Since going on my leave, I’ve been able to focus on ME as much as possible, and it’s been a) very weird and b) awesome.
It’s very rare to get so much time to focus on your own life and happiness, and it was difficult in the beginning. It induced guilt, of course, because I’m used to putting the needs of others before my own (as with many of us).
I know I’m very privileged to get the opportunity to work on this, so I am trying to take advantage as much as I can. I have been continuing to do the things in my initial post about my leave, and have achieved some of the goals I listed there (baking, new recipes, making phone calls).
The good thing is this inner focus seems to be working to “fill my cup”. A month ago, I was in a deep pit of despair, would break down in a sobbing mess over the simplest things, and I was worried that my heightened anxiety/panic state would lead into a deep depression, as it had in the past. Now, I am feeling more relaxed and calm regularly, and even have ever-extending moments of happiness.
Here are some things lately that have been making me happy:
- YOGA is amazing. Even if I go to class in a horrible state of mind, I come out feeling grounded and happy
- meditation does the same thing!
- I got tickets to see U2 with two awesome friends
- I signed up for a knitting class to learn how to make socks (I’ve been wanting to do this for years)
- I bought a new purse on Etsy, that was exactly what I’ve been looking for (something else I’ve been meaning to do for a long time)
- READING! I’m on my 4th book already since starting my leave
- Today, after waking up to help DH get the kids out of the house, I went back to bed and slept until 11am…11 AM!!!!!!!! It was glorious!
Another reason I know this is all helping is the fact that I am able to think about going back to the classroom without panic or anxiety. Last night, I was able to organize my notes/assignments/tests from the last couple of weeks, and I felt neutral about it. It was just a task, not something that was choking me or sending me into tears.
So, onward I go. I know I’m not fully ready to go back, but I am confident I will be able to. In fact, I think I might be in a better mental headspace now than I was in September.