The wise words of motherly advice that turned my life around
Sometimes, all it takes to cope with change, is a fresh perspective.
Sometimes, all it takes to cope with change, is a fresh perspective
I recently found myself feeling like a complete mess. Most of the things happening in my life were good things, great even. So why was I feeling so out of sorts?
Let’s go back to March last year. I remember my aunt bursting into tears when we got our first lockdown announcement. For a social person, it seemed like a prison sentence.
For others, myself included, it was a blessing in disguise. I loved working from home and found never having to leave the house or socialise a piece of cake.
I adjusted well to our new lifestyle well. I felt like I was thriving. Fast forward to December. I was working in the travel industry, which suffered a lot during lockdown.
Our salaries were sliced in half, along with our working hours. Luckily, I managed to find other part-time work.
Seeing as I had been working from home for most of the year, I had the bright idea of moving back to the Eastern Cape, and back in with my parents, after 10 years of living mostly on my own.
I was there all of three months before I found myself on the N1 paying tolls, and heading toward Joburg. I was moving back to start a new and exciting job.
It was shortly after I arrived, moved back into my old flat, and settled down, that it hit me.
I was feeling anxious, teary, exhausted, overwhelmed. An all-round mess.
Leaving work in the dark made me anxious, buying a block of cheese made me anxious. Simply doing the dishes seemed like an impossible task.
All the things that had happened in my life recently were good things. I had been at home, spent quality time with my family, relaxed outdoors, landed a great job, and was back in the big city.
These were things I should be grateful and happy about, so why was I feeling unhinged?
Of course, not knowing the reason made me even more distressed. After an hour-long phone call and free therapy session with my friend, I had the answer from Felipe himself.
“You’re change-fatigued, babe. Think about it. You’ve been through a lot of things lately that are pretty stressful for a normal person.”
So that is exactly what I did. I thought about it. I wrote down and analysed what had happened in my life in the past year.
Besides the pandemic, I had suffered big and stressful changes to my job. I had been isolated from friends and family.
In just three months, I had packed up my entire life (mostly by myself), moved to the Eastern Cape, lived with my parents, quit my job, moved back to Joburg, unpacked my entire life (again), started a new job, returned to an office environment, and gone back to living alone.
Throw in a few extra personal crises and you’ve got yourself a recipe for mental fatigue.
When I put the facts down on paper, I readjusted my perspective. Felipe was 100% right.
Even though I never really felt the effects of these changes at the time, subconsciously they were present, slowly but surely wearing me out.
Because I never gave them a second thought, or took the time to process anything, everything built up into a big, draining, subconscious mess.
I never took time to rest, I just kept pushing harder. I put so much pressure on myself to navigate life’s changes so smoothly, without consequence, that the consequences ended up being significant.
Once I admitted that I was change-fatigued, and that I had been through a lot of stressful events, I began to take it easier on myself, and slowly started to feel better.
When I felt overwhelmed, I said to myself “Relax, it’s just change-fatigue, it’s going to go away.”
We’re all taking change extra hard right now. It’s exhausting us so much more than usual. You don’t have to glide effortlessly through life all the time.
It’s okay to admit you’re tired of adjustments and life-changing events. It doesn’t make you weak, just human.
Now I’m following my mom’s wise advice: “Just be kind to yourself, and treat yourself the same way you would treat your best friend.”