Lowering Expectations

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

This was originally a comment I left for a YouTuber struggling with her mental health at the moment, but I reworded it into a blog post because I felt it could be helpful to more people - and it's always helpful for me to remember this.

I sometimes forget that I'm happy...and find myself having to remind myself that I am happy, now. I went through a lot of bad stuff for a very long time and managed to move away from it all just over three years ago, but the healing process has been a lengthy one - plus I got diagnosed with some chronic illnesses, fibromyalgia, amongst other things, so that didn’t help.

I think I spent a long time, almost mourning...because I felt like I was never going to be healthy again. As with most things, time is what is needed most. Time spent relearning what makes me happy. I spent a long time figuring out who I was, who I wanted to be, what things I wanted to spend my time on, and not just doing things I HAD to do. It's important for me to spend time doing things that make my heart happy – if I forget to, then a feeling of sadness can just build up over time until I feel overwhelmed.

Working from home, whilst may seem a good idea, can be very stressful and put a strain on things, because I sometimes end up feeling trapped. Not because I’m inside a lot, although that can be a factor, but because I am constantly confronted with the work that I need to be getting done but don't feel like I can do...and this can lead to feeling annoyed with myself for not finding the energy or motivation to get things done. And it can all become a vicious cycle.

The biggest thing I learned was to stop being disappointed in myself if I didn't feel okay enough to get work done, or if I didn't meet the goals I was setting for myself. It's okay to reduce my expectations, at least for a while whilst I try to improve my mood or my health. When I stopped putting so much pressure on myself, I started, gradually (it can take a while) feeling more able to do things and started enjoying doing them again.

I used to feel that the pressure to constantly put content out for people who followed me was so huge that it crushed me. The more crushed I felt, the less content I created, and the worse the feeling got. But I realised that my followers, even though they enjoyed hearing from me often, cared much more about my mental and physical wellbeing, and so over time I learnt to just make an amount of videos that I felt happy with. I found a balance between doing things I loved, that make me happy, doing the work I need to do for University, and making online content.

Sometimes it means that videos won't get made for a couple of months, sometimes it means Uni work doesn't get done until a day or two before it's due, but as long as everything does get done eventually, and I'm still maintaining a healthy lifestyle, for my mind and body, then I'm okay with the potential consequences from not putting out frequent content, or being a little late with some Uni assignments. I can only do my best, and I can only do what's right for me. I accept that I can't do everything, or I can't do as much as I used to be able to, and I accept that when I feel the sadness and exhaustion start to creep back over me that I need to step back from things for a while and reassess my goals and expectations.

I feel that I’m at that point now. I can only hope that I start to feel better soon. I need to remind myself to worry less about the things I’m not doing. I need to think of the things that I crave to do instead of the things that I don't feel like doing...and do more of that for a while. At the end of the day, my health is more important than anything else in this world.

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