You know how right before a trip there’s all of this hullabaloo in preparation for being gone? You do your regular work and requirements and then there are the extra little things you need to achieve so you can head out and enjoy the adventure set out before you.
The days leading up are over-filled with all the little additional needs, laundry, packing, cleaning leftovers/etc. out of the fridge, taking out the trash, a quick tidy as wrapping up loose ends.
I was very much in this space recently as we prepared for an extended vacation. I work to plan my time so that business stuff is concentrated in the week before travel and the day or two immediately before leaving I have for all the little things that come up.
I woke up the day before and it seemed I had WAY too much to accomplish. Even though I thought I had planned well and it should have been a lower-key day, my list seemed to be magically growing and I seriously wondered how I was going to accomplish all that needed to be done.
When we sat down for lunch J asked me how the day was going and if I was on track to pack that evening. All I could do was laugh. He asked what I needed to do and I began verbalizing a list. As I told him everything I knew I needed to write it down. (Somehow writing a list makes it easier to accomplish everything and it feels less ominous;)
In my list, I mentioned a ride in my roadster and ice cream with my cousin. J perked up and said, “I’m so glad you have a little self-care and Want-to in your day! That will make everything else a little more bearable.”
I had to pause. In the moment of listing everything I had to do, the joy of the one break in my day had become just another thing to do. I had lost perspective.
And truthfully, my break and joyride was the one thing I would have passed on to grab more time to accomplish my list of to-dos.
J’s comment stopped me in my tracks and gave me this little musing.
How many of us have done this? Baked a little self-care into a busy schedule and as time moves on the self-care becomes less like self-care and more like another burden to accomplish.
And sadly, self-care is the one thing, easily on the chopping block if we need to claim a little time back to keep achieving. We give up what we need most in the name of everyone/everything else.
And the more we put it off in favor of success the deeper we fell into exhaustion, depression, and burnout.
I talk about self-care being a conscious, intentional act of taking care of your own needs, emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical.
I also talk about perspective and how a little shift makes a ton of difference.
Once J helped shift my perspective back into the, “Ya, this is for me and I’m excited to enjoy the wind in my hair, great music, and the freedom of the ride!” my entire day shifted. I wrote my list so I’d be able to dive in with focus when I returned. I wrapped up the two little things I needed to finish before hopping into that pretty red car and happily embarked on my break from the grindstone.
The french fries and ice cream were delicious.
The company and conversation, perfect.
And the evening went SO much smoother when I returned. (Not to mention J knocked a couple of things off my list, or at least kept them in motion:)
Perspective and self-care. A constant lesson we can all use as a reminder.
Setting an intention and refusing to let it go.