How to let yourself know you got your backMar 16, 2023
Image by Annie Spratt from Pixabay
Over the last few months, my life has sped up a lot. I was out of country three times and out of state a few times. I’ve been working with my siblings to help our parents clean up and redo their house. Which factors into finances, meaning more time looking at them. Tax season is also here. I’ve had many family events to be present with for both celebrations and deep losses. Jodh (my business partner) and I facilitated our first iteration of a 6 week course. And then the usual stuff: attending to my grown children, taking care of Louie (my 14 year old lab mix), taking care of my own home and laundry, enjoying sufficient time with Larry (my person), showing up for all aspects of my work, staying on top of my Duolingo and online courses, and making sure I get plenty of nourishment and exercise.
Perhaps things will slow down... but not this week. And I've stopped thinking they will. Not as a negative, but because fullness is life, and I can't imagine it any other way.
Here's what helps me stay anchored and feeling supported, rested, and protected.
- I continue to do my morning practice at essentially the same time every morning, including when I’m out of town. My morning habit stack sets the tone and creates the space for me to slow down, tap into my soul energy, and save my creative energy for things to get creative with rather than spending it on worry or by continuously renegotiating and thinking through what I’m going to do next.
- I sit and fully enjoy my two meals a day, and I stay aware of the regularity and quality of my bowel movements - when that changes, it's an early sign that tells me I may get sick if I don't slow down and take care.
- I schedule time with friends. In the thrust of everything, yes. Otherwise life becomes a chain of to-dos and running around; a recipe for feeling unglued, alone and uninspired. Even though my out-of-country visits were playtime for me, I plan playtime at home because going away isn’t meant to be associated with getaways from life but a celebration of life. I get to have play to come home to (not to make up for lost work time or to zone out).
- I stop working in the evenings to do nourishing things, like take a bath, read a book, and enjoy my home. It’s tempting to keep going because I have, arguably, so much to do. When I succumb to this temptation, I burn out fast and am no good for days, maybe weeks.
Burning at both ends is bad for the immune system and for mental health, and doesn’t make for a joyful, peaceful life. When this happens, you question the meaning of everything and you're too exhausted to follow through with what you think you should do. It kicks your ass.
When you include the four anchors above, you realize that the time you have left after taking care of yourself - the morning practice, meals, friend time, evening relaxation - is time left for the next most important things. Think about this: you know how you can justify procrastination as an ally because now that you’re under the time crunch, you’re able to get hyper focused and get it done in less time? Well, this can be a form of it. Your “to-do” time is super productive because you have play, nourishment, and relationship times built in as essential.
So rather than letting all the to-do’s spill over into every minute of your day, build in your nourishment first. The stuff that needs to get done, you’ll find time for it - they call at you, and this exercise of doing it this way will challenge your priorities and strengthen your discernment. Your nervousness around it will quickly turn into gratitude.
Years ago, I complained to my doctor, I do enjoy cooking for myself, but the whole eating thing takes so much time. You have to create a shopping list, shop for the ingredients, prep the ingredients, turn them into a meal, eat, then clean up. The eating part - the best part - takes but a moment. And then you have to do it all over again two more times, everyday!
“But that’s life,” he said.
“That which nourishes. Everything else is busyness.”
I’ve had 20 years to digest this. Everyone wants to have space in their lives, own their time, learn how to enjoy themselves again, and feel peace.
Your body must be nourished for this to happen. Your body has physical boundaries that make you an individual human being, and these anchoring practices heal, soften, strengthen, provide connective boundaries, and nourish your body:
- Start the day with morning practice to set the right tone and precedent
- Sit down for nourishing meals
- Make time for friends
- End the day in peaceful activity
The important stuff will get done. You’ll make sure of it, because that’s who you are: you got everyone's back. Now let your body and Self know that you got their backs too.
P.S. - carving out this nourishment time - the 4 anchors - gets more real and accessible when you Calendar ...you're looking at reminders from your past wise, strategic, intentional, and in-love-with-you Self on what to do next. You can trust it