Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Luxury of Feeling Unmotivated Part 2

Last month I blogged about not having the ‘Luxury of Feeling Unmotivated’ anymore. It can be a struggle as an adult when you can no longer spend the day feeling totally mopey. You have responsibilities. You have a job.  

And sure, there are benefits and drawbacks of having to go to work rather than pulling the duvet covers back up.

For one thing, I thrive on keeping busy. Without responsibilities, a to-do list, motivation to get me out of bed and off my bum I crumble. That’s what happened to me last Christmas.

But some days I feel like I’m about to burn out. (Sometimes I do burn out, and my stress makes me sick – physically I mean, not just my mental health). Some days I wish I could abandon my responsibilities and stay in bed, roll over and binge watch Netflix until I get lost in so much narrative I forget why I feel so crap. And sometimes I want to take the day off just so I can remember how to feel things.

But which is best? Staying under the covers or having to leave the house?

Both have their merits.

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

If you leave your bed and duvet behind you still have to deal with the emotions. Forcing yourself to work when your depression is sneaking up behind you and tapping you on the shoulder every few minutes isn’t easy. You can’t concentrate on what you’re being paid to do. You feel like a waste of space, and a waste of your pay cheque.

As much as you might want to use work as a distraction, it only occasionally is successful. And even then, only until 5pm.

But staying in bed doesn’t always address the issues either. You can catch up on sleep. Maybe watch some TV. But you feel lazy, like a waste of space for not being able to leave and go to work.

Sometimes I feel grateful that I can't stay in bed. Having to get up and leave the house defeats one of my worst depressive habits - isolating myself and withdrawing into my bedroom. If I had a choice I'd choose staying in my bedroom for days at a time, leaving only to make food, possibly buy food if really necessary,  and maybe, at a stretch, putting on a load of laundry. 

And I'm trying not to spend as much time alone after work either. I’m consciously making more of an effort to be social and see the people in my life more often. Getting out of the house during the summer feels easy (at least easier in the sun) the majority of the time. But I know I still need some evenings a week without social plans so I can stay calm. Whether it be to tidy my room, read a book, pack my suitcase, plan my outfits or whatever else my brain tells me is essential and will take from 6pm til bed time to complete, I do deliberately try to make the time to stay in my room as well. It's my way of trying to balance the staying under the covers and having to leave the house every morning. 

I guess neither staying in bed or going to work is a successful mental health coping tool. Otherwise I’d be able to pick the most effective, wouldn’t I?
I like both. It’s a delicate balance, but I need both in my life. I need to get up early and leave the house and spend 8 hours being productive in a world outside of myself. It’s a break from being wrapped up in my own life and it feels healthy to be doing something external.

But on weekends I like my lie ins. I like to be slightly lazier, before getting stuck into the essential things I do for myself – exercise, taking the pets for a walk (cat included), blogging, family time.
And for one or two evening in a weekday I like to relax at home too. Go to bed early with a good book to read. Organise my life (which takes about 5 mins of jotting down a to-do list for each day, but which always feels like a momentous task). Watch a film, or Netflix, or a film on Netflix.

Feeling unmotivated is always going to happen, no matter if you work or are free to spend the day in bed. The challenge is not to see either of these as the sole solution to your feelings, but to balance them as part of your every day self care routine. 

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