“When your physical environment is in chaos, it leads to a chaotic mindset.” I remember discussing this with my counsellor a few years ago as it has been haunting me these past couple of week. We’ve just moved houses and have been living among boxes as we adjust to a new neighbourhood and different routines. Towards the end of our second week in the new house, it finally broke me a bit.
I had severely underestimated the challenges of moving with a toddler while being pregnant in the Australian summer. We ended up having to make several extra trips between houses to move everything and clean up the old place. Did I mention our new house is a solid 45 minute drive away? On top of this all, my daughter was starting a new childcare and I’m under pressure at work to get my subjects ready in time for the upcoming teaching period.
Despite constant reminders to take things easy, I found myself suppressing a lot of the feelings bubbling away in order to keep moving. I felt like making an appointment with a psychologist would’ve been a good idea. But it also meant having to start the process of finding a new local GP and psychologist, which is a daunting task in itself.
I took to social media to vent a little about everything. Many of my friends who are mums reached out to share their stories and experiences in support. One of them prompted me to check my childcare subsidy settings. I found a massive error in the amount of reported working hours, which would’ve greatly impacted the amount of subsidy we would be eligible for.
Rectifying that mistake meant that we were able to utilise an extra day of childcare and not stress out so much about asking family to help out while they’re all working too. Another friend reminded me that our kids are only this age for so long and that we don’t have to be chasing our career all the time. Hearing that almost gave me permission to slow down a bit. It also reminded me to stop chasing perfection.
Just those few little mind shifts and chatting to friends when I felt my panic and anxiety building made a world of a difference. I forced myself to step away from work as much as I could this weekend and focus on the social/family events that I was looking forward to. For the first time in a while, I’m feeling slightly more recharged for the work week, settled and calm.
Peer support is such a powerful tool when professional networks aren’t readily available or if a person hasn’t got the brainspace to deal with navigating the healthcare system. Never underestimate the impact of listening to someone else and sharing your story with them. You never know whether that story will make them sigh with relief and say “I’m glad I’m not the only one going through this”.