My to-do list lately has been longer than my energy supply (might always be the case, actually!). Whenever this is clear to me, I know I need to either refine my list to top priorities of the day, or find some self-care time, or really a combination of both.
Yesterday I found myself feeling burned out at 8am. Not good. At first I was thinking it was a problem with being motivated; I thought that I needed a more compelling reason to do all the things I “should” be doing. Then it occurred to me that it wasn’t about motivation. I was physically in a state that wasn’t great (lack of sleep, some minor back pain preventing full ranges of movement, beginnings of a sore throat, low energy..), and this was already influencing how I went about my day, at 8am. How can I expect myself to accomplish a giant to-do list in an optimal way or do anything great when my body is functioning at a sub-par place (at the moment)? That would require willpower.
I have discovered that using willpower to accomplish things usually doesn’t end well for me. Willpower only goes so far before I end up worn down, resentment creeps in, and I’m not my best self. I think willpower is best saved for something with a true end in sight (like a race or a deadline), and not so much for taking care of a home and family.
I didn’t want to use willpower.
So, I considered other options for my day. I started with a hot bath and some yummy smelling essential oils to breathe. I can’t remember if I have ever had a hot bath in the morning before. This turned out to be exceptionally helpful, and it didn’t take very long to start feeling better. Doing something out of the “norm” can be so refreshing.
My to-do list shrunk considerably as I laid out the timing of everywhere I needed to go, and I let that be okay. I also let myself take some time to start learning a new song on the ukulele that I have been wanting to learn. Life isn’t a race; I have all the time I need. I really do.
I’m understanding more and more how taking care of me is actually a really good idea. Taking care of myself (physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially…), helps me become my best self and show up to the people I love in a way that I want to. If I’m taken care of, than I am freed up to focus on loving everyone else, and that’s how I want to be.
It’s my job to take care of me. My job.