I recently returned from two really amazing and really exhausting trips almost back to back … and I had committed to yet another two almost immediately after that. I typically love to travel, but I could feel myself being drained. I had bags under my eyes (which is not on my list of favorite things) and, more importantly, I was easily triggered by things that normally would not matter. When I’m tired, I let my personal boundaries get loose. I let myself take on other people’s tasks and responsibilities, and I feel myself being pulled in all sorts of directions…super stressful.
It is really hard for me to back out of a commitment–like emotionally draining–I knew I needed to cancel my next trip–even though I was expected to leave later that same day.
My next immediate thought? I need a massage!! Self care to the rescue!As I lay on the massage table, I marveled about how quickly my personal reservoirs had been drained to the point of “suck’n mud.” Just 2 weeks prior, my relationship reservoir was filled to overflowing by visiting my kids and grandkids in Africa. My sense of adventure, which is an emotional filler for me, also had me on Cloud 9, and by just being away from “all the things” for a few days, I was able to cut the residual strings and just be.
My husband asked me to join him for a whirlwind business trip to Puerto Rico to Florida to New Jersey and New York City less than a week after we got home. With my temperament, the need for predictability is a thing. I work better when I have a little bit of predictability in the things I’m doing; I don’t have to plan rigorously with all the details, but just enough so I can plan a little bit at a time and arrange my life around it.
So, while I LOVE to travel, I also have school and my VOICE program (and my soon-to-be-released online course) and I also work really closely with one of my mentors, Dr. Slade, to help create his online Healthy and Happy courses (which are amazing! Check them out!) I have so many things that I am super excited about!
So anyway… Dave invited me last minute to go on this business trip, so I made a quick decision to go–and I’m so glad I went—but I hadn’t planned on it. I hadn’t figured out how to get homework and all the other things done. I thought that I would be able sneak it all in somehow between meetings and travel, but it didn’t work.
On top of that, I wasn’t really able to exercise, which is another reservoir that is important for my overall ability to feel good. I did do a lot of stretching, and I found a way to SHiNE™ once — for all of 3 songs. I didn’t get a lot of sleep – which I’m usually fine with (I would rather not have to sleep–too bad I’m human)… needless to say, with all of these things adding up, it took a toll on me, and I was exhausted.
So why am I telling you all this?
It isn’t to make you feel sorry for me–this is not an invitation to my pity party 😉 It’s just a really great example of how important it is to keep ourselves filled and balanced. And it isn’t that we aren’t going to be perfectly balanced all the time. There are going to be things in life that drain us–sometimes even the fun things. I loved everything I got to do. There were a lot of reasons why I felt it was important for me to go on this trip, but there comes a time in all our lives when we need to just stop and notice what our bodies are trying to tell us.
I didn’t used to notice. I didn’t used to believe that it was okay to take a day or maybe a week and just really focus on filling myself back up.
There was a time that I would’ve just pushed through it and not cancelled that third trip. I would’ve gone regardless of how I was feeling. It was still hard for me to do this time because, 1) I hate letting people down, and 2) I hate changing my plans last minute. I really don’t like changing my plans last minute-especially when it involves other people. But I sat down and just assessed:
“Okay. How am I feeling?” –super tired, weepy, and so close to snapping; on the verge of a cold or something– It was time to just take care of me, right?
In the not-so-distant past, I would put myself aside for the perceived benefit of everyone else. Notice I said perceived… is it really true that people–other adults–can’t get along without me? Is the quality of their life my responsibility? NO! However, the quality of MY life IS! When I forget that, when I am afraid to hold my own space, I get off balance until I have nothing left to give.
So I picked up the phone and broke the news that I was staying home. I got my massage, went without makeup and I danced a full hour of SHiNE™ and it just. felt. SO. good.
I didn’t feel amazing after just one day of rest. It took a few days to reorganize, refill, and refuel. Paying attention to what I eat is important to do anytime but also especially important when I’m feeling drained.
Everyone needs resources to be able to function well, especially when we’re actively working on improving our lives–which I believe everybody is trying to do on one level or another because that’s what human beings do–progress! In fact, it is scientifically proven that we are happier when we are progressing.
When we have the right resources, we are able to feel good and to love ourselves and be Totally Happy In the Now. If happiness is something we desire, then it’s important that we are aware of these resources at all times. It’s not an extra stress in my life to make sure my personal reservoir is full enough. I simply pay attention to how I’m feeling– I really listen–and I have tools in place to help me fill back up when I feel my energy going down and/or my thoughts and emotions are heading in a negative direction.
Some of these tools are:
- Have a playlist of happy, feel-good music
- Take the time to go for a walk
- Fuel with something yummy AND good for you
- Serve someone
- Get a massage
- Practice gratitude
- Join a community
It can be truly be helpful to be a part of a group of people who are working on similar goals together– people who understand you and care about you, no matter what. If you’d like to be a part of a supportive group of women who are working on staying balanced, learning to keep themselves filled, to Love Themselves T.H.I.N. (Totally Happy In the Now) and create their life by design, join my Facebook group here.