How are you processing the demands of the day

17 December 2020

We can all relate, to some extent, that after a long day’s work, all we want to do is ‘plonk’ down onto the couch with our Netflix account as our best friend. We are often so tired that we don’t communicate with our loved ones, we struggle to engage in meaningful activities, and our self-care takes a bit of a back seat. Sometimes the tiredness that we are feeling is actually a sense of lack of fulfillment. We tend to engage in activities which don’t spark joy because we don’t have the energy for anything else.

A challenge to set for yourself: Take some time out this week (only 5 minutes is needed) and write a list of practical activities that you already have at home that you can meaningfully and mindfully engage in.

Instead of mindlessly engaging in the habitual activity of the evening, check in with yourself as you get home, after you have put the kettle on for your afternoon cup of tea and have put a load of washing on. Ask yourself:

What does my emotional tank need at this moment? By listening to your emotions and body, you can learn to give your emotional tank what it needs.

Here are some feelings you may experience or recognise, with tips on how to manage them:

  • Feeling exhausted physically and emotionally – run a bath and light a candle while sipping a cup of tea, until you have built up some energy to continue with the evening demands (children, partner, household chores)
  • Feeling frustrated and angry – go for a run around the block with the dogs to release some of the pent up energy
  • Feeling disappointed in yourself – do a paragraph of journaling, focusing on self-love and self-acceptance, reminding yourself of all the things that you achieved today, the big and the small. You can also check in with a close friend or family member that supports you
  • Feeling happy and content – use that energy and emotional space to connect with your family and friends and share your positive feelings. Possibly play a game with your family after dinner
  • Feeling sad and slightly depressed – write a list of 10 things that you are grateful for today. Even the smallest things count e.g. having a warm blanket to sleep under, running water, or a warm meal. Really lean into these blessings in your life and share them with those around you.

When you engage mindlessly in activities, you may be doing so to avoid processing your feelings and thoughts that have occurred due to the demands of the day. By using activities to process your emotions and at the same time refuel, it can allow you to feel uplifted and re-energized, allowing you to tackle and appreciate the day to come.

Written by:

Megan Greeff, Occupational Therapist, Akeso Kenilworth