Family & F.I.T. | Debbie Hatch
Two different people asked me the same question today. “How do you make time for yourself? I’m struggling. It seems like somebody always needs something more (and more and more and more) from me.”
Oh, I used to be super-woman. I worked more than 40 hours a week, while going to school, raising two children, was a brownie leader, volunteered with cub scouts, worked on promotions, won awards for being an over-achiever, and, and, and, and……… all at the same time. Trust me when I tell you that I know about trying to be all things to all people.
Multi-tasker extraordinaire. Check.
Well, guess what? It’s all bullshit.
And maybe some think that I should apologize for cursing but I’m not going to.
That’s the only way to say it.
I still struggle sometimes but MUCH less than I used to for three specific reasons.
==> 1. I have accepted personal responsibility for my actions and I really do let the little stuff go.
==> 2. I establish priorities for myself.
==> 3. I set boundaries and not only do I stick to those but I insist others do too.
Personal Responsibility for my Actions:
I ate crap (because it was quick and easy). I never exercised (I was much too tired and busy). I gave, gave, gave until there was nothing left. I was frustrated, exhausted, and resentful. I felt like crap. Actually, I felt like a victim and a martyr. I had to be the most amazing mother, the best wife, the hardest worker. The best. At everything.
What I was the best at was lying to myself.
No one else was making me work all of those hours. I chose to. How could I possible get angry when they didn’t appreciate it?
No one else was making me put myself last. I chose to. How could I be upset when others acted the same way I always had, and expected me to put myself last?
There is no competition. Every mother is doing the best she can do. So too, each spouse, sister, friend.
And by doing everything all by myself, I was actually judging the people I loved most. We don’t think of it this way, but that’s what it is. If I’m “so” good that I don’t need to ask anyone for anything, what am I really thinking (deep down) about my family and friends who ask me for help? They’re not as good as me?
Just think about that for 3 or 4 seconds.
I’m still busy. I’m still running two (and a half) businesses. I’m still working more than 40 hours a week but I have stopped comparing my progress to anybody else’s. I have stopped trying to “keep up with Jane” at the expense of putting myself dead last. I have one life. Even if I live into my 90s, it’s going to be a short one. I choose now not to make myself miserable. I choose to live my life, not just try to survive it. And I really don’t care who likes who or thinks I’m not “working up to my potential”.
I do some work but I also make some time for myself. Each Sunday, I make a list of one thing I will accomplish this week for each of my roles (I am a mother/wife; a friend; a business owner; a student, a trainer, etc). I include physical and personal enhancement goals. (I don’t get to the gym every day but I AM getting there 3-4 times a week. It’s non-negotiable. I can’t read every day but I am going to set a goal to have 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening to read a little).
When I go to the gym and/or have my personal time, I put my phone on airplane mode. There are very few true emergencies and the fact is, if someone can’t reach me for 15 or 30 minutes, that is not going to make or break any situation that I can think of.
I insist on at least a few hours, if I can’t fit in a whole day, of pure recreation. I have a lot of work to do this week. I worked all day yesterday. Today I took the entire day off. I went to Alcatraz. I had a nice lunch. I went to Sonoma. Years ago, I would have felt guilty. I would have felt like I “wasted” my day.
The truth is: when I take time to recharge, I work even harder when get back to work.
I’ve stopped over-promising, and many other things. Read this blog I wrote about my “To Don’t” list and implement a few things. When a customer or client asks for something at 4 o’clock this afternoon, it doesn’t have to be done this second or before I go to bed. I now send responses like, “I received your message and will get the response to you asap but it probably will not be until this weekend.” When my family, friends, or clients ask me to do something for them, I let them know I will but I also let them know when “after my workout” “tomorrow when I’m not teaching” “this weekend”.
And other people are okay with that. We think they think we need to drop everything the second they ask for even something minor. If they do, it’s because we have foster or created that expectation. We have allowed it. But…. I’ve found the unreasonable expectations are typically being placed by me, not by the the other person.
This very moment, write down something you will do for relaxation this week AND something you will do for yourself every single day (that might be 30 minutes in the gym, a 20 minute walk, 15 minutes of reading…whatever you choose) and then do it. Let me know how it goes. Sincerely.