For me, the fall is crazy. Our church does a yearly kick-off campaign, chock full of fun and exciting events, that is always great for community. (Seriously. Lives are changed. It’s rad.) However, as the volunteer event coordinator, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t drain me dry every year. Over the past month I’ve run myself ragged — with everything I need to get done with the kick-off plus my everyday responsibilities at work and home, I’ve found myself with little time to do anything else. Like sleep — I can’t remember the last time I slept past 7:00 AM. I’m dreadfully exhausted, mentally and physically.
But! Alas! An oasis! The only plans I had this past Saturday fell through, leaving me with an entire day to do whatever I wanted. So I chose to sleep in! Finally!
Friday night showed heaps of promise for a Saturday morning snooze fest: Dan and I went on a double date and ended up staying out entirely too late (for us, that is — we are, after all, senior citizens now) allowing us to finally crawl in into bed and doze off around 1:00AM. But something (a cat? my brain? something equally as annoying?) jolted me awake shortly thereafter. I rustled, grumbled, then squinted blearily at the glowing alarm clock in our pitch black bedroom. Without my glasses, I had to strain to make the green blur come into focus — 6:57AM.
I tried to go back to sleep, desperate to fulfill my only plans for my Saturday morning, but my brain refused to turn off. It just kept running through the list of a bazillion things I need to do/meetings I need to have in the next couple weeks or so. After tossing and turning for what seemed like forever, I got up, picked up Pretties with the hope that reading would tire my eyes, and set up camp in the guest room to avoid disturbing Dan while I tried to fall back asleep.
A little after 10, Dan finally roused and came into the guest room and found me still awake, blowing through my book. He sweetly snuggled up against me, but I did not respond warmly. My body stiffened up against his, irritated and bitter — I resented him for sleeping soundly when my over-active brain wouldn’t let me do the same on my only day off.
He asked me what was wrong. I didn’t respond audibly — I simply began to cry. (Isn’t being married to me awesome, you guys?! I rule.)
“I’m just so overwhelmed with everything I have to do,” I sighed as I started to sob. I continued on and rattled off a list of the things that were expected of me in the coming week. “So much planning, so many meetings and rehearsals, and the house is a mess. Everything I need to do is making me crazy. And I just wanted to sleep. But I can’t even do that.”
Without missing a beat, Dan gave me a squeeze and softly said, “Okay, well, I’m going to make us breakfast. Then, you and I will clean the house. After that, we’ll go to a coffee shop so you can get some work done. And then, after all that, we’ll go and relax at our friends’ house.”
I sniffled, wiped away the remaining tears from my cheeks, and squeaked out a meek, “Okay.”
TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: TAKE IT ONE THING AT A TIME.
Sometimes, all the work that goes into having a happy and healthy self-image can be daunting. As easy as it sounds to completely shift your entire lifestyle and paradigm (ha) it takes a lot of work. You have to be intentional every day. Avoiding triggers. Rewiring your brain. Encouraging others while you still aren’t so sure of yourself. Honestly, sometimes, it can be too much work to bear.
But that’s okay! Being on a quest for self-love doesn’t mean you have to be perfect at it. As a matter of fact, that’s the entire point! Just take one thing at a time.
- On one day, “clean your house”: replace any negative thoughts you have with positive ones. Remove all of the “I’m Not Good Enoughs” and put “I Am Loveds” in their places.
- Another day, sit and “work”: Write down what you’d love to see improve in yourself over the next few days/weeks/years. Make a plan of action on how you can get there.
- Finally, relax: Know that a self-love journey isn’t completed in a day. Or a year. Or several years. It’s a journey that, honestly, you may never actually complete. But waking up everyday and choosing to keep walking in that direction allows you to, some days, just relax where you are.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, or exhausted, or like you just can’t be “put together” another day, just take a deep breath. Collect your thoughts and then take one step. Maybe it’s a step forward. But maybe it’s a step to the side. Maybe it’s just a step in place. But just take one. And then another. And then another.