For someone who talks a lot about being flexible, sometimes I am as rigid as a board. I have the things in life that have to be done…like homeschooling the kids, getting them to their extracurriculars, doing reviews for clients, and making sure the people in my family have dinner. However, I constantly put extra stress and tasks onto my plate. I feel that things always have to be a certain way because I don’t want to disappoint people.
For example, recently I came up with a new blog schedule for this blog, partly to hold myself accountable and build consistency again, but mainly because I felt I was letting my followers down. Am I? Probably not. No one has said anything. Most people who follow me at this point know that I have a lot of health issues, but I get this notion in my head and put extra pressure on myself anyways.
Why is it that we put so much extra pressure on ourselves anyways?
For me, I feel like I put extra pressure on myself to prove myself to someone. Who? I have no idea honestly. In some ways, I think it is that deep-seeded desire to make my parents proud or something. However, sometimes, I really go over the top with it and take too much onto my plate…case in point, last week. Last week, I had an epidural for the first time. It knocked me flat on my butt for a day or so. I also had extra travel as my big kids stayed with their Nana in the next state. I somehow got it into my head though that I failed for the week because I did not write everything I wanted to write for the week. I found, however, once I let go and just rested and did the other things that I needed to do that I wasn’t so stressed. It meant that when I came back into social media work this weekend that I could focus more, which means that I am more productive.
How do we learn to let go?
Letting go of these pre-conceived notions and ideals we set for ourselves is really hard. Before all the health issues started, I was volunteering for church organizations, running the town’s social media, helping businesses with social media, running the kids to activities, homeschooling, running a business, and taking care of domestic and financial needs of the house while my husband was away for work for weeks at a time. I was in so far deep that I could not see how very unhealthy this all was. Being sick like I have really forced me to evaluate all of that. Granted, it also let me see where I was being taken advantage of in some aspects, but that is another post for another time. This whole push to stay busy was making everything worse, and in some ways, I kinda feel like these health issues were my wake up call to say, “Hey, this isn’t good for you!” I wasn’t enjoying any of it either.
While I have to keep myself in check and still work at balance, I don’t desire returning to that lifestyle. In fact, while I am helping head up a co-op this year, I am making sure that everyone knows that I have health issues, and I am not doing everything myself. My partner-in-crime in all of that is right there with me on it as she is going through some scary health issues herself. Since I am doing that though, we cut back on other activities to have balance. I am becoming more vocal at home too that I need more balance and less drama and stuff heaped onto me. I am slowly returning to being a blogger and a small business owner. However, I have sat down and worked on a strategy where I would not constantly be working because I know I can’t. It also means that I have to say no when I know that I cannot mentally and physically do something. Knowing ones limits is super important. Taking on too much is not worth the mental and physical strain.
Because I have limitations still, I have come up with a mantra every time that I want to do ALL THE THINGS but can’t. I say, “You’re time will come.” It is my way of staying positive, not being jealous of someone else’s shine, but keeping myself in check too.
I find that when I am starting to put pressure on myself again, I ask myself:
- Does it need to be done now?
- Is it worth doing now?
- Is it good for me?
- Am I doing it for the right reasons?
These questions help keep me in check. To be honest, if you have trouble letting go and find that you pile too many things onto yourself, next time you think about taking on one more task, try asking yourself one of these questions.
Also, don’t be afraid to say no. I know that in theory, it can make you feel like you are letting people down when you turn down favors or volunteering. However, if you have no way to fill yourself up, you aren’t productive at it either.
So if you find yourself stuck in your head thinking that you should be doing so much more when you are already doing so much, remember you are only human. You need to take a break now and then and let go.
How do you let go when you feel like you have too much going on in your life?