I’ve been feeling frazzled lately. What with a work/childcare schedule with no give or flexibility in it, a busy full time job and a whole heap of other things weighing on my mind there have been a few occasions recently when I have felt that it is all just too much. I have been feeling frazzled and needed to treat myself.
Co-parenting, for all its drawbacks and believe me there are many, does give me the occasional time out. This weekend I have had three nights and two full days without Cygnet. I knew that I would miss Cygnet and needed a distraction but I also knew that I needed to slow down, not try to fit a zillion and one things into each day and not live by my watch.
I took myself away to a boutique hotel near Manchester (in the north of England for my non U.K readers).
The indulgence started on the train on the way up. And no, I didn’t book a first class ticket, or sit and drink wine for two and a half hours. I bought myself a cup of tea and I read my book.
Rewind a decade and I never thought I’d consider something so simple as reading my book to be indulgent. These days I usually manage a couple of pages at night and then give up because I can no longer keep my eyes open. It’s not unusual for me to take six months to read a book by which time I have forgotten the plot. I spent a whole two hours on the train reading my book and it was glorious.
I met a friend in Didsbury (a little village outside Manchester), mooched around some shops, before we stopped for some tapas and a bottle of wine. I cannot remember the last time I ‘mooched’ anywhere
By 9:30pm, I was back in my hotel room, having ordered a copy of The Sunday Times newspaper to be left outside my hotel room door in the morning. I finished my book before falling asleep by 10pm. When do any of us get to sleep by 10pm? And I didn’t set an alarm.
In the morning I woke at around 9am feeling refreshed and renewed. I made myself a cup of tea and got back into bed to read the newspaper cover to cover. At 10:30 I went down for a continental breakfast in the restaurant and supped a smoothie as I finished reading the supplements.
I travelled back into Manchester and spent the afternoon mooching (yep, more mooching) around Manchester City Art Gallery. As I gazed at some black and white photographs depicting the grittiest and most run down bits of British cities in the 1970s, I thought about what I need to do to stop myself from feeling frazzled all of the time. I made three commitments to myself.
1. I am going to have an honest conversation with my boss about my workload.
There are just not enough hours in the day for me to do all the things he thinks I should. On a good day, I leave work a little flustered. On a bad day I feel like I am drowning. I am by boss’ best employee, which is part of the reason why I have so much work, but also why he really should listen when I say it is all too much.
2. I am going to go to bed earlier.
Once I have put Cygnet to bed in the evening and I’ve done my various chores I find myself torn between my desire for ‘me time’ and my desire for sleep. My blog and the internet often mean that I go to bed very late. It is not unusual for my light to still be on beyond midnight. When I am tired, I get irritable. When I’m not teetering on the edge of sleep deprived collapse I feel strong and capable. I need more sleep.
3. I am going to walk more.
I used to swim three times a week. I used to be a yoga and pilates aficionado. I even went through a phase of running twice a week. My co-parenting and childcare schedule and a full time job mean that luxurious yoga classes or a kilometre in the swimming pool, are no longer an option. What I can do is make sure that I walk, rather than take the bus from the train station into work each day. It is only a fifteen minute walk, but all too often a bus turns up and I hop on. It is hardly the strenuous exercise that I would need to really get the endorphins pumping but it is just enough of a time out to make a difference and to ensure that I get my 10000 steps each day.