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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Akpofure

Don't be so hard on yourself

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

Welcome back to week three of my blog!

Ok, confession time.

I had originally planned to post my blogs every Monday, but the reality is that I spend all of Sunday getting on top of my life admin (as well as eating my bodyweight in roast dinner and whatever I have decided to bake for pudding) that before I know it, it’s 10pm and I realise that I haven’t replied to those messages I said I would get to (sorry friends & family), I haven’t sorted through the large box of semi-important documents to figure out what I still need (although having not opened the box in about 6 months, I think I could live without them all), and I definitely have not carried out the tedious task of listing my worn once and never again outfits on Depop.

I then decide that I don’t want to rush putting my thoughts down on paper because it won’t flow as well, so I push writing my blog to the next day, and here we are.

I would like to say that I’ll do better, but if I’m honest, I know that when we return to “normal life”, Sundays are likely to consist of daytime brunches in the sunshine and being in the moment, so it probably won’t get done then either. Long story short, unless I am able to magic up an additional 2 hours on a Sunday to write my blog so that it’s ready to post on a Monday, being a day later than originally planned will have to do.

I saw an Instagram post a while back that read “you have as many hours in a day as Beyonce” which prompted me to think about how I spend my time. Most of my friends and family often joke about how I’ve done 10 things before they have even jumped out of bed. I always laugh because I think I could achieve more if I improved my efficiency. Between exercising; working; baking; socialising; personal development; and rewriting my 5 year plan for the 8172635th time (still set on being a lawyer… would now like to have 2 kids and 2 dogs as opposed to 3 kids and 1 dog….pushed marriage back a few years …), I often find I don’t have much time for anything else. I frequently wonder why my to do list keeps growing and the thought that one day I will have kids to look after on top of the above tasks, does leave me wondering how working parents find time to sleep.

The truth is, I don’t think I am the only one who feels this way and I am sure others reading this blog sympathise. I think we can sometimes be too hard on ourselves over very small things and I definitely feel as though I have spent most of my recent years spinning several plates at once, yet still being disheartened if one plate is not spinning as fast as the others. Maybe a small part of me enjoys being busy, but I am learning that it is important to remember to take a break also.

I used to be someone who would stress and worry if I didn’t get to the end of my to do list for the day, or I didn’t feel a sense of achievement after closing my laptop. I stopped doing so when I realised that actually (i) the stressing and worrying didn’t help me complete the task(s) any faster; (ii) I began having vivid dreams (or maybe nightmares) about that thing I should have done 3 days ago; and (iii) at the tender age of 25, I noticed a few grey hairs at the front of my head. When it dawned on me that my overthinking was achieving nothing apart from making me age before my time, I decided to stop being so hard on myself because ultimately, going at 100mph all the time just isn’t sustainable.

We often spend our lives being so caught up that we sometimes forget to just stop and take it easy. We almost feel “guilty” for taking time out when in actual fact, self-care should be prioritised in the same way as our other day to day responsibilities. For most of us, the pandemic has made us realise that spending less time commuting and having more time to play with gives us the freedom to shape how we want to run the day, as opposed to letting the day run us. By no means does taking a break mean you shouldn’t spend time actively working towards your goals, but it’s more about finding the balance between working hard and taking time to enjoy and appreciate the little things. After all, you either live to work or work to live.

I’ve found that on days where I have felt stressed, tired or overwhelmed, I have become more frustrated at myself for making mistakes which would not usually have occurred if I had just given myself a break. I guess everyone has their own strategies for making sure they achieve everything they set out to do, but I would definitely say that for me, a happy middle ground lies somewhere between remembering why I started which helps to keep me motivated, and accepting that most of the good things in life do not happen overnight and instead, require patience and consistent effort.

Do I think that you should wake up every day and strive to be the best version of yourself? Yes, of course. But do I also think that just as much importance should be placed on giving yourself credit for what you did achieve each day, as opposed to counting your shortfalls? Yes, absolutely.

To my younger self who stayed consistent but failed to give herself a break when it was needed, and to anyone else reading this who may have also faced a similar battle:

  • Spend more time praising yourself for what you have achieved and strategising how you can continue to succeed, as opposed to losing sleep over the tasks you didn’t get to. The glass should always be half full.

  • You can’t be the best version of you if you don’t put yourself first

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. You already have enough on your plates

Anyway, see you next Tuesday.

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