WHY We're TIRED.
It's been 6 months since I've written a blog post.
There. I said it. It's done. And now we can move on to the stuff that really matters.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who struggles with consistency. Oh sure, when I start something, I'm all in. Writing is therapeutic for me and sometimes I couldn't sleep because my mind was so lively with ideas and prose. The thrill of it all kept me going. My family would hear my fingers tapping merrily away and I'd be smiling the entire time.
I scheduled one client too many one week, and the next, and the next.
I planned too many 30- step, from scratch meals instead of throwing something into the instant pot or turning to old faithful, i.e. Trader Joe's mandarin chicken, jasmine rice, stir fry veggies, and chow mein.
I let Bean swindle me into just one more after-school trip to Target, while smiling and conveniently adding " And you can get your iced coffee too, mama." #sheknowsme
Or maybe it's the presence of a global pandemic that has us running ourselves ragged, attempting to function normally under ridiculously abnormal circumstances. Trying desperately to maintain the same expectations of ourselves and others as if having our entire lives turned upside down is no big deal and all we really need to do is adjust to our new normal and we'll be fine.
The truth is, most days, I wake up with the absolute best intentions. Today I will:
Wake up at 5am for quiet/ alone/ devotional time.
Make a nice breakfast and get Bean to school early.
Get a nice workout at the park after morning drop off.
Tidy up the house once I get back home.
Shower and get dressed. Put concealer on.
Virtual counseling sessions with clients.
Check/ respond to emails.
Drink enough water.
Work on blog post.
Place online grocery order.
Check on family and friends.
Prep dinner/ put something in CrockPot or InstantPot.
Follow up with health insurance company about claims they refuse to pay.
Make dental appointment for Bean.
Read a few pages of a book.
Create job description for assistant I desperately need to hire.
Pick up Bean from school. Give her a snack.
Take Bean to the park because the weather's finally nice and she's been stuck in the house too long.
Go home. Help Bean with homework.
Plan 9th Anniversary and something for Bean's spring break, which happen to fall on the same week.
Post note on social media. Respond to comments and DMs.
Buy plane ticket to Louisiana to see family.
Dinner/ family time.
Be happy and excited about everyone's stuff and everyone's days.
Bean's bath, story, bedtime.
Finish ALL THE THINGS I didn't get done during the day.
Night time routine to calm down. Add essential oils and water to diffuser.
Watch Grace and Frankie.
Try to sleep.
Anybody else look at this list and laugh? I do, not only because I'm sure there are about 30 things I forgot to include ( like paying bills, shuffling Bean to and from all of her extracurricular activities, and finding outfits for the next ridiculous spirit week/ wacky day/ superhero day at school), but also because it's ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. And no matter how hard I try ( read: run myself into the ground!), only a fraction of these things actually get done everyday. But just because they don't get done, doesn't mean they don't torment me throughout the day with the anxiety and the guilt that I should be able to handle it all, do it all, accomplish it all.
And the truth is, no matter how self- aware we are, no matter how well- adjusted we are to the idea that self- care is essential and that setting realistic expectations for ourselves helps to combat burnout, anxiety, depression, and a host of other mood disorders, there is something inside of us that will over-schedule and over-commit ourselves until we fall apart. That something inside of us that desperately needs to prove our worth and value and our right to take up space in this world. That if we are constantly producing and being efficient and accomplishing and over-extending and showing up for everyone and picking up all the slack and filling in the gaps and being the one that everyone can count on, then and ONLY then are we worthy of the space we occupy in our homes, our jobs, and our communities. Then we are worthy of some of our own time. Then we are worthy of taking a break or a nap or even entertaining the idea of telling someone "No." #gasp
We're doing such a stellar job of holding it all together that we're afraid to admit that we're falling apart in more ways than one. As if we're the only ones struggling and everyone else has life completely figured out. We're terrified to admit that we're tired of doing, tired of trying, tired of parenting, tired of adulting, tired of pretending, tired of preparing meals, tired of merely existing. WE ARE TIRED.
So where do we start?
Where do we even begin to make our way back to ourselves? To get the rest we so desperately need? To begin to see ourselves as human beings worthy of love, consideration, and grace?
Perhaps we start with admitting. Admitting that the jig is up. That we're over-worked, overwhelmed, and over- committed. That we use our productivity as a measure of our overall worth. That we're addicted to performing, not only for others, but also for ourselves. That taking a step back and slowing down feels scary to us because it means we have to spend time with the messy parts of ourselves.
And then maybe we can move on to GRACE. Extending grace to ourselves and others. Allowing ourselves to be less than perfect. Less than "on point" all the time. Acknowledging that no amount of pressure we place on ourselves can make us superhuman or extend our capacity to produce when our minds, bodies, and souls are empty. Allowing ourselves to rest in the truth that we do not have to run ourselves into the ground to prove that we are committed to our families, our jobs, or the larger world around us. That our "best" is not what we've given once we find ourselves depleted and burnt out. But our best is what we're able to give and still maintain an acceptable standard of care and concern for ourselves.
Then and only then are we able to give from our overflow, rather than our deficit. Then and only then, are we able to show up in the world as our truest, most authentic selves.
Let's start there, sweet friends. And let's do it together.
I love y'all and I'm so glad to be back.