I have no chill. Literally, can’t relax. I don’t meditate. I get bored reading fiction. Yoga drives me nuts. When I watch TV, it’s an all-or-nothing season-binge because at least then, I feel accomplished. When I have a spare moment to let the day fall away, I choose to lace up, listen to music at full blast, and pound pavement. That’s the closest I ever get to calm.
Two things though, before you roll your eyes and think, are you bragging about how busy you are ‘cause that’s a thing now?
1. I’m not proud of this. In fact, I recently started going to therapy to explore why I’m in constant motion, why I feel my work is never done, and why I can’t seem to turn off my brain. Spoiler alert: The shrink doesn’t think I’m nutso; just multi-passionate! But that doesn’t make running around all the time sustainable. And even more worrisome, I’ve been getting increasingly less chill since having kids. Did you know postpartum perfectionism is a thing?
2. I’m far from alone. Many of the women I work with tell me they also suffer from some degree of perfectionism or unchill. They’re constantly buzzing about what’s next, what’s not getting done, and how they can further optimize their lives. We live in a world where sitting down seems wasteful, and relaxing seems luxurious.
Since I’m actively working on building a more sustainable lifestyle for myself and I know other women are too, let’s talk about lady power and why we’re so unchill for a sec.
Close your eyes...
Wait. That only works when you’re not also reading.
Keep your eyes open and visualize all of the mental “tabs” you have open right now. Yes, tabs like in a browser window.
My tabs include: a countdown clock until toddler nap time aka a meltdown, shopping lists for two different grocery stores, four upcoming birthday parties and the gifts I still need to buy, a pg&e bill, thank you notes, an oil change appointment, upcoming travel accommodations, preschool volunteer duties, kids’ dentist appointments, rain boot repair, a parking ticket payment, finding a way to sneak more vegetables into our diet, Easter preparations, trying to remember if the dog got her flea medication, and, oh sh*^! it’s meltdown o’clock...BRB.
Note that none of these tabs are “household chores” or even “work” related. There’s nothing here about meetings, performance reviews, hiring — though, yes, of course I have those open in a separate browser. This, m’ladies, is my list of EXTRA STUFF that I’m carrying around in the background, while my husband (god bless him) is blissfully under the impression that we’re having a weekend. I know you have a list like this too — a list your significant other just can’t comprehend.
These days, we talk about men and women being equal and splitting the bills and the housework (for the record, my husband is super helpful around the house and we’re totally progressive and equal and blah blah blah), but fewer people talk about how women are still in charge of everyone’s feelings. We’re in charge of the intangible and tiny things that add up to a freaking lot of extra pressure and required energy.
I’ve been able to handle a browser full of tiny-tasks on top of working full-time and being a mom. Hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve managed. Now, the scales have inevitably tipped. I’ve got the fully-loaded business-building window open now too and my tiny-tasks are suffering. Feelings are suffering. Mostly, my own self-care is suffering. I’m forgetting to drink water and my face at night, and it’s not a cute look.
So, this is me catching myself. This is me announcing that I’m closing some tabs to re-prioritize myself while I’m pulling double duty. You may not get that thank you note, I may not plan for your upcoming visit, and my kids might just get plastic easter eggs filled with gross jelly beans this year. But you bet your ass I’ll be meal prepping, walking my dog, and training for a race this spring. ‘Cause when mama’s not well, ain’t nobody well.
Okay, brace yourselves: here comes a metaphor about metamorphosis.
As I transition from being a corporate employee to an entrepreneur (a woo woo one at that), I feel like a half-baked caterpillar coming out of a gross, mushy brown cocoon. My skin is all dry and scaly, and my wings are more moth-like right now than like a butterfly’s. I’ve been trying to rush this evolution and am missing the micronutrients needed to flourish and grow —or whatever the hell happens in those nasty cocoons. I need to go back into the crusty cocoon for a bit to incubate and nourish myself. I need to prioritize my health and wellness.
Here’s how I’ll make it happen this week::
— Drink more water (like, literally all.damn. day.)
— Prioritize alone time each day (preferably outdoors)
— Reduce caffeine intake to a single cup (dear god, I’m frightened by this one)
— Go on a long run (because magic only starts at 5 miles)
What are your favorite self care rituals or tips for moving through a new phase in life? Help a sister out.