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Slow Motion Days

In keeping with the #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek theme of Kindness, I wanted to share my experience of certain times that I have to be extra kind to myself. Easier said than done, I hear you cry! My hope is that there will be something in here that’s helpful for you.

Some days I wake up and feel like I’m moving in slow motion, no matter how hard I try to get moving…like walking through treacle. And it’s not just my body that’s sluggish – slow motion days come with a bonus helping of…you guessed it…brain fog! I can get as frustrated as I like (and I do) with my impression of a snail, but all that does is add extra heaviness and guilty feelings for not doing more, slowing me down more, leading to more guilt…you can see where this is heading. Downward and downward we go. Not helpful.

So, what have I found is the best thing to do on Slow Motion Days? Trying to be kinder to myself. Telling myself it’s okay to take things slower today. Reminding myself that today, or the next day, will be a better day.

Well that’s all very well and good, but what if there are things I have to do? Good question. Let me answer it with another question: do these things have to be done and do they have to be done today? We often put pressure on ourselves to get things done, when sometimes if we stop and ask ourselves ‘can this wait until tomorrow?’ we find that there are some things that aren’t as urgent as we thought. 

Okay Charlotte that’s great and all, I hear you saying, but I actually do have to do those things today – what now? Here are some things to try:

  • First step: Kindness – acknowledge it’s not a good day, and that everyone has ups and downs (because we’re human!), try not to beat yourself up about it
  • Second: Break things down – with a foggy brain, things can often seem too much, we need manageable bitesize steps
  • Third: Small wins – start with something that feels more easily achievable, I often find that getting going can be the hardest part so once I’ve got that small win under my belt it feels a little easier to move on to the next small thing, and before you know it there’s a sprinkle of motivation in the air!

Sometimes, though, things really feel too much and we have to go even smaller to The Very Next Thing – thinking only of the next tiny step we need to take at a time. Some days that might even be to sit up, then next to get out of bed – as small a step as you need for it to feel manageable, or even that you want to try it. These days need extra kindness – imagine what you might say to a friend or loved one if it was them instead of you! It’s often easier for us to offer kindness to others rather than ourselves. 

Remember, you deserve kindness too. You can only do what you can do.    

By Charlotte Fry

College Wellbeing Practitioner