As the subject suggests, I’m taking a bit of time out. Spiritual maintenance is a very good way to describe why but I’ll explain with honesty in a little bit more detail why spiritual maintenance is so important for me right now.
This year so far has been pretty stressful, traumatising and exhausting for all of us – there’s no denying that! This post though, is kind of about the impact of this year on me personally. It may just resonate with you too – maybe only one part of it or maybe more than one part. Being the sensitive, empath, introverted, prone to anxiety (only in recent years) kind of gal that I am, I am feeling very depleted and quite flat/sad. But there are more elements at play here and I’ll touch on some of those within this post.
I’ve been managing to keep up with one post per week but lately it’s been a struggle. Oddly enough, the problems with my phone and getting the photos from my recent getaway off it (still ongoing) so I could complete a blog post has been the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ve been far too stressed over it and that’s not me, so it was a pretty big red flag that I need to step back and take care of myself. By the way, what came a close second to being the straw that broke the camel’s back was the young girls who went to Melbourne to party and thieve and then came back to Brisbane via Sydney and spent 8 days whilst Covid-19 positive amongst the community. This made me angry. Probably a tad TOO angry!
I mentioned above that I display some empath qualities. Have a read of this article on What is an Empath? All but one of the ’15 signs you’re an empath’ that are listed in this article are very much me. Can you guess the 1 sign that isn’t me? It explains a lot as to why I often feel as I do.
Here are some more red flags that indicated to me that I need to take a step back and up the ante on self care:
- Getting more stressed over things than I should (as mentioned above)
- Not sleeping well
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Overly emotional
- Increased anxiety
- Sad a lot
- Lacking energy, enthusiasm, motivation
- Snappy and tired (hence the choice of image for this post)
Obviously, the events of this year – drought, bushfires, floods and now Covid have taken their emotional toll on me. In saying this, I know very well that I am very, very lucky. I was not directly impacted by the first three. I am Covid free and none of my family or friends have contracted Covid-19 at the time of typing this. I hope and pray it stays that way. So, whilst I know there are people far worse off than myself, I wanted to focus within this post on the emotional toll of these things because there very much is one. In addition to the events of this year I’ve just mentioned – there are some flow-on Covid related things and some non Covid related things that have contributed to the depletion of my energy and my current state of being, some of which include the following:
- Lack of Restorative Quiet Time. After having the house to myself during the week (and complete quiet – much needed for my personality type) for many years I’ve had up to two of the family working from home at the dining room table (centre of house) 5 days per week since March. The Tennis Player’s job involves lots of phone calls and ‘Microsoft Teams Meetings’. This means that his very loud voice is on the go all day, five days a week. None of this is his fault but it’s had a huge impact on me. In a very succinct nutshell, the constant noise and drain on my energy (cos I can’t restore) gives me headaches and it’s been very difficult for me to carry on my usual routine – particularly anything that requires concentration such as writing, planning etc.
- Routine That Assisted ‘Balance’ No Longer Exists. My normal routine that kept me in balance no longer exists. As mentioned above, I’m not getting my ‘quiet restorative time’ anymore. In addition to that I no longer go 3 x weekly to reformer pilates. I couldn’t during lockdown and unfortunately the studio I attended did not survive Covid-19 and has closed up. I’m not getting enough interaction/social time which might sound strange given I have people at home all the time. That is very different though to the power of time out of the home with girlfriends or the social time I used to have 3 x weekly at pilates.
- Perimenopause/Menopause. Oh dear this process is being so brutal with me. I’m 56 and it’s still ongoing and has been since I was around 47-48 I think. I have just about every symptom listed that you could have. I recently tried HRT and did not react well to it. So the hormonal ups and downs and all the horrible menopausal symptoms have taken a toll in more ways than one.
- Mum duties. My daughter is a journalist/senior reporter who’s been working regionally in Cairns, Far North Queensland. She’s being transferred to the Gold Coast (Metropolitan news, so it’s great for her career). There’s been lots to help her with – selling her car, the purchase of a new car for her here in Brisbane. She’s secured a flat mate and a new apartment on the Gold Coast so that’s great. What I find the most frustrating (infuriating – if I’m to be honest) about all of this is that the network she works for does not fund or cover any costs of this move, so she has to pay for her own flight home and the freight of all her belongings. This is not the first time this has been the case. I shake my head in disbelief every time. Thankfully, we’ve booked her flight using our Frequent Flyer points and so that has alleviated that cost for her.
- Social Media – I’m finding it hard to keep up a presence and contribute to all aspects of it. Most particularly – I just don’t have time to participate in Facebook Groups and I carry a lot of guilt about that. Guilt that I really need to let go of. All groups I’ve joined, I joined because they were on a subject matter of great interest to me and often are groups started by people I respect and admire, but there are many, far too many, and I can’t do it all. Also – we all know the saying ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. Yes I know it well and I’ve had to keep reminding myself of it lately because I’m finding myself feeling ‘less than’ and ‘not good enough’ and ‘hopeless and a failure’ when I see all the people that seem to have it all together and they’re hitting goals, having great success, looking fantastic, have a lot of support and community and are well liked, and so on and so on. I’m also feeling and worrying too much about the fact that bloggy mates who used to like my stuff and interact with me seem to have drifted away, and the supportive blogging community I felt part of seems to be shrinking and disappearing. I know many now have ‘real’ jobs and many are probably just busy and/or overwhelmed like me! This one is a big red flag that I need to step back and take better care of myself right now cos my mind is playing silly buggers with me!
