In the latest instalment of her new column, Samantha Renke discusses the power of slowing down in the new year.
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I mean, giving myself pressure at the beginning of a new year is simply unrealistic, not to mention such a burden on your mental health. Besides, I’m a January baby, Capricorn Queen, so my birthday will be full of bubbles and cake not sobriety and fad diets.
But there is one thing I desperately want to tackle: the pace at which I go about my day to day.
I always feel like I’m in a rush. From the moment I wake up, I feel a looming pressure like a ticking time bomb racing inside my chest.
It doesn’t matter whether I am delivering an important keynote presentation, or simply having a mental health day curled up with my cats. Even having a shower and getting dressed seems to be done in haste.
Sometimes I even catch myself holding my breath trying to get things done as quickly as possible, as though the simple act of breathing would somehow slow me down.
I’ve always been like this, at least as far back as I can remember. I suppose there are many factors which have contributed to my speedy disposition.
As someone who battles with general anxiety on top of having Brittle Bone condition which can leave me feeling on edge, I try to risk assess every movement or situation. I also lost a parent at a young age, so this sense of urgency absolutely has to do with past traumas, which I am now incredibly privileged to be working through with a therapist.
However, I believe that the main factor is my internalised ableism which has always made me feel like my natural way of being is a burden to others.
The fact that I can’t get dressed or complete tasks as fast as my non-disabled peers has always led me to believe that it is my responsibility to catch up and behave inside the parameters of an enabled world. As though my slower pace would be a hindrance to others.
I guess this is a form of code-switching.
It has become so embedded in my day-to-day that fast and busy means better. Yet it is completely to my own detriment.
My constant haste means I feel physically and emotionally drained and I burn out quickly.
So, this year, I am going to simply take a breath, press the reset button, and slow down.
By the time this article goes to print, I will be in my new accessible bungalow with a fully bespoke kitchen. My first stop on my reset mission is to start cooking and baking more while enjoying my downtime eating my meals.
Just call me Nigella!