“How are you?” a friend asked me at a conference a couple weeks ago. I could feel an inner push and pull as to how to answer this question. I had just checked into the hotel and was crossing the threshold from frantically getting deadlines done, making lunches, breaking up my kids’ fights, and keeping my home afloat, to two days away, to take a minute, reflect and reassess.
“Truthfully,” I started, “I’m burnt out.” I immediately felt guilt bubble up inside of me, scolding me for complaining about life, when I had it so good on paper. My business was booming, my kids were healthy and doing well in school, my marriage was solid and my house was in the midst of getting much needed upgrades and renovations.
But then if you scraped just below the surface, you’d see that my work was so busy that I was neglecting myself and my kids, leaving my body feeling tired and out of sorts, and my kids edgy and vying for my attention. Although date night was keeping my marriage copacetic, Mike and I have been craving more day to day free time to play with our kids and be intimate with each other.
And then there’s our house, oh our house… every room told a story. Whether it was my dining room table, unrecognizable under the boxes of products, random fall and Christmas decor scattered throughout leftover from hosting and filming videos, or my seven-year-old daughter’s room, so messy it was begging for little critters to find it, each room was screaming “I NEED ATTENTION.”
As I continued answering my friend’s harmless question, I heard myself robotically say, “works crazy, and life is a bit off balance, but that’s a good problem, right?” a nervous giggle followed.
“Not always,” she replied.
As I sat in on inspiring panels, and delighted in a mid-afternoon nap, (which only happens when I am away at conferences), it became clear what I had to do going home.
I had to fight for balance.
Balance, less stress, less frantic, how ever you want to put it, wasn’t going to walk up to me one day and say, I’m here! No, it was up to me to fiercely fight for time and to create a life which is less busy, but more manageable and healthy.
So, how am I going to fight for what I so desperately need?
I am going to say no.
I have a lot on my plate between now and Christmas. Social gatherings and work commitments and piling on top of each other. Now, it’s one thing to properly tackle what you have committed to. It’s another thing to close the flood gates and say, “I’m at capacity.”
I am going to drop perfection.
I can tend to have this personality that is very all or nothing. As a kid and teenager it made me tip into the “I don’t care” category, leaving me failing classes and skipping school. But as an adult, it’s tipped the other way. Perfection with work, neglect with myself and home. I will leave a little on the table when it comes to work. Know that I am putting my heart into everything, but quitting the second guessing and the tinkering and just get on with it.
I will make plans.
We’ve booked a BIG vacation. I will document it all, don’t you worry. But what this has done has created a hard end date to my busy schedule. I will take time off a hit the reset button coming back.
I will stop wasting time.
I know, I was squeezing them lemon pretty hard. But guess what? I have been setting my alarm pretty early each morning and doing a pathetic workout and playing on my phone. But today was different. I went to a 6am fitness class where I was held accountable and phones were not allowed. I plan to go to these classes every weekday.
I will stick to my work hours.
Although I may have to still do some work on the weekends due to the nature of the projects I am working on, I will stop working after my kids get home from school and shift into mom-mode. Even if I am not entertaining them, (which isn’t my job), I can be a listening ear while prepping a healthy dinner, making lunches, or tidying up. Actually my kids seem happiest when I am occupied with mom tasks instead of sitting at my desk, shut away in my office.
It’s been a week now since pledging these changes to myself amidst this busy season, and I am happy to report that the “frantic” is gone. Life feels more manageable. I will never get it 100%, but who does? What matters is a calm has come over me and my family. We have slowed down. That burnt out feeling has dissipated.
I am fighting for balance.