Have you ever felt lost? Completely overwhelmed? It may be hard to believe this in our Instagram-filtered world but you are not alone. In fact, it’s often the people who post the prettiest pictures that are struggling the most. Why? Because they have the most to lose if anyone finds out that life is less than picture perfect. Or so they think.
I was that Instagram filtered person.
On the outside I had to look perfect (or as close as I ever could get to looking perfect) and it was so important that no one could see me sweat. But inside? Inside I was screaming.
I was living from vacation to vacation, and even they were few and far between. What I was really seeking was relief from my pressure cooker life. I said yes to everyone and everything because God forbid I let anyone down.
I honestly thought that was what life was supposed to be. It never occurred to me to slow down because everywhere I went I heard things like “I just don’t know how you do it all.” I had people tell me I was amazing. And who doesn’t want to hear all of that?
The problem is we don’t throw life preservers to people drowning in busy and obligation, we high five them and push them further out into the ocean.
Be a superwoman. Do it all. It all sounds good until that becomes your life and all you want is just a little relief. But now you’ve painted this perfect picture and you feel like you could never tell the truth. You believe you can’t say no when people ask you for help.
When you stay super busy you burn yourself out.
But there’s a benefit to it as well. When you keep dancing and running you don’t take the time to stop and take stock of your life to fix what needs fixing.
Perfect life balance is a myth but a balanced life is possible.
There are Seasons
What does that mean? In different seasons different things will take priority. But over time, every area of your life has to reach the priority list. If you are so focused on your children that you neglect your marriage, that’s a problem. If you are so focused on your marriage and family that you neglect your health, that’s a problem. If you are so busy that you don’t have time for true, authentic relationships, that’s a problem.
If you wait until everything hits the fan to start taking care of yourself, it will be too late to do much good.
Full disclosure: I did not learn this lesson for a long, long time. Oh, I read it in books. I heard it on podcasts. I learned it at conferences. But everyday life kept getting in the way.
Self-neglect was big business for me. I invested heavily in ignoring my own needs. If perfecting the art of not taking care of yourself was a marketable thing I could have written a book and made millions.
I ended up burning myself out and got really, really sick. My stomach was wracked with pain and I couldn’t eat anything. It’s like my body had enough. It took getting to the very end of myself to finally change how I was doing life. And even then it took some time to get out of my suck-it-up-and-keep-going mentality.
So, what did I do? What’s my big secret?
I take care of my mind, my body and my spirit every day. I am fierce with my priorities and making sure everything I do aligns with those priorities: God, family, relationships, service/work. I do my best to start everything with God. I fail often and I allow myself loads of grace.
This is nothing you haven’t read before, heard on podcasts or learned at conferences. But I’m hoping you will learn from me that you have to draw a line in the sand and re-order your life. Taking care of yourself is not selfish.
It’s really about finding opportunities in each day to do something for your mind, your body and your spirit. And make it non-negotiable. Life can be joyful, even when busy. Truthfully, I have way more on my plate right now than I ever have.
That’s the big “secret”. It’s not how much you have to do that determines your joy and the quality of your life. It’s how you build the foundation on which you live your life and what you do and think about moment to moment and day to day that determines how your life unfolds.
Try doing something for your mind, your body and spirit every single day. Create a list of options to pick from. Every Sunday, schedule this daily time. Make it non-negotiable. Get an accountability partner who you have to check in with each week to keep you on track.
Try it for 60 days and see if life doesn’t become a little easier. If joy isn’t more present. If you can’t weather the inevitable storms of life just a little bit better. I’ll be here cheering you on. Don’t wait one other minute to put yourself on the priority list. The world needs you whole girlfriend.
Courtney Spencer | Courtney is an attorney, transformational life coach and speaker and her passion is to help women conquer overwhelm and busyness so they can have more time, energy and better relationships. She is a frequent speaker on topics such as stress management, conquering the addiction to busyness, enjoying motherhood and how faith can change our lives. You can schedule a free coaching session with her HERE.