Heads-up: this post is frank about my mental health. I’m not sure it’s triggering per se, but it is pretty discouraging, so read at your discretion.
I’m having one of those days where I’m just not getting all that much done.
I have these days a lot more than I would like to. I’m not a hyper-productive person. I mean, yeah, I keep a calendar. But my calendar mostly has things like doctor’s appointments and major deadlines. Detailed to-do lists just aren’t my thing. I’m a moderately early riser–the latest I sleep in on the weekends is 9:00–and yet I often don’t get around to actually doing anything productive until around 11:00 or noon. Not even reading a chapter in a book or catching up on the day’s headlines.This is honestly partly related to my body-focused repetitive behaviors. I tried to write this post without mentioning my BFRBs, but I just couldn’t. It’s something I’ve lately felt compelled to be more open about here on the blog, especially since I follow a few awesome ladies on social media who are open about their BFRBs. I have had skin picking and hair pulling disorder since my teenage years, but lately it’s been worse than usual, so that a lot of my time goes into mindlessly fiddling with split ends and things like that. I’m super embarrassed to admit to having these disorders, but I’ve learned that it’s almost equally painful trying to invent lies and pretend it’s not a major obstacle in my life.
The internet doesn’t help. I have no qualms against reading blogs or catching up with the news–obviously, I write a blog and think they can be super-valuable. But the internet is set up so well to encourage mindless scrolling. There’s always another IG post, another YouTube video, and the notifications on social media are set up to tempt you away from productive work like twenty times an hour. Seriously.
Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with not being super-productive for a while. I wouldn’t shame anyone else for lazing around for twenty-four hours. But myself….ouch. I’ve been super down on myself about it lately, especially over winter break when I had a lot of days with a lot of open time.
When I’m not able to get much done, I find anxiety about food is particularly high. If there’s one “trigger” for my ED thoughts, it’s feeling unproductive. Suddenly all the things I’ve learned about normal/intuitive eating, like most people need food about every two to four hours or well-rounded meals include a main dish and a couple of side dishes or even it’s okay to eat whenever you’re hungry, go totally out of the window and I get all crabby and upset with myself for things I’d consider totally normal on a busy day, like, you know, eating a snack “too soon” after lunch. I’ll think: “how can I eat a snack if all I’ve done since lunch is…(check social media, nap, do my BFRBs, etc.)?”
Today was actually an okay day. I did a few odds and ends: made hummus and experimented with a new Valentine’s day recipe (!), did a load of laundry, took a walk to deliver some mail by way of the bookstore. The owners of the little used bookstore by my house must think I’m the weirdest person. I always go in there and spend forever looking at books and then never buy anything. But I digress…
Tonight I’ll also go to swing dance and volunteer at the door. It’ll be okay.
But I feel terrible about all the time I “wasted,” that I could have spent reading a book or cleaning my room or cleaning the bathroom or cleaning the kitchen or stretching or organizing my tax returns or writing a letter to my grandpa or or or…
And I’ll be honest that I’m not 100% sure how to cope with this feeling right now. I think it would be good to be a little more organized with my schedule and a bit more “productive” on the weekends. Lord knows I’ll need to be when my students’ first major papers of the semester come in next week. But I also know from my experience recovering from an eating disorder that feeling the need to “correct” behaviors can be a dangerous path to walk down, and I want to learn to be more okay with having an hour or two of what I currently consider “wasted time.”
Sharing these thoughts with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.
Do you get down and anxious when you feel unproductive? How do you cope?
Do other people spend long periods of time at the bookstore without even intending to buy anything?