- The house needs a thorough clean – things like blinds and windows and walls and dusting in those hard to reach places. I feel like it’s all getting away from me. I also have a heaps of unused items that need to be cleaned, photographed and sold. These things hanging over me, knowing they need to be done, all add to my feeling of overwhelm.
- The daily grind – the first half of the day every day is taken up with boring domestic chores – washing up, dishwasher, washing, cleaning, kitty litter, taking rubbish/recycling out etc and there is some resentment about that. Not resentment that I have to do it. I do it because I like a clean and orderly house. The resentment is more about time investment. I don’t like so much of my days being taking up with this stuff. I have thoughts like – ‘surely there is more to life/surely there is more purpose to my life than this, etc’. So maybe I need to have a closer look at how I’m investing my time each day.
- No time for my interests – photography, crochet, painting, reading. Trying to combat the overwhelm and address all of the above leaves me little time or permission to indulge in any of these. This is why I need to take some time out ‘for spiritual maintenance’ to regain some balance so I free up time, reduce the overwhelm, and can enjoy these things again.
- … and there is more but I’ll spare you.
So that’s a very honest glimpse into a mind that isn’t coping very well which means that my mental, emotional and spiritual health needs some attention which means I need to lighten my load and expectations on myself. Can you relate to any of the things listed above?
Back to the subject of this post – ‘Taking time out for spiritual maintenance’. There’s a well known quote ‘Temporarily closed for spiritual maintenance’. This is my spin on that quote. I’m not closed. I’ve just given myself permission to take time out for spiritual maintenance whenever and however I might need to. What does spiritual maintenance mean? Well to me it is taking the time to tune into myself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically and to understand where help is needed and what I might need to do to provide that help, and generally it means to do what is required to get some balance back! Here’s some permission for you too to take some time out for some spiritual maintenance too. You’re welcome!
So, it might be that I don’t post here for a while. It might be that I post here sporadically for a while. It might be that I continue to post once per week as per usual. I really am not sure but at least you’ve been forewarned to expect the unexpected for a while.
There is that voice in my head telling me that people might think I’m weak or hopeless or a failure because of what I’ve shared in this post but I’m trying to quieten that because I know it’s rubbish. I could have just said I needed a break and left it at that but I decided to provide a little more detail because I want others who are feeling overwhelmed and/or not coping so well to not feel like a loser and alone as I often do. What’s the point of having a blog if you’re not honest in a way that might be helpful to someone else.
So there you go. See you when I see you! Take good care of yourself, and make sure you grab that permission slip above ok!
Do you know your red flags? Do you have a self care strategy in place for when those red flags appear? When was the last time you did a little spiritual maintenance?
Ciao for now,
Good post. I think COVID is having a lot of unexpected impacts on us, and the little things seem harder than the big things. Good list of red flags to keep an eye out on too.
Thanks Lydia – yes I think there are many of us that don’t quite realise the impact Covid is having on us. There are so many flow on consequences and even just the mental toll of watching the constant bad news. Take care of yourself. xo
Thanks for the thought provoking post, Min. It’s a great list to help me problem fix in my own world.
Thanks SSG – take care and stay well. xoxo
Hi Min, Take all the time and self-care you need to feel better. Blogging can wait. Thinking of you and hoping you feel well soon. #lovin’lifelinky
Thanks so much Natalie. You take care of yourself too. xo
Hi Min, I admire your decision to take some time out for some spiritual maintenance. I know you are are an intelligent, caring and passionate woman. We will miss your words of wisdom and insight. But you will return stronger, happier and rejuvenated. Take care my friend. xo Jo McF
Jo! You’ve commented on my blog! You have no idea how much that means to me, and your words are such a comfort and so lovely. Thank you! Hopefully I’ll see you again real soon. xo
I think it might be time for me to take a spiritual maintenance soon, the stresses of work and covid have really impacted me.
Hi Kerrie. You’ve got a permission slip so off you go and apply some spiritual maintenance! I think we’re all affected by Covid. It’s been traumatising and frightening and changed the world the we knew so it’s no surprise really! Take care of yourself. xo
Good morning Min, Thank you for posting this. I read it thinking, yep that’s me and that too and that too! There is a reassurance in this – knowing I am not alone and suspecting that many of us are in the same boat. But that is not to minimize what you are feeling. I think as women it is hard for us to put everything aside and focus on ourselves. You have reminded me that it is okay for me to also focus on some spiritual maintenance, in fact it’s imperative that I do so. Take good care of yourself.
