It's 5 a.m. and I can't sleep. I'm wired. My mind is racing. I can't even get out of bed and move to the couch because I'm so exhausted. But I also know that by laying here I won't fall back to sleep.
My mind will not slow down. I'm thinking of every possible thing I could have forgotten to deal with for a client today. I need to email the florist. I never heard back from that sponsor. I need to get that invite out. My project management brain is on and will not turn off. There are no emails in my inbox, no unhappy clients, but I still don't feel like I can turn off right now.
And that's just my work brain spinning!
I need to pay my Time Warner bill. I need to email that guy back about my website. I need to raise more money for my walk. I say out loud to myself, in my dark bedroom with the trees swaying outside my window, "This sucks." I pump some of my eucalyptus and lavender spray on my pillow, close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. I can't calm myself down.
This is the Tuesday after Labor Day. Everyone was ready to be on! Everyone was following up with whatever they slacked off on, earlier in the summer. Everyone flipped that switch from summer to fall and decided it was time to be proactive.
How do you balance life when it hits you over the head like that?
For me, it took having a sleepless night to be reminded of my past jobs where that type of lifestyle was normal. Living (and sleeping) in a constant state of stress was normal. Being anxious was what everyone else was going through. Concerned that I screwed something up was a regular feeling. I didn't sleep, I got sick and eventually couldn't maintain my well-being with that lifestyle.
Sometimes you need to relive a bad experience to remind yourself that it's not a situation that you ever want to find yourself in again. That 5 a.m. feeling is something that I never want to experience ever again. Of course there are going to be crappy nights, but for the most part there's no reason not to strive for good sleep. I've done so much to maintain my health, why stop now?
When there are times that you feel like you need to be superwoman (or man), it's important to take a step back and remember that the world is not going to fall apart if you choose to do something good for yourself -- even if it's every once in a while.
I know what I need for my body and sometimes I need to remind myself exactly what that means. Leaving work at a normal hour so that I can walk to yoga is important for my body. It's one of the only hours in my week that I take for myself -- without my phone, without any worries -- a time when I am fully focused on me. Meditating twice daily is a time commitment. But I can certainly feel the difference between doing it and not. Eating properly -- I know the difference in how I feel when I eat veggies vs. eating pasta or pizza. But I've realized that just being aware and listening to my body is crucial in how I continue on this journey and staying true to myself and my needs.
It's okay to have that extra cup of coffee. It's okay to not cram every meeting into your workday. It's okay to shorten your run on the East River. It's your decision. It's what makes the most sense for you. If it works for you, your body and your well-being then everything else will fall into place.
My client recently said to me that "choosing yourself isn't selfish," and I couldn't agree more. We're so caught up in pleasing other people that we don't focus on ourselves. We try to take on other people's issues and make them our own and in the end, we often get worn out because we can't shift people if they don't want to be shifted.
Holding on to being superwoman (man) isn't going to get any of us anywhere. We can't all be everywhere at the same time. We can't please everyone. We can't force people to change if they don't want to change. We have to let go. We have to just be.
We have to create balance in our lives. Whatever definition of balance is most relevant to our individual selves is needed to create the best version of ourselves.