Looking after myself
I’ve just come back from a weekend on a farm, practising yoga, learning to give massages (and receiving them in the process), eating healthful, nourishing food and doing guided relaxation and breathing exercise. Also, not having the internet which, combined with other people telling me what to do when (i.e. three hours of yoga), forced me to get up and go to bed at sensible times.
As a testament to the awesome relaxing powers of this weekend, consider that I returned to London and responded to the fact that the Victoria line was down by going, ‘Hmm, how interesting,’ and finding a different route home, rather than, ‘OMG, $&*)! Victoria line, how am I ever going to $(£”)!& get anywhere now?!’
This weekend came at the end of, firstly, a term where I tried to do Far Too Much – indeed, I have been doing Far Too Much for nearly three years now – and, secondly, a fortnight of starting to evaluate and get back on top of stuff. Exhausted. Burnt out. Doing work that you love is exhilarating and rewarding, but it’s still work and you still deserve weekends. But at weekends, I have to do other work in order to be able to pay rent, and make a week’s worth of frugal soup for packed lunches.
Being self-employed is exhausting. Getting a Master’s is exhausting. Living in London on an unpredictable income that works out at less than £10k p.a. is exhausting. Doing a PhD is difficult, lonely, emotionally draining work, even if you don’t have to worry about where your rent’s going to come from or what you’ll live off after the first year. I only have so much time to manage. I only have so much money to budget. And I’m carrying three years of cumulative exhaustion I haven’t been able to sleep off yet. And a month ago, something snapped.
After instigating a rigorous programme of sleep, sleep and sleep, I am starting to feel human again. I’m starting to feel excited again about what food movements do and about what anthropologists do, and to see my project as an interesting thing that I want to do rather than a terrible life choice/albatross. I asked for help. Hurrah.
But it should not take a largeish (although entirely reasonable) sum of money and two days of intensive self-care to make me feel like a normal, healthy human being. I want to be able to find the energy to cook myself vegetables, exercise and do my job on a day-to-day basis. This is my project now. Bringing the yoga weekend into my everyday life.