On numerous occasions my boyfriend has referred to me as superwoman. While that term does not resonate with me at all, I find I tend to give off that external facade. I am like a duck swimming in a pond. All looks calm and peaceful above the water, but down below those little legs are paddling at full speed.
I am juggling a lot of things at the moment. I am still working full time, and in my evenings and weekends I dedicate my spare time to building my coaching business, seeing clients, writing this beautiful blog and also completing my studies, not to mention having a life. While it is challenging, I would not have it any other way. I enjoy being stimulated by so many different facets of my life. I thrive on getting things done. I love the satisfaction of achieving goals, and creating beautiful results.
For someone like me, being sick is one of the most frustrating experiences imaginable. But I believe that sometimes the body creates illness so that you can be forced to stop and rest. A few days ago I was struck down with a crippling migraine that saw me bed ridden for 2 days and so nauseous that I could not eat. The only thing I could do was rest. I slept for around 16 hours in a 24 hour period.
Funnily enough, once I recovered I found myself with a new fresh perspective on life. While there was still a part of my mind that was anxiously fretting about all the things I had to do, another part of me was feeling totally and utterly chilled. I actually felt surprisingly at peace with the fact that I had just spent the past 2 days doing absolutely nothing. Deep down, I knew that rest and down time was exactly what I needed, I had simply just not given myself the permission to do it.
As a result, this got me thinking about how much I really need to lighten my load. This does not mean stopping all the things I am doing, but it does mean scheduling in a little more down time. It also means taking the pressure off myself a little and giving myself permission to take a break.
If too are feeling like you're trying to be superwoman, here are 5 steps to help you lighten the load.
5 STEPS TO LIGHTEN THE LOAD
1. SET ASIDE QUIET TIME EACH DAY
Turn off the tv, set aside your laptop, put your iphone on silent and just be in quietness. When I am over stimulated this is the best medicine. Do you ever just sit in silence in a room on your own? Since I have been living by myself I have done this a few times, and it is quite an interesting experience. I will just sit on the couch in quietness. The only noise I can hear is my clock ticking, and the birds chirping outside.
Initially my mind yells at me for a while and tries to pull me up to start doing things. Sometimes I feel strange pangs of loneliness or emptiness bubble up. But eventually what arises is a calm and beautiful sense of contentment. Contentment with what is. Nothing needs to be done. Nothing needs to be changed. It is simply an acceptance of who you are and where you are in this very moment. And it is pretty damn beautiful.
2. GET BACK TO THE SIMPLE STUFF
I think us humans over-complicate our life. We are so wrapped up in the external world - in all it's shiny things and glistening distractions. We have lost touch with the really simple things. We have forgotten that we really don't need all this stuff to make us happy.
What are the simple things that bring you joy and happiness? What are those little things that bring you peace? Is it setting aside time each evening to curl up on the couch with a really good book? Is it getting up half an hour earlier in the morning so you can go for a long beautiful walk outdoors as the sun rises? Is it scheduling in more quality time with the people that make you the happiest? What are those simple things that make you smile and warm your heart. Do more of them.
3. ONLY CHECK YOUR EMAILS/FACEBOOK/TWITTER/ (INSERT SOCIAL MEDIA TOOL HERE) TWICE A DAY
I am a chronic over-checker of emails and all things social media. I think it is because I love connection, and I love maintaining the relationships I am building through my a life of perfect days community. But really, do you need to check your twitter feed every 10 seconds? Do you need to continuously look at your facebook to see what has happened in the past minute? Will it be ok if you only check your emails twice a day?
These days with our smart phones we are so unbelievably over-connected that it is becoming ridiculous. A few weeks ago my iphone broke, and for the first few hours I was panicked as I had no idea what was happening in the world. But after a few hours, I started to feel surprisingly calm. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt free. There was something incredibly liberating about being uncontactable and about not having any obligation to check in to emails or update my facebook.
Start working on your computer/email/iphone social media addiction. Practice checking it twice a day - morning and night. I guarantee it will be an interesting self-enlightening experience.
4. FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR NEEDING A BREAK
Why do women feel guilty for taking a break? Why do we beat up on ourselves if we can't do it all? Why do we think there is something wrong with us if we don't have our shit together 100% of the time? Sometimes we are afraid that if we let go, everything will fall apart. Or if we stop and take a breather, we will fall behind. We are also afraid of the vulnerability that arises from feeling like we are not living up the strong external image that we have created.
It is ok to need a break sometimes. It is ok to not being doing it all. It is ok to lose your shit. If you need to rest, do it, and don't make yourself feel guilty about it. We all need to stop being so hard on ourselves. Forgive yourself if you feel that you are not able to perform in the way that you want. Let yourself off the hook. Take loving care of your little sweet self and respect when your body, mind or spirit needs a little downtime.
5. LEARN TO SAY NO SOMETIMES
Are you a chronic over-commiter? Are you always saying yes as you are afraid to hurt people's feelings by saying no? Love yourself enough to know when you need to say no. Recognise when you have too much on your plate and you have to give something up. Rather than saying yes to everything, prioritise which things are the most important for you and which are not.
What are you afraid will happen if you say no? Are you concerned what people will think? Or, are you such an over do-er that the thought of having spare time freaks you out? Many of us over-commit so that we can avoid that lonely feeling that arises when we spend too much time on our own. While it may be scary initially, it is important that you start to create space in your life for your self. You cannot possibly be the best for others, unless you are taking the very best care of yourself first.
A FINAL NOTE
It is very unlike me to take holidays. I always seem to have too much to do or too much on to make time to go away for a few weeks. Well, things are about to change. On Thursday I am heading off overseas for two weeks to Paris and Venice with my sister to celebrate my Dad's 60th birthday (insert excited squeel here!). This was a trip that was sprung on me, and which I initially resisted (as my mind went in to overdrive about all the reasons why I was too busy to go) but I eventually agreed to as I think it is exactly what I need.
So, my lovelies, I will do my best to stay connected with you all while I am away, but please understand that if you do not hear from me as much over the next few weeks it is because I am simply letting my hair down and enjoying the thrill of taking a much needed break
+ Do you ever feel like you are trying to be superwoman?
+ What strategies do you use to help you switch off?