As women, it seems we often strike the martyr’s pose, don’t we? We run ourselves completely ragged to keep 100 balls in the air and make our lives appear perfect to the world.
Is it possible to tick off 100 things on our to-do list each day? Sure!
It is also possible to survive on ramen noodles.
But is it possible to thrive on them?
We are each born with different capacity levels: different amounts of energy, different sleep requirements, different social capacities… We need to respect the capacities of those around us – even if we don’t understand them. But even more importantly, we must respect our own.
I have observed people around me (and even in the blog world) who are seemingly “super-human” – they accomplish 10x what I do in any given day, and stay up working into the wee hours of every morning. – And the mystery of it all? They are happy, fulfilled, content, always smiling.
If I lived the life they led, I would quickly shrivel up and die. – And comparing yourself to people like that can be so incredibly harmful. It can make you feel less-than, lazy, or selfish.
Part of simplifying your life, is making peace with how much you are capable of doing well, and ordering your life and priorities around that capacity.
You didn’t sleep soundly – have a mountain of housework to tackle, it’s your friend’s birthday, you haven’t published a blog post, on the docket are two community meetings and a hair appointment in the afternoon. You are also planning to have a date night with your hubby in the evening. – What do you do? *NOTE: Your husband and friend are listed on your Top 5. Your housework, meetings, hair, and blog, are not *
Opt. 1: Tackle everything on your to-do list like a madwoman and arrive at your date night utterly spent with nothing left to offer your husband but frazzled hair and a glazed over expression.
Opt. 2: You take 10 minutes to prioritize your housework, and dive into the essentials – leaving the non-essentials for another day. Call your friend on the way to a meeting to chat and wish her a very happy birthday. Skip out on the other meeting, opting to read the minutes online instead (consider cutting these meetings from your schedule permanently, because they often seem to take away time and energy from your Top 5). Post a short queued blog in lieu of the one you’d hoped to write from scratch today. Reschedule your hair appointment knowing that you will be much more present, calm, and alert for your date night if you spend that hour soaking in the tub, shaving, and catching a power nap. Arrive at your date night feeling refreshed and ready to invest time in your husband.
Option 1 is what I think is expected of me by the world at large. Option 2 though, is the one that gives me peace and satisfaction when I choose it.
Remember, choosing your Top 5 over the other tasks in your life will always bring the greatest fulfillment. – And often, in order to care for your Top 5 well, you MUST care for yourself.
So, your task for today is to write down what nurtures your soul and keeps you running at top capacity. It could be getting a manicure once a week, or just sleeping a full 8 hours each night, maybe taking time out for spiritual nourishment and exercise more regularly… Whatever it is – take note. And make a point of adding it into your schedule.
Nurturing yourself, body and soul, is akin to putting fuel in your tank. It is what gives you the ability to serve others and complete your daily tasks well.
Additionally, in order to give our all everyday, we must find our personal boundaries, and operate within them. That alone will facilitate simplifying our lives.
Do you have a hard time making yourself a priority? Do you agree that by caring for yourself, you can better care for those around you?
Previously in the Simplify series:
Simplify – A Challenge
Day 1: The First Step
Day 2: Subtraction
Jenni Talks About Intentional Living
Day 3: Addition
Free! Downloadable reminder to simplify
Sheila Talks About Intentional Living