I wish I came with an indicator light that told me I needed fuel, maintenance, or repairs. It is so easy to get caught up in my day and forget to check in to see how I am doing before my energy wears out or my mood breaks down. But since I don’t have a check engine light or even a pop-up timer to tell me I am done, I have put together a system of habits and routines that usually keep me on track.
What do I do? Well, January is my birthday month so I make sure I go to my doctor and dentist for checkups. One of my daily lifesavers includes a big water bottle that I fill up 4 times. I schedule time to focus and finish my work, with transitions to get into the right mindset.
Then there are my coworkers and roommates. My dog, Dax, makes sure I get fresh air and a walk every day. Mikka, the macaw, loves singing to lively music and healthy snacks so I happily take breaks with her. And like the nerds we are, my husband, Ethan and I start most mornings with a burst of news from a favorite podcast, Make Me Smart with Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood and our evenings are spent playing games, reading, or watching TV.
Sounds good to me and usually it works…emphasis on usually, because I have noticed lately that it isn’t enough. I am still stressed, distracted, fatigued, and annoyingly restless. I am running on empty.
My first thought is to treat myself with grace because it seems reasonable to feel this way when life is crazy and hard like it is right now. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, political unrest has turned into violent insurrection. Add in the unpredictable business environment and I have many reasons to be patient with myself and others.
With that said, my second thought is that grace is important but not enough because this isn’t temporary or ending soon…This is my new NORMAL. It has been almost a year since my life shifted and it will probably be several more months before anything settles down.
Until my life goes back to the way it was, if it ever does, I need to change how I take care of myself instead of coming up short like I have been recently. My routines don’t cut it anymore so I am going to step up my game. I am going to recalibrate and reset.
I need to figure out what I need now and create new routines that empower me for this reality. Although I am anxious to get started, I have to let myself feel the loss of that old way of being. I miss it dearly and I need to grieve it a bit before moving on. It is a work in progress so I will let you know how it goes.
How about you? How well are you keeping up with your life’s demands? What is making a difference for you?