This one’s going out to the working moms.
I see you.
Putting out fires and cleaning up messes.
Making shit happen.
Filling gaps left by the government & capitalism & your partner.
Being of service to your clients and coworkers. Being there for your kids and your team.
It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?
You’ve been running beyond capacity for months now. Or maybe even longer.
You deserve a vacation, a hero cookie, a medal…or at least a friggin’ moment to yourself.
But that’s hard these days, isn’t it? Everyone’s all over each other. Someone’s constantly tugging at your sleeve, wanting your attention, needing something.
You know you need a break, but that doesn’t really feel possible right now, does it?
I feel you.
In a better world, systems would be supporting your wellbeing right now. Adequate support would be in place. It wouldn’t feel like it’s all on you.
And you’re probably fighting for those things too. You’re paying attention to what’s happening in the world, and you’re really making a point of engaging wherever you can to make meaningful changes to the way things are.
But waiting for the world to change? Probably isn’t going to cut it right now. You’re suffering now.
What’s a woman supposed to do in the meantime?
First, take a slow breath with me. Right now. Relax your abdomen and feel it expand with your inhalation. Let it out slowly and give yourself permission to soften any amount. Do that a couple more times. You might even keep doing that as you read the rest of this article.
Then, you’ve got to get curious about what’s happening between your ears. We’re all well aware of the things over which we have no control these days. But what happens in our minds? We have influence there.
It all starts with the mindset shift you need to make in order to make it through this.
When it comes to getting your needs met, I have a hunch that you’re telling yourself something like, “When I finish everything on this list, I’ll rest.” Or, “I know I said I’d take a break right now, but I still have to make arrangements for the plumber to come, find a babysitter for the weekend, and make lunches. I’ll do that during my ‘me time’ instead.” Or, “This needs to get done, and nobody else is going to do it, so I’ll just keep pushing. It’s just how it is.”
And I get it. It makes all the sense in the world to fall into that groove.
But here’s the thing.
The to-do list is never-ending.
The finish line? It keeps moving. It’s like some asshole sees you trying so hard, doing your best, hoping to be able to collapse when the sprint is done, and he’s peeling the paint off the track, pointing and laughing, and moving it further and further away. What a jerk.
That imaginary place you’re hoping to find where you get to finally let go? It actually exists in the here & now, but only if you insist on claiming it.
Not only is the race a marathon, not a sprint, but it’s not even a marathon really because those have finish lines. You know how far you’re going. You know the route.
Once upon a time, it may have been possible to finishing everything. Maybe pre-COVID, you used to knock it out and then rest. I mean, probably not, but I’m just saying. Looking back, it likely felt easier.
But these days? It’s relentless. It’s time to prioritize sustainability. Finding your flow is the goal. And it all starts with recognizing the reality that if you just keep pushing, you will burn out, and you will likely yell at everyone in your house way more than you’d like to in the process.
Here’s what I want you to keep in mind:
- Burnout is real, and life will straight up stop you dead in your tracks if you don’t call a time out regularly. It’s time to insist on your wellbeing.
- Contrary to what your inner critic is telling you, the sky will not fall if you press pause for a few minutes to take the edge off and fill your cup.
- When you insist on taking time for yourself and follow through, you’re writing a new story, which in and of itself is energizing. Notice how you feel physically when you think, “I never have time for myself. It’s just not an option.” Compare that to what physical sensations arise when you think, “It may not be perfect, but I take some time just for me regularly. It’s a choice I insist on making.” The first one probably feels depleting, and the second one may bring a tiny wave of relief. In other words, you get to start feeling a little better now.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can feel almost impossible to know where to start. Even figuring that out is one more effing thing on your list. I know. I’ve been there.
So here are some ideas to get you started. My mini-challenge for you (let’s be honest, it’s more of a hope/invitation for you!) is this.
Take 7 minutes to do something fun, relaxing, creative, or pleasurable. You might do it right now. You might schedule it into your calendar. Notice your tendency to put it off, and challenge that tendency. It’s only seven minutes. The sky will not fall. Seven minutes of self-care makes a difference. It’s time to insist on your wellbeing.
This strategy will not miraculously solve the hot mess that is the back to school plan. It will not restore the fundamental sense of safety you may have enjoyed pre-COVID. It won’t feed your kids or pay the bills.
But it will restore you just a little. And when you do it regularly, it will restore you a little more. Which will help you feel a little more capable to meet the ridiculous challenges of this dumpster-fire of a year.
Here’s what you could do with your 7 minutes:
A breathing exercise from Breathing Room (my free 5-day stress relief program).
Go for the tiniest walk.
Have a dance party to your favourite song. Here’s my go-to.
Call a friend and share your highlights of the week. (I just did this myself)
Massage your feet with a tennis ball while breathing with a relaxed abdomen.
Watch this inspiring short film.
Read something by Mary Oliver.
What’s your short & sweet go-to self-care break? How does it help you? Bonus points for sharing in the comments 💜