When you plan for the week ahead is your health, sanity and wellbeing at the top of the list of priorities? Or is time for you, stopping and BEING... somewhere down the bottom of that list?
Our never ending list of to do's and the stress that comes with it will always be apart of our lives. But if you feel that life is passing you by and there just never seems to be any time left over for you then maybe it's time to change how we set up your week?
Learn To Prioritise Your To Do's Based On What Matters Most To You First
If you are time poor, genuinely have a long list of to do's each day and haven't stopped to smell the roses in who knows how long then you need to read on.
Stress accumulates when there is simply no time planned in our week to defuse it. Accumulated stress leads to fatigue or a crash. If there isn't an exercise that involves Being that defuses all the pent up tension of Doing then the scales start to get tipped unfavourably towards stress and eventually overwhelm. Being is a natural state to all human beings where our stress is released and we are allowing ourselves to let go of the reigns of control for just a moment.
Permanent Stress Becomes Overwhelm
Stress in small doses is not a bad thing and completely natural if not completely unavoidable. Overwhelm however is a problem. Stress can even be helpful driving us sometimes to be more productive and to think of solutions to our problems. On some level it can be healthy. But it shouldn't be a permanent state of mind. When stress becomes a permanent state of mind then overwhelm happens. And in a state of overwhelm we can't find the solutions to our problems. If overwhelm becomes permanent then it's closest cousins of anxiety and depression are just around the corner. And we don't want to hang out with those cousins if we don't have to.
1. Do I plan my week around what matters to me or what matters to everyone else and everything I have to do first?
2. Do I have ways of reducing my stress/do I know what brings me joy that also therefore helps reduce my stress?
3. Do I feel that I am worthy of having my cake and eating it too?
For those of us that struggle with balance it's possible that we have forgotten to include things that we know brings us peace. This doesn't mean you have to meditate everyday. Maybe your meditation is fishing, taking a long walk on your own or flicking through a magazine with a cup of tea in peace. For me it can be as simple as going to the toilet or showering alone without 'mum,mum,mum!' Stress relief comes from anything that brings me small moments of joy, where I am in a state of being and not doing. But usually we have to actively plan to have those moments scheduled into our week.
Reducing stress has a lot to do with being able to put yourself first. And being mindful to practice releasing stress through enjoying the moment.
"Make Time For Yourself. You, Your Health & Your Mental Wellbeing Is Just As Important As Everything Else."
If you are already thinking....I can't because I have to do ______________ and ___________ and _______________'
You Need To Read On!
Roadblocks To Putting Myself First
There are certain mental roadblocks that we have to creating quality time with ourselves that I often come across with my coaching clients. These are...
Particularly parents feel guilty if they create time just for them. If they aren't serving the needs of others 24/7 then they feel like they aren't being good parents. Good or even great parents are those that have the energy to be present and caring and giving when they are with their child/ren. Happy parents are those that still remember their own purpose and passion outside being a parent and have a relationship with themselves and their own identity/dreams/goals outside parenthood. Burnt out parents can't be any of those things. So time for you is needed if you wish to be able to offer your children the presence they demand. Quality time is better than quantity.
Playing The Martyr
Some people feel that if they are pleasing others all the time and are doing it all that somehow they will be more liked and rewarded for breaking themselves to take care of others needs. To all the martyr's - you are running a race you will never win. You will simply be the only tired one at the end of the finishing line.
When you ask a martyr to slow down and take care of themselves they make every excuse to soldier on even though they are feeling exhausted, disrespected and even empty on the inside. Every martyr is lacking self worth. They don't feel deserving of being kind to themselves. They are notorious for lacking a relationship with themselves and are seeking the approval of others to feel fulfilled. Tackle the self worth issue and you'll stop with the martyrdom. Know that every human is worthy and deserving of having their own needs met too and have the courage to face why you are so hard on yourself.
I Don't Have Time
This is my favourite excuse. Apart of this blog is looking at creating pockets of time that you didn't know existed. And if there really is genuinely no time left when you look at your schedule below then we are going to have to take a much closer look at the life you have set up for yourself and take steps to reduce and delegate the list of to do's. Creating time is about compromise. It's also about being realistic. Instead of aiming for going to yoga everyday, we'll aim for once a week to start. So instead of beating up on yourself for never getting to that class ever because a daily commitment is overwhelming, we'll aim for small moments of peace here and there.
