CLOSED

Dear Strong Woman,

This office is CLOSED.

I’ve had to get super intentional with setting boundaries lately. I’ve been dissecting some feelings around overwhelm and realize that this stems from what I allow to happen.

So I’m taking back my power.

The old story tells me I can’t achieve my goals and also be well-rested. The old story tells me there must be sacrifice.  As someone who tends to listen for what others need so as to feel valued and important by providing it, it’s automatic that the sacrifice comes in the form of self.  So when I see a blank space on my calendar I take that to mean I’m available to assist others.  Though am I really?

Case in point: writing this post in this very moment.  This writing session was something I planned to do because I saw a blank space on my calendar.  However, this blank space is coming after just completing an intense two days of training that stretched my mind, heart, and soul. Yes, I currently have the time to write, but do I have the mental capacity to create? Am I of any service to anyone right now if I’m having trouble thinking straight?

(rhetorical)

I let go of the thing I wanted to write about for you and went back into “the vault” in search of something I created in the past that might resonate.  I did this with you in mind (oh hey, old patterns), and then found this whole bit around knowing when to log off and power down. I read it and it hit me like a love note from myself to myself.  Funny how that happens!

So this whole post is actually a reminder from a former me – with a few added words from present me – encouraging you (okay, AND me) to declare a quitting time in service of creating space for yourself.   

Regardless of what isn’t finished, and regardless of what you said would get done – IT WILL BE OKAY. So far, the world hasn’t come to an end (like I always thought it would).

Givers need to set limits, because takers rarely do, and takers do this because you’ve taught them that it’s okay!

Your time and energy are sacred, friends.  Log off. Lights out. Rest up.

GRACE

Dear Strong Woman,

Hold yourself to a standard of grace, not perfection.

I have fallen a bit off of my nutrition plan the last few days. Can’t say I’ve gone overboard – as the plan I’m referring to has me eating seven times a day – but I can’t say I was trying really hard to stick to it, either. Not on purpose of course, but more so that I gave myself permission to take a step back because… I wasn’t feeling like myself.

And that’s no bueño.

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Sometimes we just need a little breathing room, and that’s okay. Perfection is just a fancy name for fear, so can we just take the pressure off already? Accept that mistakes ARE going to happen. In health, in finance, in relationships…in everything.

But let those moments be teachers, not attackers; lessons, not losses; temporary but necessary detours, never mere dead ends.

And if we’re being honest, someone who never makes mistakes usually never makes anything, right?

(Right.)

Keep going.

Keep growing.

You’ve got this.

MACHINE

Dear Strong Woman,

It’s been a while.

And you know, speaking of that…it’s also been a while since I’ve laced up the ol’ running shoes.

But I tell you what…I feel like I’ve been running nothing short of a marathon lately.

No matter how much you prepare, some things just seem to happen all at once. And despite forcing a smile as I plow through it all, despite knowing I am well-equipped to do the tasks that lay before me…

Stress got in.

(That bitch.)

It finally reached a boiling point this week, right down to the very minute of everything being due.  Timing is also a bitch, and yet never a mere coincidence.

I’ve done enough personal growth work to realize that it is moments like this where some of our biggest lessons are learned, so rather than throw my hands up (with a specific finger on each hand raised), I dug in my heels and asked myself…

What can I learn from this?

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Here’s the lightbulb:  I have trained people to think I don’t have needs, including myself.

Now, I have done hella work in this area the past two years, becoming much more aware of what keeps me sane, grounded, lit up and showing up.  But…it is still a journey.  It has ups and downs and roller coaster moments that literally make me question which way is up.  I have to make a choice everyday to continue to strive to reclaim power over my circumstances rather than claim to be a victim of them.

Life happens for me. (Not to me.)

And I can’t take my body for granted the way I have been.  I know I can push and push and push, but at what cost?  Just because I can doesn’t mean I should.

Despite what society is telling  me…

My body is a temple.

Not a machine.

(Currently repeating this out loud.)

EXCUSE vs. EXPLANATION

Dear Strong Woman,

There is a difference between an excuse and an explanation.

Have you ever come up with a plan, and then failed to stick to that plan? (Rhetorical, I know.)  The real question is – how do you react when that happens?

The disease of “being busy” has us constantly running.  We live by the rule that if it’s important to you, you’ll make time for it.  But the trap we keep falling into is trying to make everything on our list top priority.

It doesn’t work like that.

Just as a plan won’t work unless you work a plan,  a plan also won’t work if you OVERwork the planner…trying to schedule every minute of every day so you can get every THING done.

Really…is that living?

With flexibility comes longevity.  Without it comes burnout…and late night phone conversations with your mother where she is forced to decipher your cry-talk and put your pieces back together from 300 miles away.

There is no shame is being overzealous, but when it leads to being overbooked and overwhelmed…everyone has their breaking point. (Yes, even YOU, Strong Woman.)

So break IT down rather than risk breakdown.  Prioritize JOY.  Schedule things that feed your SOUL.  Schedule time for YOU.

You can do anything…

…but not everything.