Good morning Helen! Thank you. I’m so pleased to read the many points within this post resonated with you but sorry to know you’re not feeling yourself. Grab your permission slip and start focussing on some spiritual maintenance for yourself. Take care of yourself! xo
Hi Min, I say this with all sincerity and genuine kindness; if you have not already, you might want to seek professional help. I’m certainly no expert, but this may be out of your control and beyond the scope of spiritual maintenance. Your life is upended on a variety of fronts and menopause makes everything more difficult than it need be. I admire your honesty and the courage it takes to share this kind of post. And, no, you are not weak, you are brave. Please take care of yourself.
Hi Suzanne, thanks so much for your comment and for your intuitive ability to read between the lines and for actually really reading what I wrote. Yes, it is more than just needing spiritual maintenance (though I do need time for that) and so I have made a doc appt for Thursday. A big part of me wishes I never wrote this post and divulged such vulnerability but then I try and remember the reason that I did. Thank you for caring. xo
Min, exposing your vulnerability might just be the thing that leads another woman to acknowledge her own situation. You should be very proud of yourself for giving a voice to your feelings. Those who profess to ‘have it all together’ are just better at disguises. No one has it all together, all the time. Trust me, I know! Best of luck to you.
Thank you Suzanne xo
I love your Permission Granted “sign” up there. Love it. I did that recently. Took 2 weeks off work on personal leave for that exact reason. Self care. xoxo
I’m glad you did that for yourself Leanne. Self Care is so important. xo
Darling Min, I could have written just about every word of this myself, only not nearly as eloquently as you. Please know that I find you remarkably strong to be managing the way you are when your preferred life style is upside down or practically non existent right now. It is difficult to go from quiet days at home to having 2 family members back under your roof and conducting life that interrupts the quiet you enjoy. I felt the same way when PC was working at home this spring. My whole routine and quiet home were turned on end. And I no longer had the ability to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I have been thinking I need to take a sabbatical from everything, too. I no longer feel an interest or have the energy for social media, want to write blog posts just because I like to write, and only when I feel like writing. I am caring for my granddaughters age 4 and 7 months and there is little time left over for me, and my interests. This morning I was quietly grumbling about feeding the kitties (our 2 and a stray) and cleaning the litter box. Truly I feel you!!! So come back to let us know how you are doing, if only for a paragraph that will catch us up with your life. Get out your camera, crocheting and books and enjoy!! Sending you big hugs. P. S. I think I must be an empath, also. Have you done your enneagram yet? Would love to know what number you are.
Leslie, you totally get it, thank you but I’m sorry you’ve been experiencing the same. I am feeling such negative effects from the constant bad news that is 24/7 and 7 days per week. I’ve needed to try and watch less TV and expose myself far less to social media. Stillness, quiet, and nature are what help me. The empath thing is interesting isn’t it? The more I read on it, the more it’s like reading about myself, and the more it explains why I am like I am. It’s bizarre! I haven’t heard of enneagram but will look into it. Take good care of yourself. xo
This post is wonderful…. not for its news but it’s a real one where others can nod along in agreement on many matters.
I am sorry I didn’t see it last week but glad you shared on IG.
These red flags are so good (in a helpful way) for you to be moving forward.
Life with COVID sure does suck but… we need, as we are finding out, to learn how to live with it & around it.
I understand it would be very draining having no time nor peace at home. Your safe & caring place.
Glad you are seeking medical advice too. It’s all too simple to “Know & Recognise” what is going on with us but much harder to seek & act upon help.
Hoping by now some things are becoming clearer for you. Writing them out is therapy in itself. Huge congratulations to sharing & owning how things are. For now. Sending love, Denyse
Hi there Denyse, I feel so bad because I had a quick look at your Instagram and can see you’ve had some setbacks with your wound healing from recent surgery and I wasn’t aware. This is what happens when you take a break from scrolling and social media. I hope you’re doing much better now? It was hard for me to publish this post. I don’t want to be a ‘debbie downer’ as the saying goes, but it is a reality of this world we are currently living in. It is affecting so many people’s mental health – so much doom and gloom and scary stuff in our faces every single day, month after month – is it any wonder. Switching off the *noise* and turning to nature and stillness where I can is what helps me. At present I am so overwhelmed I can’t keep up with my usual schedule but it will come back eventually. Take good care of yourself Denyse and thanks for caring and for your positive & encouraging comments on this post. xo
Oh Min, I’ve been feeling a bit like this too. I find it hard to keep up with everything, I’m procrastinating more, doing nothing at times and not feeling as productive as I have in the past. it’s like a big wet blanket is over everything. I wish you well on your break and completely understand your decision and taking note of those red flags. See you back when you’re ready to join us. Take care, you’ve got this xx
Hi Deb, sorry you’re feeling it too. It’s a worry isn’t it? I think the key is to try and switch off from it as much as possible – turn the TV off, reduce social media, get out in nature, find stillness and do things that are uplifting. That’s what I’m trying to do and to be honest – nature is always what helps me the most. I really should be living more rurally – I’d be much happier in that kind of setting. One day hopefully. Take care of yourself! xo
This post applies TO ME RIGHT NOW for such a time as THIS! Thank you my heart my spirit needed this! ASAP! 🙏🏼❤❤❤
I’m so glad this post resonated with you!