Taking A Breather
This week has been another manic one. More visitors, more plans, more work, more everything.
I have definitely been following my own advice (check out the post to see what it was!) but this week I’ve been taking it a bit further.
Make it a mantra
I’ve had a couple of mantras over the last few days. The first has been “be flexible”, which doesn’t always come easily to me. I particularly struggle to be flexible with visitors here, mainly because planning ahead makes life a million times easier and less stressful for me, which in turns helps me out health wise. Last minute plans, going with the flow, sometimes leads to more fun, sure, but it also means that I do last minute supermarket runs and make dinner when I’m exhausted. The mantra has helped a little, and I’ve shrugged off a few petty concerns, but I know I have lots of work to do here!
The second mantra is “opt out.” Sounds pretty boring right? But again, it’s largely health driven. I have CFS and I can’t go, go, go all day, and keep up with everyone else. Want to go for a walk? Great. I’ll stop halfway with my book, and see you later. Fancy a full day out? Tell me where to meet you and I’ll join you for a few hours later.
I’ve opted out of walks, a museum visit, cooking (when I firmly but politely offered up the options of going out or getting takeaway pizza) and some family time when I knew that reading for a while and then closing my eyes was what I needed.
Doing the difficult thing
The thing is, it’s not easy to find that balance. It’s such an innocuous word, but what does ‘balance’ really look like?
I know that mine changes week to week, day to day, even minute to minute, but it’s always easier to notice when it isn’t there than when it is.
So, I’ve been doing the difficult thing and opting out when I need to. Drawing gentle boundaries. Allowing other to pitch in and tidy up after meals. I’m not able to do it all, so I’m not doing it all. It sounds so simple but it’s not so easy to put into practise.
Sometimes the difficult thing is the right thing though. Being in our comfort zone doesn’t lead to great things even though it’s easy and saying “yes” to things we’re just not up for doesn’t lead to fulfilment and balance, even though it too is the easier road.
This isn’t just about when I have a houseful of visitors though. I’d benefit from saying “no” to plenty of things that aren’t fun to me or don’t deserve my time or energy. The urge to delete that sentence is strong right now (what if I sound rude? Or ungrateful?) but no, it’s staying in. Not everything is deserving of my time, attention, energy or money!
I say this to clients all the time, and I need to hear the same advice.
Elizabeth Gilbert reminded us at Being One Forum that “no” is a complete sentence and I needed that reminder. Sometimes it seems impossible to say “no”when asked to do something and it’s not serving me.
OK, sure, it’s usually a “no thanks” and an explanation, but perhaps she’s right and I could explain less than I do. Today I had a sleep, asked people to keep the living room door closed so I’d be able to, and I didn’t explain myself. No “I know it’s silly but…” or “I’m pregnant”. I just took myself off upstairs and felt a lot better afterwards.
It feels awkward at times, but I know I’m benefiting from this approach. It’s a way of being selfish and that’s never easy but ultimately, I’m a better, happier and more relaxed wife, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law and auntie for it.
All that I’ve been learning over the last 2 years about happiness, fulfilment and finding balance in my life is being poured into my new course, A Better Balance, which is currently on its first run. If you’re wanting A Better Balance in your life, click here to be the first to know when the course will run again.