Looking after yourself…

Poly Means Many: there are many aspects of Polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found on Poly Means Many. This month’s topic is Looking After Yourself.

Google Calendars: my own, everyone elses, the shared calendar; Date nights; Yelp events; Catch up with friends; Events with my family; Events with my partners’ families; Birthdays; Christmas; Burlesque performances… the list could go on, and on.

The above is just a snapshot of the things I – and my poly family – have going on as months roll on. These are all great things – time together, time spent with families and memories being created. But with all this going on, it can be easy to burnout. Physically, but also emotionally.

It’s never been something I’d ever attributed a lot of attention to. But the constant sniffles and cold which never goes away, coupled with feeling so tired I didn’t want to get out of bed, or do the dishes on the few days I spent at my flat meant recently I had to look at things through a different perspective. I realised I was suffering from burnout.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t something which is exclusively felt by people in poly relationships, but it is something to be aware of when we want to share our time between multiple people – be they family, partners or friends. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know when I neglect to look after myself, it impacts on the time I spend with others. My temper shortens, I get over-emotional (nobody wants a date night where I cry all night…) or I struggle with the upkeep of my flat – my own space to recharge the batteries.

How do I combat this? It’s not easy, and I’ve not fully cracked the code yet. For the moment, it’s a case of keeping my calendar looking simpler. Prioritising the things I really want to do vs the ‘would be nice’ things, and seeing where my energy lies on any given day. It’s important to me that I can be the best version of myself – not only for my partners, family and friends, but also for my own mental health.

How do I look after myself?
– “Me” dates. This might sound counter-productive as this is an additional “event” being scheduled, it gives me some good time just to watch the world go by. Sometimes it’s a wander through the city alone, other times it’s sitting with a bottle of wine and a good book – enjoying the sunshine (whenever we have any). The important thing is that it’s a few hours by myself not doing chores or dealing with mundane life – it’s a time to treat myself.
– Talking to my partners. Honesty is so important in poly as we all already know, but when I’m feeling over-whelmed, talking it through always helps. I’m lucky that if I need to change plans, my partners know there’s good reason and are really supportive of that.

I’m not 100% there, I still manage to over-commit myself at times but this whole life thing is a big learning curve…

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