I’m writing this from Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. It’s my favourite place to escape to at any time, but particularly just before a brand new year.

Nothing beats the fresh air and temperament of mother nature to give you that much needed slap of reality to get your head out of the crazy and back to creating much needed headspace and thinking band-with.

I also have the heaviest cold right now and look something akin to a two year old with a permanently runny and bright red nose, dragging a blanket wherever me and the laptop choose to settle (mainly on the couch for the time being).

Loads of folks around me had been coming down with colds and viruses but I had (smuggly, I may add) managed to dodge that bullet until now but knew it was going to catch up with me eventually.

When and why did it happen eventually?

Because despite several attempts at denial and believing I could keep going, I was trundling headlong into burnout and it was just lying in wait for my immune system to be run down enough to grab a free ticket and settle in for the ride. Taking time out to be sick is a good thing.

Every year I reflect and tell myself that I will practice more self-care, no, not like a new year’s resolution because quite frankly I don’t think they work, more like a pinky promise to myself that I’ll actually take action this time, long before the burn out is circling like a hungry vulture.

Will I ever learn?

This new year I’m taking a different tack.

I’m being kind to myself right from the bang of the starter pistol.

If I get caught up in the busy and forget to eat better, sleep more or take more breaks this time I’m going to stop beating myself up and have another go.

That is a work in progress and that is self-care right there.

We can’t all start new habits without the odd bump in the road along the way and by knowing that it’s OK, THAT is a whole big chunk of the internal dialogue that stops being a battle ground on which to beat myself up and feel permanently defeated.

This year I’m making it as easy possible to be kind to myself. There’s going to be more sleep, more breaks, more letting the mud settle to see the clear water but definitely more being OK with not getting it right every single time.

Originally published at medium.com