Decisions, decisions...but which to make first?

December seems to have manifested into one of the busiest time of the year for so many people; visiting family, shopping in the big Asda like there is an incoming apocalypse, eating and drinking far more than you can really justify and planning for all the far-fetched resolutions that the impending new month will initiate.

 

In July do you rush around stuffing your face with meat wrapped in meat because you are preparing to go to the gym everyday in August? Do you eat out three times a week and meet a different friend everyday for a drink because it’s nearly the 25th? I know there is a reason behind Christmas but it appear many people don’t always remember that anymore, and I hold my hands up to say that I’m one of them.

 A delicious spiced cauliflower from Berber and Q, Haggerston.

A delicious spiced cauliflower from Berber and Q, Haggerston.

I went to London last week for a medical course and decided to kill a million birds with one stone and saw 6 friends in 5 days, ate out 10 times (2 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 evening meals) drank alcohol everyday and did no exercise. I got to my friends in Essex on the Wednesday night and pretty much begged her for a vegetarian meal and some time together at her flat as I was so exhausted!

Of course I was in complete control of all the decisions I had made but I wanted to maximise my time with my friends; each meal was with a different person (or myself) and I had a wonderful time. It was only coming home and seeing my bank balance that I had to take a deep breath and remember that putting my friends first had been really important that week and does not happen that often, so it was a temporary thanks to Barclaycard!

 Two of my best friends and me at my friends restaurant, Edwin's, in Borough. 

Two of my best friends and me at my friends restaurant, Edwin's, in Borough. 

Lately I have been struggling with how to fit everything in. Both work and my home life seem to have so much going on but I end up doing little of what I’m hoping to achieve. I love this website and am so proud of it but Rheum For Improvement has reluctantly gone on the back burner slightly as I have an exam coming up that will influence a potential and hugely important job.

I have two very, very special friends whose parents are both about to die after battling cancers and I want to be there for them both all the time.

Another friend is struggling with a lot in her life at the moment and I’m not around enough for her, I have to go to work to pay my rent, I want to spend some time with my husband and I really need to continue focussing on my exercise for my health.

 

I spoke to someone about it all as I was annoyed with myself, feeling that I’m doing a half-arsed attempt at everything rather than fewer things to a good standard, but she told me that I just need to take a step back and prioritise. What really are the most important of all these things? They are all important to me, but I decided to shuffle things around in order of time relevance and this has helped a lot.

 

My friends’ parents will only be here now for a short and finite time. It is awful and this time will never come back, so my two friends are at the top of the list with anything I can do to make their difficult time any easier. Next is my exam – it is on the 13th January so I only have a number of days left to study. All the other things can be shuffled, organised and with the help of a good old list, I now feel more settled in my mind that I can do everything that is expected of me and also find a little time for myself.

 

Over the last 9 months since being unwell I have become more aware of my body responding to small things. The gluttony and excess of my 5 days in London had a big impact on my pain levels and I went back to work feeling more tired and run down than I have in a long time. Yet when I think about what I need to do to get back on the straight and narrow – have a massage, go spinning, help myself with a personal trainer to help me strengthen my core to reduce my back pain – I feel that I am selfish.

 My winter exercise attire..before I get very sweaty!

My winter exercise attire..before I get very sweaty!

“I shouldn’t spend my money on myself at this time of year”, “I should just exercise by myself at home where it is free”, “I should spend time with my husband and not go to a spin class” are just a few things that I think about every day!

 

Decision fatigue is something that I talk with my colleagues about at work because when we have been on shift for six or seven hours without a break, decisions become so difficult to make. Small things seem huge and trying to execute a single plan for one patient takes double the time due to thoughts of self-doubt or uncertainty. I feel the same has been applying to my ‘to do’ life list recently and the result has been a quiet website, minimal revision and not spending enough time with the people that need my support. Decision fatigue has been proven to be greater when related to ourselves, as we enjoy making decisions about other people more, so it is less depleting <1>, but it can also still be very hard to know if what you are doing is the right thing.

 

So as much as we need to think of others this time of year and enjoy some time off work, make sure you just take a moment to think about what truly matters to both you and those around you. Time is precious and life flies by faster than we can control, so I hope you can all find a bit of balance this next week or so.

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I shall be doing a few book reviews in the coming weeks and a little review of my year 2017, with a brief look forward to what I hope the next 12 months could bring…if I get my priorities right!

 

Merry Christmas Y’all!

 

H, x

 

references

<1> Evan Polman, Kathleen D. Vohs (2016) 'Decision Fatigue, Choosing for Others, and Self-Construal' Social Psychological and Personality Science (SPPS) Volume: 7 issue: 5, page(s): 471-478