Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Importance of Taking Time

It's been quiet around here for the past few weeks. I've been really struggling with finding balance lately--particularly the balance between being informed about the things happening in our country and letting it consume my every waking moment. I was having a hard time turning off the television and putting my phone down--it felt almost irresponsible, and everything seemed so important. It was hard to look away from, as St. Vincent put it, the "daily litany of horrifying things." You know when something crazy happens and it just throws you completely off kilter for a few days? It was like that every single day. And this space--everything that I could write seemed so pointless. Who cares about British television and my favorite LUSH bath bombs when the world is going to hell around us?

Even as I type this, I realize the absurdity of saying this as a straight, Christian, cis-gender, middle-class white woman--and I absolutely cannot fathom how difficult it must be for people of color, religious minorities, the LGBTQ community, and those struggling to make ends meet--but honestly, it was crippling. I was starting to feel depression creep in, my immune system was suffering, and I found myself sleeping more and more.

So I started to do what is probably the hardest thing for me--I let myself off the hook. I binge-watched Doctor Who, read a ton of British history books, took multi-hour LUSH-infused baths, and planned every detail of a trip to England that's still a year and a half away.  I set boundaries--I looked at the BBC app on my phone once a day, in the morning, and I let myself browse Facebook for 15 minutes at night, then I put it away.
My boss often reminds us that, if you listen to the emergency direction spiel they give on an airplane, they always tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping other people with theirs. It seems so simple--you're no good to anyone if you can't breathe. I think it's a perfect example of why self-care is so important. I had two weeks of complete focus on the things that helped me "breathe" and feel okay again. It would be easy to say that smacks of privilege, that it's selfish and self-indulgent when so many people are suffering around me--believe me, it's nothing I haven't said to myself when I was just trying to "power through." Those two weeks, though, were preceded by two weeks in which I was barely getting by and not able to support anyone else anyway--and who knows how long that would have continued if I hadn't given myself some grace?

It feels good to feel like me again, and I've learned my lesson--you can bet that I'm still going to be spending some time on Netflix binges, conquering my reading lists, and taking LUSH baths.  I'll probably keep writing about the same kinds of things too--because we need an escape every once in awhile, even if it's as  superfluous and indulgent as reading about home décor or looking at travel photos. I may not be blogging as frequently or regularly as I have in the past though--I have to save some time for fighting injustice and smashing the patriarchy, you know. :)    

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