I’ll be honest, this post is inspired by quite a few things. Recently, I read ‘The Year of Living Danishly’ by Helen Russell, which basically explores Danish culture and what makes them the happiest nation. One thing that seemed to contribute was having a strong work-life balance. That you don’t need to put pressure on yourself to work for hours a day to keep achieving things. Ultimately it won’t make you happy.
The other piece of writing that inspired me was this post that Hannah Gale wrote saying that some days we just need to take time out. Have a cup of tea, a long bath and take time to yourself. You don’t need to achieve everyday, even if you feel like you do.
Every word of this post resonated with me. (Seriously, go read it if you haven’t. It’s bloody good). I have always felt that I have to be achieving something. Doing something bigger and better than everyone else. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been the oldest in my class. Maybe it’s because I’m an only child and had all the pressure on me to do well because oh dear god I’m the only child my mum has to talk about. I don’t know why but I’ve always been this way.
I used to feel guilty for taking time out. For daring to watch something on Netflix. I would constantly be thinking I could do something productive in those 42 minutes but nope, it’s all ruined now. Cancel the day. In uni, it got to the stage where I would feel guilty for eating a meal when I had an assignment due in. I literally thought to myself that eating was a waste of time. Something which is vital to keep me alive. And I thought it was a waste because I didn’t do anything in those five minutes.
I have even had moments like this after my son was born. Despite the fact I had planned to take a year out after graduation before I got pregnant, I felt like I failed because I wasn’t actively doing something. I didn’t realise that I got him ready every morning, feed and change him, entertain him and teach him. Although it may not be an obvious achievement like passing a driving test or getting a promotion, it is still hard work.
We need to change the way we view success. Everyone has a different definition of it and everyone has different goals and dreams and we need to respect that.
Unless you spend all day, everyday, eating biscuits watching re-runs of Jeremy Kyle and doing nothing else then you’re doing enough. Enjoy your meals. Spend time with friends and family, because the only things that are important are happiness and health. Everything else is just a bonus.