I took a week off from blogging.
I wasn’t overwhelmed by the pressure I put on myself to post new content every week, in fact I wasn’t overwhelmed at all, by anything.
It was a preemptive measure to give myself some processing space for a larger project in my life. So, I took space from what was designated to my blog and delegated it elsewhere because I knew I needed it.
As it turned out I needed that room in order to function at a better rate. This isn’t to say this blog is too taxing or this is too much pressure but I share this because it brings me to my point of what I learned this week. It brings me to all of you who read this.
I thought of all the moms, the caregivers, the career ladies, the staying-up-til-2am-so-she-can-make-it ladies who take the bull by the horns and consider themselves last. I thought of all of you because by the time Friday rolled around, I started to feel like I failed, like I had not met my own expectation of my posts and regular online interaction. And if I feel like I failed at a passion project, I can only imagine what you think of yourself when you take space away from your kids, a client, or a friend when you really need that time to yourself. You might even feel guilty.
Then I came to the conclusion that, no, I did not fail. I don't need to feel guilty.
I succeeded in giving myself margin from an area where there would be no consequence if I drew from it the space I needed for other areas in my life to thrive. And you have not failed either, if that’s how you’re feeling now.
However, I will point out this experience helped me see a major connection between how I feel fulfilled and how I spend my time.
We talk a lot about self care as women and some of us may actually do it. Typically, though, surface work is masked as “self care”. Such things like getting your nails done or going to coffee with a friend could be masked as self care and it may or may not be - warning: don’t let yourself get caught in the trap of thinking mundane outings are self care.
These could be events that would be considered self care if, indeed, you do come away from them feeling more "lit up" about life and possibly even overjoyed.
However, If you feel like, yes, I am giving back to myself but this feels more like an obligation or a chore, then still do it if it’s something you enjoy, or frankly need to get done, but I would not tally it as true self care. If you want a deeper connection with yourself start giving yourself true self care. What do I mean by this?
True self care is when you come away from an activity or time to yourself in general and you feel more fulfilled, you feel deeply loved because you did something special for yourself. What I learned this week was a new form of self care: margin. Try giving yourself margin, give yourself a break, put yourself first so you can function more effectively later.
Your future self will thank you.
Your family will thank you.
Your co-workers will thank you.
So if you’re looking for an excuse to give yourself margin in your schedule, here it is.
Furthermore, I would recommend you actually schedule in margin for your weekly calendar.
As you’re looking at the week before you, or weekend if you’re a major planner, then begin thinking now - how will I give myself space to run a little late, to get coffee or tea in the morning, to stop and meditate before walking into the board meeting? How can I afford space so I can breathe?!
Literally everyone’s time budget is spread more thin than their actual financial budget, but I promise if you give yourself that space and that forgiveness you will find that you face your appointments or other obligations with more efficiency. And, no not just because you allocated more time to yourself and now you have to spend your time more efficiently on tasks. You will be more efficient and effective because you’ve given to yourself, you’ll feel more at peace and therefore less frantic, less at the end of your rope.
When we’re running on fumes, we frequently forget the details; we slip up, sometimes slightly, sometimes majorly, and perform poorly in general. We can be short tempered with the people we love when we don't take the adequate amount of time for ourselves. If we're not indulging a little in what we love, it's easy to feel like life is a rat's race.
But if you’re giving yourself possibly your most valued currency - your time - to your most valued asset - you - before you give it to anyone else I promise you will feel you lead a more full life, that you’re more accomplished, more secure in yourself, and you’ll feel more balanced.
So I give you permission, if you needed it, to access your natural ability to problem-solve.
Figure out when you feel most stressed during your day;
Think of something quick you could do to get your mind more focused;
Then, look at your calendar and give yourself margin:
5-10 minute window for getting to work on time or even early,
15 minute window to do a quick set of yoga poses before you get ready for your day.
20 minute window to read your favorite book before you go to sleep,
Naturally, let me know if this made a difference in your life!