Every morning I have to fight with my routine and myself.
If I had to be out of the house first thing to commute to work I would have a minimal routine that I’d just plough my way through on automatic pilot, but I don’t. I work from home and I work part time, so I do not have to make sure that I get eight hours (or more) of work a day.
And yet I feel guilty if I’m not at my desk by 9am getting on with work like convention dictates. No matter how many conversations I have had with myself about the lack of need to be chained to a computer, I still feel that I am not doing my part, that I am not being productive enough.
Telling myself I am still de-stressing from years of wound up tensions, from childhood to marriage to parenthood to being single, all of these cumulative stresses and strains which have taken a physical and mental toll on me, none of these really enable me to forgive myself, which is what I really need.
So learning to take ten minutes in the morning for meditation last year has been a struggle. It has been a struggle because it forces me to put my self-care first, and this in itself is a first. Now I am adding my Pilates to it. I am also trying to add my journalling to the morning as I find it difficult to find the energy in the evening. All this takes time and despite waking up at 8am in the holidays it’s often getting on for midday by the time I have done all this and had breakfast, washed up and tidied up, ready for the day.
Wow, midday and I haven’t even started work. What I have done though is taken care of myself first which is more important, and something I need more practice at doing. I’ve always worked, whether it’s been going out for interesting or soul-destroying employment, or whether it’s getting four small people dressed and out of the house in the morning. But taking care of myself is something that I am only now beginning to seriously learn how to do and to incorporate it into my daily life. 2019 is my fiftieth year and it’s about time I learned to look after myself.
Yet I am still judging myself by external standards that say I should be doing 8 hours paid work a day. I struggle to do 3 and that includes domestic paperwork and the other odds and ends that aren’t paid employment. I still feel that I haven’t earned the right to spend time on myself. I hear how wrong that sentence is and yet it is the truth.
I am trying to be kinder to myself. Before the house filled up for Christmas I turned the heating up by two degrees because I was tired of putting on extra layers and having cold hands. All those years of my father telling all of us to simply put another jumper on if we’re cold. At 16 degrees it’s still colder than most people enjoy but it feels luxurious to me.
I have also broken my self-imposed rule to not read the same book twice that I haven’t broken since 2008 and am really enjoying reading The Dark Tower, one of my all time favourites. It’s helping me get lost in a book again, which is something I was losing.
This week sees the transition between holiday and routine, with 3son back at work today, 2son and 4son on holiday still until next week. It will be interesting to see how the morning’s tensions work out when the earlier mornings impose themselves, whether anything that I have learned over the holidays about looking after myself stays with me.