It’s not been as easy as I thought it would be. I don’t know anybody here (yet) but am taking steps to amend that – I’ve signed up for a social group for the work from home. No friends or family (yet) have come to stay – but that will change in the next couple of weeks as we accept visitors over the coming few weekends. I have had a lot of work on recently and adjusting to my new life here is proving to have its obstacles. I sometimes feel cabin fever and occasionally feel a little too isolated. I struggle to make friends at times.
My major problem has been my workload: signs of a let up as usually happens during the summer have gone the other way. This time last year, I headed into a quiet period. I was anxious and concerned about whether moving down here would be affordable. Now I have the opposite problem – too much potential work and a concern about losing my work-life balance with my girlfriend coming home from work being my only token social life. That’s not strictly true; my other half has an older friend and a husband in a similar situation to me and we have had them around for dinner and gone for days out with them. He is a stay at home father and self-employed. They are, however, largely my partner’s friends. I can’t be in that situation again.
Of course, I have felt my mood dip. I have been so focused on work that I have not been out running for three months. A combination of weather, work overload and low mood has reduced my desire to get some exercise. My other half thinks I am teetering on the edge of another depression. I am not, but I realise the danger is there if I don;t do something about this situation for myself. She is also having a tough time at work. She suffers from bad anxiety and struggles that most of us take for granted can be debilitating for her. I need to remember to fasten my own mask and I have been guilty in not doing that too.
There has been no let up in work. I have almost become a victim of my own success, I’m getting referrals left, right and centre. This is great and something I would have given my right arm for just two years ago, but I slip into habits of my tunnel vision. I am prone to mental illness and the threat is always there. I have been so excited about making a name for myself and taking advantage of the upturn in work in anticipation of losing it, that I haven’t accounted for the time I need to wind down.
I need to start thinking of myself – taking time out for myself, to go running, to chill out with the games console, to grab a book and generally stay in bed too late. I admit it’s not been easy and the expectations we put on ourselves as men (and the expectations placed on us) plays a major part of this – to always be striving for more, to earn more and prove our worth only through our achievements. Perhaps it’s ingrained, perhaps the shaming labels drives men towards this – labels like “loser” and “slacker” are to men what “slut” is to women.
Next week – I need to change things. I am going to the first session, on my own, of this social group for the work from home. I will go running. I promise…