I hit a wall. While we have been stuck at home (or safe at home) since the global pandemic began in March 2020, I have been taking on speaking engagements, keeping up with clients, and trying to keep everything running in the home – which means remembering Grade 10 Math, planning groceries for 2 weeks at a time, and making sure that everyone has what they need. It was all going so well…until it wasn’t – and my body decided it was done with all of that. My overall energy changed 6 years ago after having half of my thyroid removed. What didn’t change is my need for control. When I am in times of stress, I do everything I can to control my environment. My house is cleaner; my office is more organized; I step up to be there for everyone without thinking about my own energy. I know this about myself, and yet I still mess it up at times. What’s different now is, I catch it sooner. This time I hit a wall but instead of pushing forward, I sat down. My boyfriend taught my stepson to cook dinner and I allowed him to do it and to make mistakes (the potatoes were a little overcooked). I didn’t need to control that. I answered questions from the couch when he was unsure. This might not seem like a big deal but for a control freak, allowing someone else to take over, is a HUGE deal. He did a great job and I made sure to remind him of that repeatedly. More importantly, I got to continue resting.
After taking a much-needed weekend to rest, I took some time to reorganize myself. I was feeling overwhelmed with all that I have coming up. None of it is bad – as a matter of fact, all of it is incredibly exciting: a book launch; a summit with some great friends; and the next round of a course I facilitate call ‘Leading with Ease’. But the thought of advertising and being ready for all of it felt overwhelming. So I sat down, made a plan for the week and slowly made my way through each step. When the list for each day was done, I would walk away. The stress and uncertainty got to me more than I realized. I made a point to remind myself that this was a marathon and not a sprint. We need to pace ourselves. Part of that is paying close attention to what we take on. Another part is asking for and accepting help. Is there anywhere you could allow someone else to take over? What can you let go of that is creating overwhelm for you? What can you do to make your day a little easier?
Even after this kind of rest and reset, there are times that I come into a new week feeling that familiar “wired and tired” feeling. Where my body is ready for a run but I’m just too tired to move. The other night I couldn’t sleep because of it. I am happy to report that this time, instead of stressing about this feeling, I just accepted it. I got up, read a chapter in my book and managed to fall asleep. The following day I was still tired, but I was able to create breaks in my day where I could rest.
You might be wondering why it’s such a big deal to share that I read a book and fell asleep. The reason is that 2 years ago I was so frustrated with everything, including my health, that one of these nights would send me into a spiral of anger and frustration. I was angry that I couldn’t get anyone to help with a diagnosis, frustrated thinking about the next day when I wouldn’t be able to concentrate or get things done, and I still had two teens to take care of. Most notably I was angry that my boyfriend was always fast asleep beside me. Like any of this was his fault. Then the following day I would try to push myself to get things done even though what I needed to do was sleep. I’m sharing this because often we don’t see how far we have come. So many changes happen in small increments and it’s not until we look back that we can see how far we have come. Knowing that I was able to handle my lack of sleep and allow myself the grace to rest the following day is a big shift for me. It didn’t happen overnight; it was many small changes in my life over a period of 2 years that got me to where I am.
When people have a big weight loss, they share their before and after pictures. When it’s a mindset change there are no pictures to share. So we have to take a moment and remember the “before” so that we can celebrate the “after”. Take a moment and look back. Even if it’s just to the beginning of social isolation pre-Covid and see how far you have come. Then take a moment and pat yourself on the back for all the little changes that you have successfully made during this time.