When Quitting is Healthy

IMAG0197For many years, I used to set goals and then go towards them like a tank. All I could see ahead was a particular goal, shimmering in the distance like a mirage. I didn’t care what it took to achieve it, and most of the time I attained my goals.

Take my PhD. For three and a half years, I saw nothing but gaining my degree without a single correction. And I did it. But what was the cost to my health, work-life balance, and soul? I’ve got a repetitive strain injury in my right arm which flares up as soon as I overdo working on a computer. My life back then shrunk to the size of my PhD thesis. I withdrew into my bubble and led an isolated existence. I was constantly in the future, i.e. the day I finish it. Present with an unfinished PhD did not interest me. It was the destination not the journey that mattered at that time.

Somehow I thought that I had to push to achieve my goals.

With the hindsight, I realise I was terrified of quitting. Quitting was for loosers, I got a message at some point in my life.

For the last few days, I was noticing an impulse to stop participating in the challenge I joined 10 days ago. ‘But I’m thoroughly enjoying the theme. And it’s not that strenuous. I’ve done it back in April post C-section and with a one-month old baby. I can do it again.’ I told myself pushing towards the finish line.

Life has been sending me signs that I should stop it immediately. My son has a croup for the last two days and off nursery. I’ve got infected too with a sore throat and horrendous headache. My manuscript is somewhat neglected again despite getting super-useful comments from Nicky Tate, whose post I published here a few weeks ago.

Right now, quitting this challenge is what I need to do. No drama, no excuses, no guilt. It was a great opportunity, and right now is not right for me. When I started the challenge, a fellow blogger kindly reminded me about my decision to Slow Waaaaay Down over the winter. It’s so easy to swing back into old habits of overdoing, pushing, not listening to my body and life. Today, I choose to stop.

Quitting has never felt so good.

27 thoughts on “When Quitting is Healthy

  1. Good decision! We have to learn how to quit at times. Maybe you’re pausing the challenge ?
    I am glad that I have help in December to keep my blog running on a daily basis, that way I’ll be able to concentrate on writing posts, prepare Christmas, find new clients etc.
    Quitting is important!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Solveig, it’s a big one for me. I think even a few months ago I’d push, but actually, the experience of letting go and being OK with it was worth getting into this challenge. 🙂 I can’t wait for your Christmas line-up – what a great idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Do whatever you have to do to look after yourself and your family, Gulara. I wouldn’t look at it as quitting—you’re merely ‘Pressing Pause’ or ‘Postponing’ or even just ‘Changing your mind’ (as is your prerogative!)! As you can see, I can put a positive spin on anything!

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  3. I absolutely agree with you. We have a tendency to pile so much stuff on ourselves, and then feel completely worn out and stressed and everything loses it’s joy. Weed out the stuff that really isn’t that important, be kind to yourself, allow some time to just relax (relaxing is not a sin).
    I too have backed off from blogging because of work, demands at home and my new book. My blog waits for me in the wings, it will be there when I find I have less pressing issues. I hope your little one feels better.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m really learning to distinguish between what’s important and what’s urgent. I often forget and wear myself out. Glad you’ve got your priorities right. When will your new book come out? I’d love to read!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank-you!!!!! I will. I read a quote a while ago from a famous author, can’t remember who it was – he said he spent all morning writing and managed to take one word out of his manuscript, and then he spent the whole afternoon and put that same word back in. That is kind of the pace I am going at right now. Hope your little one is feeling better.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Oh, yeah, I know that one, though can’t remember the name of the author. That’s a nice stage of editing. Mine needs a couple more rounds before I get there. My little one is not too bad, a really nasty cough though. Hoping for a better night today and for a somewhat civilised time to wake up (not 5am again, please!)

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on taking care of yourself and your family! I remember when I went through my divorce. I had to find a job, take care of my two children, and I went back to school to try to complete my degree. I ended up becoming extremely sick, needed surgery, and it took me six months to recover. I didn’t finish my schooling, but I learned to take care of myself. Stress ultimately is extremely unhealthy for us in the long run especially as we age. I’m so delighted that you value YOU enough to stop the challenge. Congratulations!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much, Gwynn, I’m learning 🙂 Even a few months ago, I’d probably push and get to the finish line – exhausted and grumpy. Such a relief to stop, I must admit…
      I’m sorry to hear how hard life was for you all those years ago. All that you had to carry on your own… I think learning to take care of ourselves is perhaps one of the most important things we have to learn as women. Glad you mastered it. Sometimes, we learn this skill the hard way. I’m making baby-steps in that direction, but it already feels good. Many blessings.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Sometimes we have to slow down, and have some me time its difficult to do when you have a family but little things can make a difference. I’ve been pretty tired with my new job just recently so I’ve been having a nice bath in the evening with candles and bubbles as my reward!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Susan. It’s interesting, as soon as I stopped, I felt a whole lot better. My son is feeling better too. Yes, I’m learning that listening to those messages and not pushing serving me a whole lot better than forcing my way to the finish line. Thank you for reading and all your support! 🙂


  6. I was having a conversation to this end last night–assessing where I am, what I need and how I can tend myself first in order to better manage the needs I am responsible for or choose to take on. Sometimes we have to let go of an option we want to reach for something better. 💚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Shawna. Getting clear on what’s important and letting go of the rest have been quite a journey for me. I want to do it all and do it well. It’s a tall order with two young kids, family and everything else that can potentially be done. So I figured I need to get clear on what’s absolutely needs to be done and take it from there… Thank you for stopping by. Glad you are considering your options to reach for something better.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: No, Thanks – I Don’t Need a New Car | Lemon Shark

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