My last blog on the “do nothing” retreat struck a chord with many of you. And I am happy to report that many of you are planning a “do nothing retreat” soon. Good for you!
Busy women tend to put themselves last on their list of priorities and tend to put activities at the top. We can all become very active. There is no shortage of things to do or to put on our to do list especially if we are working full-time. Add a couple of kids, a husband and a home to the mix and you have a to do list that won’t be finished until 50 years after you die.
Unfortunately, if you spend all your time trying to accomplish that to do list and ignoring your body’s need for rest and refreshment, those 50 years will come sooner rather than later. There is no activity on your to do list that will make it ok for your family to lose you to exhaustion or a nervous breakdown.
So, let’s get back to the basics of air travel – put your oxygen mask on first when the pressure in the cabin gets out of balance. The same is true for when your life gets out of balance. Put YOUR oxygen mask on first, take time to breathe before you try to do anything else.
There is much written and lamented today about work/life balance. From how to achieve it to how to ignore it and everything in between. I read an article entitled “Work Life Balance is Bunk” and one that simply offers “Learning to Balance Work and Home Life“. Both had truth in them. Achieving perfect life work balance is a losing battle AND there are things you can do to help you win a few battles along the way.
One of the things you can do is to ask for help. You don’t have to do it all alone. Even if you don’t have a husband or children to step up and help, there are friends, family members and even neighbors who could lend a hand from time to time.
Many of us veterans of those trenches learned long ago that superwoman only exists in the pages of a comic books. And, unfortunately, we haven’t done a very good job passing that brilliant insight on to younger women just learning to navigate these treacherous waters.
Another thing you can do is be clear about why each activity is on your schedule. Is it absolutely necessary or is it there to keep someone else happy or to look good on your resume or to feed your ego? Overscheduling (my number one sin) is a choice and it may take a quiet afternoon of deep reflection to get to the root of your overscheduling.
And if guilt is one of the reasons why you can’t control your schedule, then, my darling ones, consider where those guilt thoughts are coming from and whom they are serving. My guess is that they come from what you expect from yourself or what someone else has imposed on you. Unrealistic expectations can produce lots of guilt and it serves no one.
So start small this week. Breathe deeply and often when you feel overwhelmed, approach your to do list and calendar with the precision of a surgeon and cut out the things that are getting in the way of your need for rest, and ask for help.
Try it. For one week. Be gentle with your feelings and listen to your body instead of all those voices trying to tell you how to live your one and only life. Take time4yourself.