the way I do and find somethings difficult is important so that I understand what is pulling my strings but by watching my thoughts over the last week I have seen more clearly how my thoughts, repeated analysis and all the rest of the crap in my head don’t actually help me feel better. So again, I’m trying to just have that first thought and then move on, without heading towards that downward spiral.

I’ve also finally caught up on sleep and feel good and awake, turning lights off at 11-12 o’clock and getting eight or nine hours sleep. It’s been lovely to feel I can get through the day without slumping and without needing caffeine.

So that’s all quite positive. I’ve done some thinking, lots of light reading as well as some intelligent reading, lots of sleeping and feel that I have a guide for where I’m going next.

However I could also feel myself tightening up at the thought of school, of early morning starts, of all the things that would seem urgent the first week. I was aware of that pit in my stomach deepening before I’d even set the alarm.

Now, two days in, I feel tired and stressed out. 2son hasn’t gone to school and the ward keeps talking about discharge which really really pisses me off. He’s not ready. 3son and 4son were happy with their first day back. There has been no difficulty with them so far. But I’m fed up of early starts (alarm on for half six), fed up with trekking 2son back and forth and fed up with being fed up.

But I still try and think happy thoughts.