For the past few weeks I’ve been really depressed, so I’ve been trying to mull over why I feel so bad and what I can do to fix it.

To be honest, I think one of the main reasons is that I’m trying to do too much.1 ‘You can do anything but you can’t do everything’ comes to mind…

At first it felt like incremental improvements in several different areas of my life was manageable, but having gone on a couple of trips abroad and having visited friends and family in different parts of the country this year, it reminds me how refreshing it is to just keep things simple.

I love getting to a place and not having to think about five thousand things: what my diary looks like, all the house chores I have to do, what events are coming up, what cakes I need to make, what garden things need doing, what the cats need, all the appointments that need to be made and attended, the work that has to be done or assigned, what bills need paying, what needs spring cleaning or organising, what’s for dinner, what time I need to get up tomorrow. Halfway through one of these tasks there’s inevitably some kind of cat or human or internet interruption, and that always comes first. Instead the options become one of a handful of things: what are we going to do, where are we going to go, what electronics need charging, what book should I read?

I always put myself last, and then feel resentful that I’m spending my time doing things other people want me to do, or doing things so that other people get to do what they want to do. And half the time I’m doing a task that then causes a chain of other tasks that need doing. Sometimes I want to be one of those people that goes home from work and watches Netflix, not one of those people that goes home, finishes up her 10,000 step daily goal, does the washing up, is guilt-tripped by five cats for not sitting on the sofa for cuddles, replies to some work messages, goes out to a tech event, walks home, and then preps food for the next day while berating herself for not getting the online food shop done or going to the gym or finishing a blog post.

I ended up taking a few days off work recently. Originally the plan was to go to Sussex for Easter to see Joe’s family. Then the plan was extended to go and surprise my friend Hannah who lives on the other side of the country because she was feeling down about turning 30. Then I extended the plan further so I could take a day off work to make brownie, wrap presents, and catch up on sleep. I was so miserable and tired and angry.

I feel much, much better from not getting up at 5:30am for a few days and not doing a two hour (ish) commute every day. Even though I’m still doing fifteen hours of travelling across six days, it’s given me a lot more time to relax, get a couple of productive things done (like this blog post!) and stretch my legs on trains instead of being crammed into cars at exhausting times of the day. I’m already dreading going back, but we’ll see what happens. My brain requires a hell of a lot of stimulation to be happy, and I get incredibly bored doing exactly the same things all the time, so even taking a different route or going to a place I rarely visit makes me almost instantly happy at a subconscious level. It’s weird, because although part of my absolutely thrives on new places and stimuli, a bigger part of me loves familiarity and consistency

Long story short, I’m not sure what the solution is, so I’m going to try cutting back for a while. Nothing horrifies me more than the idea of doing nothing, so I’m going to try life in the slow lane for a while. The past six months have thrown a lot at me, and while I’m getting better and stronger at fighting it, I need more time to relax and do low-commitment fun stuff. Be more consciously aware of how I feel and what my body needs to eat and drink. Listen to myself more. Not put so much pressure on myself to do things that really don’t matter, like using a stock photo in a blog post or eating some chocolate. This weekend I want to have fun, I want to socialise, I want to go out, but I also want to relax and be a little bit selfish.

  1. How unlike me(!)