A case for naps.
You guys, I am having that day today where things just feel a little overwhelming and I. Am. Tired. The things that remind me they need to be done and almost seem exciting about the coming day are big fat obstacles come morning. Or midday as we would have it right now thanks to stalling out after a wonderful massage with my girl, Shannon. My husband and I have just ended a series of late nights getting to bed because of certain engagements (including a wedding!) and our closer-to-40-than-30 bodies are just not recovered yet. At least mine's not. He's doing a necessary brake job on the car and doesn't get to waffle about whether he feels like it or not. Thanks, love!
What's crazy is I actually felt more energized yesterday (Sunday) than I do today and I got close to my usual 7 hours last night (despite our 3-year-old angel getting up with numerous requests, one at a time). And I worked out and got a massage this morning. Yeah, maybe my body is hard at work flushing toxins and that's why the motivation to move is alluding me. As I try to bring myself to complete the list in front of me, I am also tempted to slow down and determine whether I am better off completely abandoning the agenda for today and taking myself to bed for a good nap. Do you ever do this? Do you have the space in your current work and home life to make it happen even on occasion? I really hope so. I've been in a slow effort to bring more margin into my life for such things. It doesn't mean either of these two extremes that I think we are susceptible to believing we have to fall into: 1. Becoming a super-human productivity machine by way of a shortcut life hack, app or online "master course". (Not bad things, but not generally helpful at the root of the struggle.) 2. Clear all the stuff off the calendar that doesn't pertain to me and the things I deem a priority, thus saying to no to hosts of people and opportunities because we don't have total certainty they will pan out in our favor. Ok, so both of those sound a little exaggerated but honestly, I think that's only because we never actually speak those extremes in words, out loud.
Are you following me? Balance is really hard, downright unachievable if we ever think we can come to a point of having a routine so scripted and automatic that we can set it and forget it. Life is full of interruptions and disruptions. I know you know this. The distractors from our routine can be frustrating. Inconvenient. They come in the form of shipping delays and poor service. Misunderstandings and rewrites (I just accidentally CUT most of this paragraph and am trying to create it again! Sigh...). Interruptions can show up as a beautiful thing, like an impromptu wedding of our dear friends, and a healthy baby arriving almost three weeks early. They can be tragic or life-threatening, like the news of a potential diagnosis we don't have yet without a body-altering surgery that is too quickly approaching, but can't come soon enough. I celebrate and I pray and I earnestly hope for the best in these situations and others happening in real time all around me now. And I breathe for a long moment to think of what I need to cause my own interruption, so I can come back to center. We can't control much of anything beyond ourselves and our decisions, preemptive, proactive or reactive. But we can make a little room for some of the unknowns...like a lack of energy or inspiration. An exciting idea you feel you've got to get on paper (I completely encourage that one!). The friend who could really use encouragement in the form of an actual face-to-face visit. And how about this one? The halting awareness that you could really use some silly girl time, so you pick up a bunch of crazy weird fruit to try after work and have a vegan good time, which may potentially lead to diarrhea, but it's totally worth it! #NOSHAME
Living a productive, less stress-filled life takes absolute intentionality, beginning with some big-picture overarching goals that refine our decision-making and routine-building process. It also takes scheduling your priorities based on those goals and the people and things you value most. And even then, life happens sometimes. It's natural to want to throw the whole thing out because of the frustration and the feelings of powerlessness when plans get derailed. On the flip side maybe we want to have faith that things will improve, that God sees what we are battling and will make a smoother path ahead. But, as Hollie and I were discussing recently, being unprepared for a not-so-great scenario on the horizon on the basis of faith, isn't necessarily faith. We are equipped to brace ourselves for impact. We have experience and knowledge and even muscle memory, all for a reason. This life is attempting to train us by putting the pressure on and when we build in some margin for rest, for time with family that isn't just a frantic game of checklist tackle before school, work and bedtime, we take control over the fact that we won't always be "feelin' it".
I didn't really do this for the longest time. If we had plans to have people over, it was stress and deadlines. Not an impromptu get-together where the house wasn't really to a certain standard of presentation beforehand. Guess who's not enjoying herself at those things. If I had paperwork due, I could easily go on as if it wasn't needed until the last literal minute. And now? I keep a google calendar. I use Cozi to keep communication about family business front and center. I put lists and reminders into both, but I do not fill all the white space. And I don't have to schedule breathing room at the moment, as long as I keep the white spaces open. If an social media task comes up and I know I'm not in the right headspace to work on it or I'm just not in the mood, I can swap it with a more suitable task for the mood I am in and circle back to the other thing with a little less pressure from everything else. Sometimes, I can even stop the world from spinning for an hour and take a nap. This is something I often do on Sunday when my daughter is down for hers. I may even sleep as long as she does! And that sleep feels so good, so different than nightly rest.
The girl who's got it all together while looking completely amazing is a myth. Certain celebrities we follow and influencers we admire are not building this image of an ideal mega-life on their own. They are getting help. They shut out the world at times for respite. Or, with or without a staff, they are approaching a breaking point as we see all to often. When that happens, society mourns and reasons and defends... I don't want that for you, my friend. Anxiety and pressure are standing out there waiting. And sometimes right here, dangerously close to breaking us. I learned l
I learned a little less than a year ago that working behind the chair more than four days every week was no longer good for me. And it wasn't good for the people I'm serving. My body and my brain technically can do the work, maybe even six days a week for 40 hours. But burnout is real, and if I am to live a life that includes exercise and quiet time for clarity, making sure my family and I are eating healthy homemade meals, to ensure I get this soul-nourishing time to write, and if I want to invest well into my marriage and kids, I require margin. And working with hair all week is not going to be the thing that keeps me in this work for many years to come. All the other things keep me loving, LOVING! the time I get to spend with amazing women, doing the craft I have enjoyed for two decades. How are you getting more of a cushion around the things you value to protect them? Or is this something you really need to work on so your head is above all the overwhelm? Talk to me. I love hearing from you!
I can still go either way with the nap. I've got time!
So much love,