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Director's Column - Giving yourself permission to get better guilt-free.

I posted recently that I was thinking of writing a column and I asked what it was that people would like to hear about? A common suggestion was how us women deal with pressure and self-confidence, especially when it comes to our professional life. Feelings of inadequacy and failure, imposter syndrome, the rollercoaster of watching other’s success and trying not to compare ourselves to them, all the while trying to keep a hundred different plates spinning! I wasn’t sure what my first piece would be about, but in the end, the topic ended up finding me instead!

I managed to dodge the Covid bullet for two years but finally it has caught up with me. I’ve had a throat like razor blades, full body aches, feverish sensations, headaches, fatigue and a chest that feels like someone is sitting on it. And what did I find myself doing? Lying in bed guilt-tripping myself about all the things I should be doing. The thought process went a little something like this...

I feel guilty for being in bed.

I should be looking after the kids.

I feel bad I can’t help around the house.

I feel guilty I can’t cook the kids a proper meal.

I should be posting on social media more.

My content should be better.

Why don’t I have more followers.

I should be replying to that email.

I need more clients.

I’ve been made redundant from one of my roles, I should be applying for jobs.

It’s so exhausting trying to make something of myself.

What am I doing with my life?

My question is this! Why is it that we constantly give ourselves such a hard time? Even when we're literally knocked off our feet by Covid? And it isn’t just this time, isn’t it every time we get sick? I had flu in October, a result of a period of acute stress and still it was the same story, an endless stream of professional and parenting guilt careering through my mind making it had to fully relax and recuperate. Can we ever actually switch that voice in our head off?

Yes! But! It takes practice. And it is something I’ve been trying to get in to the habit of. When those negative thoughts start running away with themselves, to mentally say, ‘No, that’s enough now!’, and block them out. Recognising it’s time to say ‘I need a break from social media this evening’, or, when I’m lying in bed ill, to say ‘no thanks, my thoughts are just to be about getting better for now.’ With practice, it is possible to train you brain to switch off when you want it to, and ultimately you will be happier and healthier for it.

So following my own advice, I switched off that voice for a few days. I tried to allow myself to rest guilt free and pressure free, and binge watched the entire first series of Bridgerton...again. Yes those nagging thoughts of guilt tried to creep back in, but it’s easier to stop them taking over when you assert your dominance over them and take back control! Wishing everyone calm and good health.


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