Baby Steps…

…Back into the World!

The timeline for recovering from a breakdown is not a finite thing. It’s different for everyone. For me it’s taken a good two years (and by a good two years I mean nearly three) to get fully back in touch with the real world.

There is a buddhist saying that new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings. In my last blog I mentioned that I had lost a contract. Whilst this was very upsetting at the time it prompted me to go out into the big wide world in search for new employment. For the first time in two (nearly three) years I found myself employed in a place that was not my house. I now have to leave my safe home office and venture into the real world at least two days a week and surprisingly enough, I’m loving it!

-New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.-- Lao Tzu (1)

I’m actually almost enjoying the days I spend not in my sheltered little office more than the ones I do. Well not all of them…

Last Monday I arrived at my place of work and had to open up for the first time. To make a short story relatively shorter security alarms AND panic alarms were set off, a fundamental piece of security equipped became irrevocably lost, causing two call-outs from two separate security companies, a whole recalibration of systems and the arrival of some mildly annoyed/amused policemen. All this happened on the same day that a kind passer-by informed me that my arse had been generously displayed to the park during my walk to work. My large M&S skin-tone knicker-ed bottom. Knickers that would put Bridget Jones to shame. Needless to say that when I got back home I had a very large sherry, a big cry and was in bed and fast asleep by 8pm. But the next day I was fine again.

So that was not a great day and one that wouldn’t have happened had I been in my home office. However, I’d take one terrible day like that if it means I get all the other perfectly lovely days I’ve had working in a place where other people are. I actually like being round people now. Even the ones that I don’t know! I really never thought this would happen. I thought that I’d be cooped up in my home office for the rest of my working life. That this would be the only way I’d be able to earn a living.

Despite all this I am glad that I’m not working away from home full-time, the days that I am working from home are really good recalibration days. The down days are as important as the up days. My advice to anyone else recovering from any kind of mental health breakdown would be to take baby steps. Sometimes it takes people two months to feel ready for the world again and sometimes it takes people five years. The important thing is to take your time and do it bit by bit. I’ve taken a couple of big steps forwards only to have to take several back again. This time I took some tentative steps and now I’m pretty excited about all my work! It’s a lovely, scary, odd, fun, tiring, but most of all hopeful feeling.

It all begins with one step

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How To…

…Work From Home!

Now that I’m freelance I find myself spending a lot of time in my little home office, resisting the temptations of YouTube, day-time telly, a spot of cleaning or just going out and about round the local charity shops!

So incase any of you dear readers  are suffering from the same cheeky temptations I have put together a list of tips to help keep you on track (I’m hoping this will benefit me in a follow your own advice way).

How To Work From Home:

  1. BAN YOUTUBE (she says, whilst playing a Eurovision Song Contest Concert on said media channel – it’s got all the hits! And Graham Norton!).
  2. Set yourself specific times, I charge an hourly rate anyway so it really helps me to turn every distraction off, put an hour timer on my phone and then when that goes off I can pause and have a little break (a Euro Break).
  3. Get up and at ’em! Even though you don’t have a boss tapping their watch when you walk into the office anymore, you should probably get up at a reasonable time. If you end up waking up at 10am it’ll just make you feel bad and that’s not a good way to start the working day!
  4.  Get up and get out! No I’m not talking about your one night stand – I get up when Chris gets up (sometimes before – he’s a last minute man) and walk with him to work. Then I either jog or walk back home, which gives me really good time to think about the day ahead and the exercise puts me in a really good mood. I would thoroughly recommend a walking start to your day!
  5. Get dressed! This might seem like an obvious one but back in January I spent a lot of time working at my desk in my jammies but now I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a bad idea – it never puts me in the right headspace to work. I’m not saying put your suit on or anything, right now I’m not wearing what I would wear to a meeting but I am wearing clothes (and even a bra!) which makes me feel a lot more ready to work than my dressing gown does.

There are my five tips from working home – and I’d have written this blog a lot quicker if I didn’t have a cat on my computer the whole time…

Tips for working from home