Between fall and the new year, I do a lot of setting up and taking down of home decor. The focal point of my living room is the mantle, so that’s prime real estate for decorations. Whenever I make the switch from one holiday to the next, I breathe deeply at the sight of a clear, clean mantle. This feeling seems to translate to our lives as well. We yearn to clear and reset the “mantle” of our lives especially if we are feeling overwhelmed.
And yet, so many of us as women feel boxed in by our present commitments and schedules. Feeling overwhelmed one evening, my husband said 11 words that stopped me dead in my tracks. Here they are: “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.” Yes, that’s right; you can enjoy your life and make changes as needed. Here’s how to begin.
Reflect on your job.
We have to make money. But how are you going about it? Does your job leave you feeling depressed and depleted? What do you wish you could do? What steps can you take to get there?
Reflect on your “extra” volunteer commitments.
What are you doing in your free time? How are you giving your time to your community, schools, church, or neighbors? Is it taking up all of your free time, or is it a good balance? Is there a volunteer commitment you can cut?
Reflect on your kid/family commitments and extra-curriculars.
What classes and teams are your kids signed up for? Are they all necessary? Which ones have given your kids (and family) the most rewards? Is there one commitment that causes you to feel overwhelmed? Are there any extra-curriculars you could live without?
Reflect on your self-care.
Do you listen to your own desires and needs, or just the needs of everyone around you? Are you taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Do you often feel overwhelmed? What is one thing you can do this week to take better care of yourself?
Do you listen to your own desires and needs, or just the needs of everyone around you?
Reflect on what fuels you.
What do you look forward to doing? Does your job make you feel proud? What inspires you? What gives you the energy to take on the day’s challenges? If you’re not sure, keep a journal on these things over the next two weeks and see what arises. How can you work these things into your daily, weekly, or even monthly routine?
Now let me clarify “anything you don’t want to do.” Obviously, there are some things we just have to do as parents. We don’t want to take our kids to get flu shots or unclog the toilet again, but we have to do those things. I am referring here to the overall structure of our days, taking steps toward thinking about how we’re spending our time, and knowing that we do have control over it.
So share with us: What do you want to do? What do you look forward to doing?