Maybe I'll skip watching TV for reading a book or taking 10 minutes to listen to a relaxation audio before bed. Whilst I'm cooking I can also listen to a podcast that interests me or music that I love and make it an act of service as opposed to a chore. Maybe I can schedule even just a 30 minute walk into my day straight up before I check my emails. Maybe I can take small moments of peace repeated many times throughout the day. There are easy ways to work with the lack of time issue.
I Don't Know How To Relax
Some people have genuinely never learnt the art of stopping, being and taking themselves towards a state of non doing or slackness where we are actively releasing our own tension. This is most easily done with breathwork, gentle yoga and especially mindfulness. More on that in a minute. But I also feel that everyone has something that they love doing. It might be painting, singing, being in nature, swimming, scrapbooking, bike riding or whatever floats your boat. Anything that brings you joy, anything where your mind is just immersed in the moment and you're allowing your thoughts to pass instead of being in a state of focus, is relaxing and will reduce tension.
I'll Be Happy When _________. I'll stop & relax when ______________.
We are all on the train to happiness. If I can just keep going and tick this box then that box I'll be happy when ____________ happens. The problem is that when you running the race towards happiness and you finally reach that next level you will only feel fleeting happiness for a moment and then you'll create the next level of success you must reach to again feel worthy, successful or feeling happy. Meanwhile you've broken yourself to get there and haven't stopped in months.
That fleeting gratification can be replaced with daily gratification.
What if you could still chase your goals but aim to feel many small moments of peace and joy along the way that would lead you to feeling more centred, balanced, present and relaxed when you do reach those levels of achievement? And what if doing that meant you feel your life had meaning that wasn't reliant on kicking the next goal? All it takes is scheduling in more you time in small moments repeated many times.
"Small Moments Of Peace Repeated Many Times Makes Life Easy"
Your New Life Schedule In 3 Steps
In 3 steps we are going to recreate your life and create pockets of peace repeated many times throughout the week.
1. Use This Schedule
This simple weekly schedule will help you get a clear picture of how life is currently set up and what we are going to change to create more quality YOU time and reduce tension.
You can just write it on a piece of paper or better put it on a whiteboard where you can see it.
2. Do Your Current Schedule
Take a few minutes to write up your current schedule. It's best to see what you've created for yourself for real. It might be ridiculously packed and help you understand why are so tired! Or it might have more pockets of time than you realised.
3. Do A New Schedule
First - down the side of the schedule I want you to write a list of priorities and the top priorities are entered into the schedule first:
1. Health - what can I do to improve my health e.g. cook healthy meals, introduce a daily juice, introduce exercise, cut out coffee for a week etc.
2. Me Time - what can I do that brings me joy? Enter anything at all you want that brings you happiness.
3. Stress Reduction - What Can I Do To Actively Relax & Reduce Stress? Meditation, walking, breathing etc. Think: how can I create small moments of peace repeated many times throughout the day or week? Mindfulness is amazing for this. You can take short 'mind breaks' whenever you want to.
4. Family/Friends Time you need to allow for the most important relationships in your life and think of creative ways to give as much as you can to them. Consider relationships that are draining you of energy and give them less time)
5. Job/Work/Study (consider when you can do this most effectively accept of course if you are tied to certain hours, if the hours are too long consider and write a list of what can be delegated or how the job can change)
6. Fun & Adventure (what new adventures of fun can you bring in to your week? Weekend drive or camping or being a tourist in your own town. Anything that takes you out of your normal routine)
7. Life Planning (take the time to slot in an activity like budgeting or thinking up new ways to improve your life)
8. Household/Life Stuff Commitments (cleaning, paying bills, social media, TV. Think of ways to improve your time on these things like shopping online, hiring a cleaner or book keeper, reducing social media and TV etc)
"Life is a balance between effort and surrender"
Now that you have your schedule check that it has a balance between effort and surrender? Are the scales balanced to tip equally in both directions? Are there short moments of peace repeated many times throughout your week?
Put Into Action
Take your schedule off the page and into reality. You must have it where you can see it like on your fridge or on a whiteboard somewhere very visible.
I'd love to hear how you went with this tool by leaving me a comment below! You can also ask any other questions you have.
Have a great day.