Last week I had a dilemma. My usually perky precocious enthusiastic daughter little Miss Janey was tired, tearful and quiet.
As in no chatting. No words. No singing, not even a hum.
In between her sobs, while lying curled up in her yellow blanket next to the heater warming up her school uniform , she said she didn’t want to go to school today. She just couldn’t. Just not today. Tomorrow yes, but not today.
I deliberated on whether I should dry her tears and help her get dressed and ready for school, or to let her stay home.
I have lost count of the number of times I found myself in that same situation. Ok maybe not in a fluffy pink gown with unicorn slippers, but most definitely I’ve had hundreds of conversations with myself about not being mentally strong enough to face a day or even a week. And that was only two weeks ago to be honest! In fact yesterday afternoon I found myself curled up under my own zebra print blanket (obviously) on the couch watching Netflix and trying to hold back an anxiety attack, somewhat unsuccessfully.
Growing up, unless you were dying or bleeding out, you went to school. Whatever you didn’t want to face that day would sure as hell be there tomorrow, with even more stuff you don’t want to deal with. So you put on a brave face, pull up the big girl panties and face the test you weren’t quite prepared for or the friends you are currently on the outs with because someone said something or did something or didn’t do something. Today, in most cases I would probably still go that route. However I am starting to learn that sometimes, the situation calls for a course of action to do… well …….nothing.
Yes, the work deadline, the overflowing email inbox and growing pile of calls to return will still be there, waiting for you. (I have learnt that these things never go away, not a single email – even if you delete them, someone will send you one of those “Hey, how are you? Just following up on my request below” type emails – even when they emailed you on Friday afternoon at 4pm, and its now Monday at 9.12am) What I have learned is that a rest/ reset/ mental health day / or even a few hours of being intentionally away from the laptop and the work calls, can give you the space and time you need to tackle it later with a healthier frame of mind, to make better, more effective decisions and less mistakes and overall drama. You know those days where nothing goes right, 5 min jobs turn into 5 hour sagas, you send a very harsh, overly official sounding voice note to your son’s aftercare teacher and then accidently send an email to the wrong work group which includes your CEO. Yup, those days. I personally find I get through the backlog a lot quicker and things go a lot smoother if I step away for a while than if I tried to push through feeling frazzled ladened with anxiety, stress and brain fog.
Ava is a philomath, (a lover of learning and studying). She really does loves school, she just needed a mental day. And that is okay. A day to reset and fill her cup up so that she could face whatever she needed to the next day with renewed vigour, clear mind and a fresh perspective.
I took a cue from Ava and we snuggled on the couch, under her yellow blanket, reading (me) and doing word searches (her) and just being. And that was okay.