I was a hot mess. My life outside looked great because that’s what I wanted the world to see. The behind the scenes, however, was a different deal.
I was trying to be perfect in every area of my life. At work, I was going above and beyond, stepping up to roles, always saying yes, helping others so that I could be seen as someone who had credibility and could be depended on. As a homeowner, it was project after project to improve the house, and it ALWAYS had to be clean, tidy, and in order (I would morph into my evil twin if it weren’t), and as a Mom, it was benchmarking myself against every other Mom I would come across. I had to be not only good but great at everything I did for my son. Yes, to the school parent. Yes, to the sleepovers (with all of the home-cooked goodies, of course). Yes, to be at every. single. game.
Oh, and then we’ll throw in the puppy that everyone had to have and swore they would take care of. You know how that goes, right?
I was stressed from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until I fell asleep each night. But it wasn’t sleep for long because I would wake up at 2 am with a thousand things to ruminate on. I was at the bottom of the pile and could feel the weight and pressure of everything I was choosing to pile on top of me.
If you’re at the point where you know that you need to learn to put yourself first, or at least a little further up the queue, then making informed choices is the best skill you can learn.
Here’s what I’d like you to keep in mind.
First, choose to make some space. It is not you vs. everyone and everything else. We often have an “all or nothing” approach when it comes to the things we do. We think of all the things that need to get done, which we are trying to remember in our head or on some enormous list that just stresses us out by looking at it. By using the language “all,” you put pressure on yourself, and it’s not realistic. This is an opportunity to choose.
Here’s what I mean. Take that list with all of the items you “need to do” on it, or empty them onto a piece of paper. Give yourself 10 minutes max to do this. Now, create three columns at the top of a piece of paper with columns A, B, and C. The “A items” are critical and have to get done, or there will be a consequence. The “B items” are important but not as important as the “A items,” and the “C items” are even less important or not important at all.
Take your list and divide it equally between all three buckets. The keyword there is equally. If you have five items in the B bucket, you can only have five items in the A and C buckets. This forces you to prioritize and to, yes, choose. Now look at each item and see if you can delegate it to someone else. Can the hubby grab takeout? Can Instacart deliver groceries, even for one week? What else can you come up with?
Here’s what else.
Now you’ve made some room in your calendar; it’s time to choose you.
My saying is, self-care isn’t selfish; its’ smart. You can’t give from an empty cup or even a full one; you have to give from your overflow. For yourself, yes, and also for the people that are watching you. Your children, your friends, your team at work. Walk the talk and show them how an empowered woman takes care of herself.
Focus on what you truly want to do that is one hundred percent for you. Again, it’s not everything, but how can you start small and make choices that re-energize you?
- Can someone take the kids for a ride or to the park, and you can nap or read?
- Can lunches get made the night before so you can get in a workout while everyone is asleep?
- How about a meditation with your door closed at lunch before you go to eat?
- How about a walking meeting outside?
- Book time on your schedule, the same as you would for any other meeting. Pick some time that is important to you, whether that is for an appointment or time with girlfriends.
- Drive to a park and sit and draw or listen to a podcast.
The amount of time you spend doing something for yourself isn’t as important as just doing it. Get in the habit of carving out that time for yourself because if you don’t, someone else will carve their time out of yours. It may even seem weird at first, or you may not know what to do with yourself. Follow your curiosity, and I promise it will become clear.
What else do you do to make time for yourself? Share below because inquiring minds want to know! Help inspire someone else to take the time they need by showing them the way.
Ready to claim more success with less sacrifice?
Become the CEO of your career and life and join The Clarity Community. Be surrounded by a community of incredible women leaders who want to be supported regularly by other like-minded women and support them in return. It is exactly what I wished I would have had in my own career! Click HERE to learn more and sign up as a founding member!