One of my problems, and I think a lot of people can relate to this, is running myself ragged 24/7. Are you one of those people too?
Somehow I’ve gotten into the habit of thinking that if I’m not busy doing something during every single minute that I’m awake, then I’m a lazy bum. I’ve been in this mindset for years. Because of that it is very hard for me to just simply sit down, breathe, and do nothing but hold the couch to the floor. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t focus on a book or a craft because my mind is telling me I should get to work on something constructive instead of “wasting time” with things I want to do instead of things I “need” to do.
This mindset is causing problems for me, and I have a problem with the fact it’s causing me problems. I don’t give myself any time to decompress from a high-stress job and a packed weeknight schedule and my body is noticing it. Lately, my Friday ritual is to sleep for 10 to 12 hours because I’m so sleep-deprived and drained from the week’s activities. That’s not a healthy way to live.
Sax Guy has been telling me for years that I’m too hard on myself and reminded me again on Saturday of this. We had just returned from grocery shopping, put everything away, and I announced that I wanted to take a nap but probably wouldn’t do so because I hadn’t gotten anything accomplished that day so far. The house needed its weekly cleaning and I hate to let a day go by without crossing something off my to-do list. (For the record, Sax Guy helps a lot around the house. This is not a “the woman does everything in the house” situation.)
“We need to work on your idea of ‘accomplishment,'” he said. He ticked off a list of things I had finished that day, including all the laundry, putting the clothes away and stocking food in the house again. That’s not “nothing,” he told me.
So, on his advice, I gave myself the rest of the day off Saturday. I left the house cleaning and the rest of my to-do list for Sunday and decided to just do what I wanted to do, which was learn to successfully coupon and read all of the wonderful blogs that I follow on WordPress. And you know what? It was the hardest and equally the most glorious thing I’ve done in awhile.
I felt guilty for leaving the chores for later and felt like a slacker wife for leaving a scuzzy bathroom sink an extra day so I could screw around on the computer. I had to keep telling myself that taking a night off does not make me a bad person and that leisure time is something everyone needs in their schedule. After all, “All work and no play makes a redhead a dull girl.” (Paraphrase mine, of course.) Plus taking some me time keeps me from turning into a cranky you-know-what when my body is on high stress mode 24/7.
A goal for me in 2012 is to take it easier and to be wiser with my time. I obviously can’t quit my job to free up 40 hours of my life a week and I can’t (and don’t want to) give up my music/church commitments, but I can cut back on my one-sided battle with June Cleaver. Do I need to make granola bars from scratch every single stinkin’ week? No. Do I need to walk on the treadmill five times a week? Probably, but it’s not worth sacrificing sleep over and won’t kill me if I cut it back to three. Is it ok to dig up leftovers out of the freezer instead of cooking something new every night? Yes! That’s why you made extra in the first place, you silly redhead. Do I absolutely have to blog three times a week? No. Is the world gonna end if I don’t complete all my chores in a single day? No. Do I need to stop adding more things to my list if I do? Yes.
How do you balance work and play? Am I the only crazy woman who has issues with taking a night off?
Late night update: I wanted to thank all of you for your kind words in the comments. It was so therapeutic to read all of your advice and to know that I’m not the only one! It was kind of a crazy day, and to come home to read your thoughts was a good way to end the day. Bless you, bless you. I’d mail you all cookies if I could!