Happy Friday, friends! I’m thrilled this jam packed week is coming to a close. Brandon jetted off bright and early this morning for a guy’s weekend in Montreal, so I’ve got the apartment to myself and a long to do list to tackle in preparation for our trip to Italy.
So last week, in my wrap up post from my vacation in Cape Cod, I shared same major realizations I had during the trip. In short, I recognized I was doing a lot of negative thinking and putting a ton of unnecessary pressure on myself when it comes to my work. The thing is, I’ve felt a lot of guilt about my decision to work for myself. In some ways I’ve felt like it’s somewhat selfish to take this big risk. I know that sounds crazy but I know myself, and this pattern of thinking doesn’t really surprise me so much.
Around the age of five my parents separated. Shortly after they broke the news to me, they took me to see a therapist. I remember very little of those sessions, but what the therapist told my parents was that in reaction to the divorce, I was “parentifying.” I was trying to take care of everyone else but myself. Even from a young age, I’ve always had the tendency to feel the need to take of other people. I am by no means trying to make myself sound like a saint here- it’s less about actually caring for people and more about placing this huge guilt trip on myself that I am the one who is responsible- I’m the one who has to make sure everyone is ok.
So when it comes to work and making money/planning for the future, I feel at times I should choose a path that’s more secure so that my family, my kids, and my husband can have the best life possible. Yeah- this is the craziness that goes on in my head.
But what the trip made me realize, was not only how crazy that thinking was, but that if I didn’t take care of myself first (on all fronts), I was no good to other people. If I wasn’t feeling healthy, happy and balanced, it didn’t really matter what I was doing- I couldn’t be best self for my family and friends.
So, what have I been doing to turn all this thinking around? A few things:
- First, just being more conscious of these thoughts has brought the pressure down a lot. Realizing that I didn’t want to do this to myself has pretty much made me stop, and overall I’m feeling a whole lot less guilty about choosing to work for myself.
- Sleep: Because of the whole feeling like I need to be working all the time, my sleep was really suffering. No matter how tired I was or how late I went to bed, my internal alarm clock would go off around 6 a.m. (meaning I usually slept between 6 and 6 1/2 hours), and my mind would begin racing, thinking about all the things I needed to do that day (even if I wasn’t that busy). I was worn out. I couldn’t exactly force myself stay asleep longer, so I thought about what I could do to not feel so filled with dread when I went to sleep at night. I loved reading before I went to bed so I decided that on any day I woke up before my alarm, I would just read. The idea of snuggling up on our couch in the early morning with a good book felt so nice! I wasn’t so scared to wake up early, and low and behold, my rising time quickly shifted to 7:30. Some days it’s been a little earlier, and some days a little later- but now any time I wake up before 8 a.m., I read. It’s been wonderful.
- Slowing Down: I’m one of those people that likes to walk fast everywhere I’m going- whether I’m in a rush or not (I blame my mother for this!). This tendency tends to spread into every aspect of my life, making me feel like I’m always in a rush. On the one hand, I do like to be busy and moving throughout the day, but the go go go tendency was having a negative effective. I was feeling infuriated with how long things like going to the gym, making dinner, or walking to my co-working space would take- even though I enjoy doing those things. So I’ve been more conscious of making myself slow down, be patient, and lower my expectations for how much I can truly get done in a day- and without feeling like I have in some way failed.
Have a talked your ear off enough? I think I’ll stop there, though I could go on forever. These, as well as some other changes which I’ll share later in the month, have really made a difference in my mood. I feel much more balanced, and overall, happier. And it all stemmed from my vacation! Clearly, I need to do that more often.
Have a great weekend!