Just typing that feels a bit odd.
I know beyond a shadow of doubt that looking after myself is important, but there’s still a whiff of self-indulgence around talking about it.
Maybe it’s the hyphen. Hyphenated things can be like that.
This just gone weekend I had a lot of options for being out and about. Each opportunity was undeniably good – getting a haircut, seeing a close friend, celebrating a sweet boy’s first birthday, the chance to meet people I’ve come to value (and go from URL to IRL with bonus creativity built into the meet-up), and an invitation to attend an event about a deeply personal issue, all loomed large in my calendar.
Before I began the weekend, I had a sinking feeling that if I tried to do ALL THE THINGS I wouldn’t cope. Being newly back to work, and finding that incredibly stressful, means that my predilection for recharging downtime has become almost insatiable.
So I had some decisions to make, and it was not an easy process.
On Saturday I’d hoped for a nice sleep in before my midday haircut, which I planned to follow with a leisurely lunch with my friend Suzanne.
I was wide awake at 7am.
I got my hair cut (yay!) and then drove up into the hills to have a long lunch with my friend (quadruple yay!). It was so nice to catch up, exchange news, eat fantastic food and to order another coffee and some cake because there was so much for us to talk about. After lunch, we wandered around a sweet vintage-y shop and I stopped on the way down the hillside to snap some photos.
It was wonderful.
And tiring. I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but when I got home, I do what I normally do after a day of gallivanting – I tallied up the hours I’d been on the go. It was about six hours.
I set my alarm, but when Sunday morning rolled around I decided not to go to the meet-up. I had been particularly looking forward to meeting the people I knew were going, but I had to balance that against the fact that I’d had a full-on week, I’d been out on Saturday, and my downtime tank was running mighty close to empty.
I found myself feeling a bit on edge, more than a bit, and so I ended up staying on the couch in my pjs until very late in the day. I needed to be at home, by myself. Even though that meant missing fun stuff, the meet-up, and then my gorgeous and courageous friends’ son’s birthday party.
Could I have pushed myself and at least gone to the birthday party for an hour? Yes, I suppose I could have. But I didn’t. It doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate my friends and their beautiful children. I do, I love them.
I’m still working out how to balance things – I won’t get it right every time, and I may disappoint or hurt people in the process. The thought of that makes my stomach churn.
This may sound like a really whiney post, but something came into my mind across the weekend, and I’m trying to process it. I wondered if I have a little social anxiety. I’ve never wondered that before.
I have come to accept, and embrace, that I’m an introvert. I enjoy hanging out with people, and it is so important to maintain my friendships, but I need to pull up the drawbridge and spend large chunks of time by myself. It’s how I regroup.
I sleep in when I can, I usually watch TV, blog, or cook. I sometimes paint, or just lay on the couch looking at the ceiling or out the window. I may read a book, or spend a whole day doing “nothing”. It is these things that fill my tank and keep me from allowing the stresses of this season to overwhelm me.
There’s no need for me to justify any of these things, that’s not the purpose of this post. This is my life, and as someone without family responsibilities, my time outside of work is my own. What I guess I’ve been pondering this weekend is whether there is an element of social anxiety in the mix, or if this is simply my expression of introversion.
Right now I could be at the opening of an exhibition called Without Consent, which has come about following the national apology for forced adoption practices. I attended the apology in Canberra two years ago. It was a momentous day for me, as an adoptee.
Last night I had yucky dreams about rejection and exclusion (which happens very rarely), so I’ve decided that today is better spent at home, doing laundry, writing this post, and perhaps I’ll make a quick trip to the library later on.
What’s important is that I remember that these days dedicated to self-care are not days of self-indulgence, even if they look that way to some. If I say yes to everything, even the ace and special things with a bit of FOMO attached, I’ll effectively be saying no to my own self-care, and that’s just asking for trouble.
How do you take care of yourself?
Ever struggled with social anxiety?
I’d love to open up the comments and chat about these things.
Yours, still in my pjs,