I've always been an ambitious, goal-oriented person. It's a strength, right? Not when left unchecked.
Sometimes, we need to reality-check our to-do lists. First things first, how are you today? I mean, really. How's your heart? How do you feel? That's where we need to start. This has been a little easier for me lately because I'm taking yoga teacher training, and part of the process involves daily yoga and meditation. I'm paying better attention to how I'm feeling--both physically and emotionally.
I used to push myself to get done every single thing I wanted to do. I pushed through pain. I pushed through exhaustion. I made myself sick, stressed, and depressed in the process. I don't do that anymore.
Part of my daily check also involves the reality variety. I have an endocrine disorder, and I'm raising autistic children. We have a few challenges--but honestly, who doesn't? Some days, I need to switch up my long list of things to do to comfort a child who is going through something. Other days, my body is in pain and exhausted or my emotions are all over the place, and what I really need to do is some serious self-care. So, maybe washing the dishes goes out the window for a little while.
The above list isn't bad for most days. I do hydrate, especially on those self-caring days. Meditate? I can often check that one off--even if I only have a few minutes a day to do it. Create-- you know I'm always working on something new. But my long checklist of things I want to accomplish should always come after assessing my wellness for the day.
Our lives aren't about meeting goals or measuring up (yes, even yours, Capricorns like me).
They're about taking good care of ourselves, of our families, of our relationships. Our lives are about being present in the moment--not ignoring the moment because we're trying to get to the next.
For example, I had a night where I got very little sleep despite my best efforts. I woke up exhausted, physically sore from the restless night, and discouraged because I had so much I wanted to get done and no energy to do any of it. I started with the basics. I got my kids off to school, took my dog outside, and stopped by a friend's house to feed her cats for her. I couldn't skip any of that. Then, I came home and skipped coffee in favor of a cup of tea. While it was brewing, I quickly scrambled some eggs and made toast. I prioritized the absolutely essential work tasks and pushed everything else off to later in the afternoon or the next day. (Let me just say this-- I know not everyone has the luxury of rearranging their schedule like this. Do what YOU can.) Then, I adjusted my list to add a new item:
Take a nap.
I've been under the weather, and I'm not going to get better by pushing myself. I'm going to stay hydrated, eat something that supports my health, and take a long nap so that I can prioritize my other responsibilities. I can't take care of my children or dog if I don't take care of myself.
Do I want to shop one I've written and finish another? You bet!
Do I want to finish any one of the three outstanding manuscripts I've written over 100 pages on? Yes, definitely.
Do I want to get ahead on my work rather than feeling like I'm constantly playing catch up? Of course!
But today, I adjust my best to how I'm feeling TODAY. I add TAKING CARE OF MYSELF to the top of my list. I shift everything else beneath it. Work will get done in good time. The dishes will be washed and put away. Life will go on. But first, there will be a nap.
How can you take better care of yourself today?