It’s okay to not show up

I have missed writing these past two weeks, but I have felt the need to step back, so I did and I’m not sorry.

You see, I needed to spring clean my home, where my husband and I raise my son who is almost four, my daughter who is almost two and look after our wonderful black lab. As you can imagine, after a winter in lockdown, there were some jobs that needed to be done that just haven’t been possible with studying, working and writing to you wonderful people and so something had to give, and this was it.

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At first I really believed that, like Dr. Strange or Bernard with his watch, that I was fully capable of making it happen, that I could do everything and we would all be happy but after the first day, it occurred to me that despite popular opinion, I am not superwoman. Even with the help of my amazing and very involved (when not recovering from surgery) husband I just couldn’t keep on top of the regular cleaning and laundry, feeding and entertaining children, walking the dog and studying while trying to do all the extra cleaning I need to do. I would start each morning with amazing intentions, work at a million miles an hour and then burn out before passing out on the sofa and certainly not doing any of the husband and wife things, let alone planning, researching and writing a blog.

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I’ve been in similar situations when I was younger, it may have been more socialising than housework but the need to do everything and be everything to everyone is the same. Before I would feel guilty about letting people down, I would tell myself how I was a bad friend, lazy, not good enough and in the end it made me quite unwell.

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I would say “yes” to anything that my friends asked, Do I fancy going out at 11pm when I’m in my pj’s already, of course, just give me half an hour. Your ex posted something on facebook on a school night and you need someone to eat ice-cream with, of course the door is open. If you are reading this thinking you can relate I have one piece of advice for you…Say “No” occassionally.

Now I have grown in more ways than one, I know that speaking to myself like that is not helpful. I am an amazing friend, and now I value myself and my time more and can say no, I am an even better friend, because when I say “yes” I have the energy and capacity to be fully present and involved. I am certainly good enough. I am not superwoman although I am a phenominal woman.

This realisation definitely makes it easier to say “no”, because I know now that it really doesn’t matter. If I decline a night out, I’m not going to lose friends over it. My friends, and indeed your friends won’t hold it against you forever. In fact they may respect you for it. When you say “no” to others, what you are really saying is “yes” to yourself. Giving your batteries time to recharge or do something that is important to you means that when you do say “yes” to others, they get the best of you, not the rest of you.

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As per usual, we did the normal days out to see lambs, picnic in the woods and had an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday, it was a lot of fun and the children loved it.

The other thing they loved was being spoilt rotten! I have lost count of the amount of chocolate eggs filling my home. I succumbed and ate a couple of their eggs – to help them of course because no 4 year old needs more than 10 eggs, even if they are spaced out over the next few weeks.

By Tuesday we all felt awful; tired, moody, uncomfortable and generally low.

So I have gone back to basics to ensure that my spawn actually have some chocolate left by the end of the weekend.

It all started with a little forgiveness. I have forgiven myself for binging on stolen chocolate (although I don’t think the children will if they notice). I have strong memories around chocolate, food and Easter. The chocolate companies have marketed chocolate as a way to love myself so strongly and convincingly that it is work to undo that programming. It is a behavior I relied on for 30 years, There are physical neurological connections driving this behavior.

Next, although I have forgiven myself, I can’t keep using this as an excuse to binge eat. Now I know better, I can do better and I am committed to doing so.

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I have gone back to listening to my hypnotic recording and remembering why I eat the way I do, how eating healthily makes me feel in my body and my mind.

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And during the rest of my day, I am remembering that I am making the wonderful choice to stay slim, to stay healthy and I love the person I have become.

When you have Complex Trauma, the road to recovery is never straight. I am an expert in nutrition and health, a hypnotherapist and weight management coach and yet still sometimes events knock me for six and I have to dust myself back off and remember why I choose every day to have a gorgeous, healthy body.

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