Monday Postcard #146 – Why Guilt-Tripping Ourselves Is no Solution
The past days have been very unusual, even strange. Usually, I get up, do my morning routine – breakfast, walk, shower – and am in front of the laptop at around 8-ish. I then go through my to do list and even though I procrastinate with some tasks, I am usually quite good at getting things done.
Recently, I am lacking my drive. When I open my laptop, I stare at it. Even though I know what I have to do, I somehow do not get it done. I cannot tell you what happened, but today was a good example: my day started really well, I had a nice walk, did some work but I could not come up with any topic for today’s postcard. I was thinking and thinking. I usually have a list of topics I would like to write about, but for days there was nothing. I looked back on the past week: Was there anything I would like to write about? Nothing… emptiness…
Probably this whole Covid-situation has all affected us in some way or the other. Do not worry, it is not another corona-rant. I guess for me it is the whole uncertainty around it: When can I travel again? When can I live my life like before? And as I have not been getting any answers, my mind has just resigned. I still get upset, when I read the news, when I see people not respecting the measures or when I hear racist comments about why it is necessary to keep our borders shut. Recently, I have tried to shield off these discussions. Like my mind, I have resigned a bit. I have resigned from discussions I cannot win. At least for now.
I also have limited my social contacts – not only because of social distancing but it has also become a way to of self-protection. I currently only meet with those who understand my situation and who share the same values. If the pandemic taught me one thing, it is that many people do not share the same values or care about relationships the way I do. Hence, I decided to invest more in those relationships which are genuine, bring me joy and are mutually beneficial.
Maybe this whole development was a sign that it is time to shut the laptop for a few days. It has been a challenge for me, I have to admit. As I am stuck in Austria, I do not feel like I should take holidays. I have written about this before, it is tough to take days off if you own your own business. I tend to take my days off during short trips or when I am in Austria. But now I have been in Austria for a while. At the beginning of the pandemic, work was my way to keep sane and distract myself from the worrying media coverage. I may have taken one or two days off, but I did not make a conscious decision where I said to myself: I’m taking a week off.
Hence, I ended up in a strange hybrid where I felt guilty for not working and at the same time guilty for not enjoying time off. Guilt – this is the important word. When you run your own business, it is very hard to take your mind off it. I sometimes feel so guilty if I do not work because I know that if I do not put effort in it, it will not succeed. Plain and simple. However, even the most extreme workaholic needs a break. And if we do not take it, we will just become slow, grumpy and not fun to be around.
I also feel guilty if I am not in the mood to socialise. I think way too much about how my counterpart will feel about me cancelling rather than thinking about myself. I think it is positive to consider other people’s feelings. But as an over-achiever, I also tend to overdo it here.
Hence, I try working on that guilt. I think I am getting there, because I realised it is not really helping me either if I have days where I am completely uncreative and not really productive. I managed to take a full weekend off (I am just realising how crazy that sounds) and indulged in a guilty pleasure: reading Prince Harry’s and Megan Markle’s book. I know, trashy and I am guilty of it. And I realised that it was much needed. It had nothing to do with the pandemic, the current travel bans or business (I tend to read a lot of literature about entrepreneurship). It was just a light book, an easy read to take my mind off everything. But it was much needed. (And, no, I am not embarrassed about reading this book.)
I have not decided as yet when my “official holiday” will start. I have started to write down weekly to-do lists where I rank all the tasks of the week according to their importance. I do this on Sunday night so that I can start fresh into the week. I have not done it yesterday – rarely happens as well and another sign for a much-needed holiday. A friend of mine recently suggested to indulge in a spa-treatment or something else which brings me joy. I think I will try that to reset.
If I am a bit more unresponsive over the next few days, it may be due to me taking a break. Maybe I really made it to a spa, I just escaped into nature, I curled up with a book, or I met for a coffee with a friend. I am not sure what exactly this break will look like, but I will keep you posted on my progress.
And if you are feeling the same: stop guilt-tripping yourself. Take a step back and do something which is good for yourself as well. Let me know what you ended up doing!