Many of us grow up learning that we need to keep pushing forward, at all times and at all costs. But when do we recognize that we need a break and let ourselves be okay with that? In the pursuit of success and our dreams many of us fail to listen to our bodies and minds and allow ourselves a much needed timeout from all that we are doing. We keep working when we are sick for fear that we will be left behind or that the world just won't be able to get on without us. Trust me, it can and it will, in fact the world benefits from the best version of you and that comes with taking care of yourself.
I am writing this at the tail end of what was a nasty bug of some type. I was worn out, sneezing and exhausted and yet slimming down what I was doing was a real mental challenge. Somewhere deep down I felt like I should be doing more. So, the typical dialogue ensues, I should... (yes, DOT, DOT, DOT ) you know the drill.
You forgot to pick up the milk from the grocery? Unbelievable! Dinner gets burned, oh the horror, how could we let this happen. We should have known to check the oven 10 minutes earlier, despite juggling fifty other things. In some unrealistic way we often have super human expectations of ourselves and it is making many of us sick. We can get mentally and emotionally sick compliments of the pile of stress we place on ourselves. We have expectations we would not expect from a friend or family member but somehow we expect from ourselves.
The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. -Anna Quindlen
We must honor our need to dial things down a bit at times. Treat yourself like you would a friend, you should consider yourself your first best friend and treat yourself as such. When you feel worn out and frazzled ask yourself, "would I expect this of my friends or family?" If the answer is no, then take time to pause and take some steps to be kind to yourself.
Stop being so hard on yourself with these 4 Tips
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
Have you ever really met the Joneses? Me neither and if you did I am not too sure you would want to be friends with them anyway. Someone will always have more or less stuff, knowledge or time than do you. Comparing yourself to others is a sure fire way to add more stress to your life. It is the first ingredient in being hard on yourself. Don't do it.
2. Say NO to tasks that are not vital
Your plates is full so saying no to tasks that are not vital can lighten your load and remove some stress. It will give you the ability to complete what matters most leaving you with a sense of accomplishment.
3. Allow yourself downtime
Take a nap, get outside to enjoy the sunshine, pick up a book or dive into a hobby that you haven't let yourself enjoy in a while. You work hard and you deserve time to enjoy life, give yourself permission and make it a priority.
4. Disconnect from technology
Put down your cell phone, walk away from Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Give yourself at least one full day a month (a week would be ideal but let's start small) disconnecting from these constant sources of noise. Allow your head to have some calm and clarity without the streams of activity and action flooding your weary mind. (See #1) As my dear friend Tania Mulry would say " You need a digital detox." The non-stop connection with technology has become an epidemic, so much so that Tania did a TedX talk on the very issue. You can watch it here.
Just remember you are not here to play superman or superwomen you are here to play you. Embrace your triumphs and me kind to yourself, you deserve it.