This is a longer version of a post I wrote on Facebook. I think it deserves a more public place for me to point to and allows me to format the post a little better and have a little more of a chronology going. Don't worry, I'm not going to be creating a project around writing updates about this topic.
I think it's time to accept a fact that's been in the back of my head for the past few weeks. I haven't been sleeping properly, I've been sick more often these past three months than in the past few years before it, and I'm always feeling worn out and miserable. I thought I just had some bug that I was unable to shake, but I'm beginning to realise that there's more to it than that.
I'm hitting the wall with stress.
I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say I'm mentally over-occupied about 18 hours a day - sometimes more - and my body is simply saying that enough is enough. When I'm not doing things, I feel like I should be doing things, and when I'm doing things it feels like there's a dozen other things I should also be doing. I can't concentrate like I once did, my appetite has gone to hell and I look genuinely miserable. I've lost about 10kg (~20 lbs), and beginning to worry about my health. I'm going to have to scale back on things and give myself time to rest and relax, and I really don't think it's going to be an easy journey. I've always had trouble sitting still - physically when I was a child and mentally now as an adult.
I'm going to have a chat with my manager on Monday to see if there's any way the job can sort me out a regular meeting with a psychologist, because I'm at the point where I think I'm going to need some outside help. Who knows; I might even need a few weeks of sick leave just to sort things out; we'll see. I hope not; I have massive guilt about not having been able to perform optimally at work recently - which is part of the problem, I know, I know. I've got to accept that I can't solve everything myself, but on the home front I'm going to have to make a couple of changes as well.
I'm going to have to force myself to stop whatever I'm doing at 10pm every night and go to bed - it's impossible for me to sleep for four hours a night and maintain any form of mental or physical health. I'm going to stop going to the gym for the rest of the year to eliminate another source of physical stress. I'm going to abandon a few of the projects I've got going, or at least postpone them for a few weeks or months as I get myself in order. I'm going to reduce the amount of social media I follow. I'm going to take a step back from following the stock market. I'm turning off all of my notifications on the phone except phone calls and direct text messages. My phone automatically goes to Do Not Disturb mode at 10 PM. I'm going to quit all stimulants (caffeine and sporadic nicotine use). I'm going to stop playing most video games that I play. I'm going to stop trying to engage in pointless debate online to change the world to a better place - I need to focus on myself first of all. I'm going to unsubscribe to a couple of the podcasts I listen to. I'm going to reduce the amount of energetic, high-tempo music I listen to.
Those are the things I'm going to stop doing. Instead, I'm going to add longer walks with the dog. I just took a one-hour walk and we're both in a better place than we were before. I'm going to add more lone time in front of the TV where I allow myself to just relax and not need to multitask. I'm going to pick up my practice of Yoga again. I'm going to start meditating again. I'm going to try to be better at meeting friends for simple activities - visits to a café, a walk, a carefree movie at home or at the cinema.
Because if this continues, I'm not going to be in a good place.