Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Change is Not as Good as a Rest

It's been eighteen days since we returned from our holiday in France, and every single day we've had something to do. This is why we needed a holiday. As much as we have tried to slow our life down, it just hasn't been working out. So we have to take time that is not meant for anything other than relaxing and resting. It's necessary for a healthy life. Nothing else will do.

In Paris, we visited friends, and that part was delightful, but the rest wasn't my favorite. I know many people who adore Paris, but I found it to be too much like the bits of London that I needed a break from - big, busy, and with a language barrier to boot. I can speak enough French to order food and find the public toilets, but that's about it. I felt overwhelmed and lost in Paris. Having been busy until the very last moment before we left (I even did a cat care job the morning of our departure), I had no time to make touristy types of plans, and upon arrival, I didn't have energy to figure things out. So we went a couple of places, and it was ok, but I did not fall in love with the city.

Nice, on the other hand, feels like home. London is our day to day home, and Nice is where we get away to a different kind of familiar. We slept in a lot. We stayed in a lot. We went to the beach and we ate food I didn't have to cook and we got ice cream every single night, like always. It was just what I needed. Before we went away, I was hitting an afternoon energy slump around 2 or 3pm every day, and I thought it was because I was eating poorly or maybe because I needed more or a different kind of exercise, but in reality, I was just plain tired. When we came home, I didn't get that energy slump every day. Because I was rested.

Now I find myself slipping back into the same habits that put me onto the treadmill of exhaustion, and I am trying to step back off. The past couple of days I've had that afternoon slump, and I now know that it is possible to live life without it, so I'm just not willing to put up with it. I've noticed my kids getting stressed again as well, so I am intent on figuring out a way forward that won't leave us all exhausted and in need of a holiday before we can get one.

As always, the biggest shift is in my own thought processes. What needs to be done? Who can I say no to? Just how clean does the house need to be if we invite people over? (Answers: less than I initially think, lots of people, not very clean at all.) I also have found that breaking up big tasks into much smaller pieces is helpful for me. While I prefer to do things all at once, sometimes it's just not possible. So I put a couple of things away when I go into the kitchen to make a cup of tea instead of putting away every small thing that is out of place on the counters. I rearrange and sort through a few books at a time instead of doing all the shelves in the room.

And I am relaxing about my children's education. Again. As always. It's a constant battle to do what I set out to do as opposed to what I feel pressured to do by the prying questions of others. Sometimes a question will lead me to finding a better way of teaching or providing resources, but mostly these just serve to make me anxiously question if I'm good enough. I'm not opposed to doing a little questioning and evaluating - it is my children's future that I'm attending to, after all - but to be doing this somewhat constantly serves no good purpose. In fact, it's counterproductive.

So here I am again, slowing it down. For my kids and for myself, and I suppose in some ways that may extend to J as well. Slow and steady is better than burnout. Doing what works for us is better than never being questioned. These are the things I will keep in mind.

(PS - Isn't that cat in the photo cute? Z and I met him at the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Nice. His name is Texto.)

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