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Internal Stress-Fest

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

17th September, 2018

Am sitting here writing in my 'cabinet', looking out at the lovely trees outside, very green after all the rain yesterday evening. It's Monday today, so exactly four full days before we go home. Yesterday I had this feeling of needing to plan how to get the very most out of the next few days. How to have the right breaks...? in length and quality? What activities to plan? How to take advantage of having two adults around, with a ratio of 1:1?

The questions swam around my mind, tadpole-like. Should I be using this time to have solitude back at the cabin from time to time? Just to write, or to read? Or to read and write. Ooh, that was a lovely luxury the first evening we arrived, when I slouched back with my Kindle, as Michael went to and fro to the car to sort stuff. It felt very indulgent. And then again, according to my 'blue flame' test, I would be better using this time to write. But I've also hired a bike and it seems churlish not to be getting out and about on that, for the odd 20-minute stint amongst the trees, alone. I've done that a couple of times. 

I've got that kind of panic I used to get when the six-week summer holidays were coming to a close in my teaching years. I bet any teacher can relate to it. I had this sense of needing to squeeze out of the remaining days all that I could, to enjoy them to the full, to the very last moment. It's a kind of internal stress I used to create for myself - and I can feel it again now. Trust me to turn a holiday into a vague StressFest.

So here I am, on Monday, wondering how best to use this next few days so I go back rejuvenated and ready to look after the Tinies with full energy, supercharged as it were.

I'm not sure what the answer is. I only know that if I don't think ahead just a little and 'book in' the odd half an hour here or there with Michael, to relax properly and on my own,for little spates, the time will fly and I'll look back wishing I'd used it more. And I'll think of all the spectacular and wonderful opportunities that I'd had and squandered so frivolously. I think there is a term for this... the way people feel stressed at how to use their free time. It's a German word, I'm sure. Wish I could remember it. It's a word used to define the stress we feel during leisure time.

Since the mornings are usually best, and I'm pretty worthless come evenings, perhaps I'll take these chunks in the early hours. It even crossed my mind to set the alarm for 6am, with a gentle alarm sound, and wake up slowly and happily to do some writing. I've been re-reading a book by the author of Rest (a brilliant book), who has written another little book all about his morning routines. He gets up at 5am every day and writes - has his coffee on auto from the night before and his clothes laid out at the end of the bed so that he does things on autopilot. I love stuff like that. The idea of an ordered and productive life, with optimum routines, is so appealing. Probably because it's so far from my personal reality (yesterday when I woke I actually did the reverse of said author and not only slept till 6.30 but then went back to bed at half 7, leaving me groggy and grumpy when I got up. And up against the clock to be on time for Mass. And needless to say, not a single word was written). 

So maybe I'll prioritise writing, and some little pockets of time alone in my 'cabinet.' That seems to be what feels most delicious when I do manage it. Though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to the massage I've got booked in for 12pm today...

Gracie's phrase for today: 'Mummy, I'm blowing blueberries on baby Isaac.'

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