April 19, 2017 – 11:00 pm
Okay y’all… I am admitting some major faults today. I have the worst habit of biting off way more than I can chew.
You can relate, right? You have an ongoing to-do list of things that seems to grow overnight and you decide to take on more responsibilities. You prioritize time with people you love, so you agree to make plans with friends. Suddenly your schedule is full, your to-do list is practically screaming at you, and you decide you can juggle another project or two.
Admittedly, I can often battle through these issues with a balanced lifestyle. However, when I start to become overwhelmed, the first things to be removed from my daily life are the things vital to my sanity: yoga, clean eating, baths, quiet time, etc.
When I ignore the tools I have in place for keeping my shit together, life can go sideways and fast. This usually ends in a few ways: me hitting a wall, me having an emotional breakdown, or a loved one pointing out the delusion that I am holding everything together (when I am definitely not).
When to hit the brakes…
Yesterday, I got to experience all three outcomes. I was handed a large dose of reality when I rear ended a vehicle getting off the freeway during rush hour in Phoenix. Don’t freak out! I am totally okay and nothing has been injured accept my pride. I held it together long enough to talk to my insurance company and the very kind police officer. Then, I called my dad and freaked out, cried, panicked, and cried some more. As gently as possible, he pointed out that I have been trying to do too much without taking care of myself. He suggested that perhaps I am too mentally distracted to be driving in traffic at the moment.
I literally “hit a wall (car)”, had an emotional freak out, and was handed a reality check within twenty minutes of each other. This was a major warning: “If you don’t slow down girl, you are really going to hurt yourself or others.”
Okay Universe, I am listening.
Taking a break…
Today, I made it a priority to take things VERY slow. I am fortunate enough to be staying with my dear friend, Joe, at his adorable apartment in downtown Phoenix. I decided I would take time to wander, create, and enjoy the fresh air. These are tools I use to refuel.
My first stop was to the Japanese Friendship Garden. The serenity of the neatly trimmed landscaping and the sound of flowing water soothed my soul, which had been thirsty for an opportunity to appreciate nature. I journaled. I colored. I slowed down.
I also took the time to ride a bike around town and to a delicious pizza joint for lunch that had a terrific patio with shady trees. Have you ever heard of GRID Bike Share? I was so impressed by this service in the downtown area that allows riders to pick up a bike via a mobile app. There are stations all over the city, which makes it easy to drop your bike at one location, walk a bit, and pick another one up down the road. I loved it!
I met up with a friend and enjoyed listening to things going on in her life. I find that when my life is stressful, I sometimes really need to be around people who are not going to pry at how I am doing until I can process things. By the time I got back to Joe’s, he was home from work and we enjoyed deep conversations about topics outside of the normal “what is happening right now” and it allowed me to move outside of my current situations.
Joe also took me to a story telling event at Chatterbox, where I shared a story (on a whim) for the first time publically!
It felt great! I cannot believe how different I feel this evening compared to how I felt yesterday.
Slow the heck down: I experienced things today. I enjoyed a wide variety of nature’s fragrances, cherished each bite of the pizza I had at lunch, and laughed for several minutes as I watched some baby ducks play at the Garden. When we don’t slow down, we miss so much and take moments for granted.
Prioritize what’s actually important: I am pretty great at prioritizing at work, but I can sometimes struggle in my personal life. I think it can easily feel like failure when we acknowledge that we need to remove things from our obligations or to-do lists. I have promised myself that tomorrow morning, I will be eliminating anything that does not feel like a necessity on my to-do list and prioritize my self care.
Stop being perfect: No one is! So why do we try to act like we are or like we have everything put together? That is crap! I am trying to step away from the mindset of perfectionism in my life. I attempted a little experiment today. When I colored, I used watercolor markers and purposefully did a sloppy job (this was hard!). When I got back to the apartment, I soaked the entire page in water, allowing the colors to run a little bit. It was a reminder to me that things can still be beautiful, even when they do not go according to plan or look perfect.
Tomorrow, I will have to sort out all of the mess, such as getting the jeep repaired, adjusting my budget, checking my lists, etc. However, it was vitally important to step away today and take the time I needed or things probably would’ve gotten worse.
I hope you feel encouraged to break away from the BS idea that we have to “keep pushing forward” at the cost of our sanity. Self care needs to come first or everything else will be a challenge.
How do you slow down and take care of yourself?