Knowing when to say ‘no’

Today I woke up from the best night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks. If you’ve ever experienced sleep problems, you’ll understand how you can enter into an endless cycle of bad sleep, which can last for weeks or even months sometimes.

It’s got me thinking again about just how important it is to look after your mental wellbeing. I focus all my time into eating healthily and going to the gym several days a week to keep in good physical shape, yet I’m terrible at remembering to focus on my mental health. When my body is desperate for a rest and a good night’s sleep, I guilt trip myself into another gym session so I hit my target number of days for the week. I’ve become so used to channeling my stress through exercise, I forget that sometimes a good rest is just what my body needs.

I recently found out that I was going to be losing my job and it was really difficult knowing I was going to have to go through the whole job hunting process again after having so many job rejections over the summer. It then came to no surprise that it took a toll on my mental health and sleep, as I was so anxious about finding work again. And with stress and a lack of sleep, of course I then ended up running myself down with a cold. After feeling ill now for just under two months, I’ve since found out from the doctors that I’ve got CMV virus, caused by a weakened immune system. So now I’m beating myself up for obsessing over staying in shape and being sociable, instead of looking after myself when I first starting to feel ill.

I’ve always gone through life choosing to saying ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’ to things, which during my school and university years was partly due to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). My dad always encouraged me to enjoy travelling, festivals and experiences, even if it meant being in my overdraft for all of university. While I’m now grateful to be out my overdraft, I’m pleased that I filled my university and graduate years with so many wonderful experiences, rather than worrying about saving money all the time.

Yet this week I’ve enjoyed saying ‘no’ to things and indulging in some guilty pleasures. I’ve had a week off the gym, binged-watched a lot of Netflix, eaten heaps of pasta, had a a fresh hair cut and colour, bookmarked a load of clothes I want to treat myself to on payday, and even booked a flight to Amsterdam for my birthday weekend. While it’s great to eat healthily and exercise regularly, sometimes indulging in a little ‘me’ time is just what the doctor ordered!

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