A few months ago, I ran into an aquaintence at a class party and we struck up a conversation. Well, if you can call it that. What we actually did was compare which one of us had more going on in our lives. Like it was a badge of honor to be the busiest mom, or to be the most tired.
The conversation started simply enough. I asked her how she was doing and she replied that she was tired. That’s pretty typical, because most moms are tired! Still, when I tried to continue the conversation, she kept interrupting with how much she had going on. “I’m just so busy,” she kept exclaiming, as we tried to enjoy the party for the kids. Eventually, I realized that she wasn’t interested in discussing anything other than being tired and busy, so the conversation fizzled. She wandered off, and I overheard hear having the same conversation with another mom. The only difference is that the other mom seemed to enjoy it, and egg on an almost competitive dialogue. I sat there for a minute and listened to them compare their to-do lists, like they each wanted to prove their worth to the other.
That dialogue opened my eyes.
Ever since that day, I have noticed this exact same contest going on in all of my friend circles. I’ve been guilty of it, too! we have this need to prove that we are busy. we are tying our own self-worth up in how tired we are. It’s become a cultural norm to be tired all the time! I just can’t accept that anymore. At least not for myself.
I know first hand what happens without adequate rest.
A few years ago, I thought I was really smart, because I’d mastered the “art” of not sleeping, in an effort to have more time to work. I mean, I slept, but not like I should. I stayed up late, woke up early, and had somany commitments during the day that I’d start to unravel if I hit any sort of speed bump. My life was planned to the minute. My anxiety was through the roof. I was so emotionally fragile that the wrong glace would put me into tears.
This was a typical week of my life 2 years ago.
And then, it got worse. For the first time in years, I got so sick that I couldn’t get out of bed. I didn’t have time to be sick, but here I was, unable to get out of bed for 2 weeks. I realized then that I needed to take better care of myself. I needed to learn to say “no,” and protect my time.
Something had to change.
Over the next year, I made it a priority to take better care of myself. some of my commitmets had to go, so I started walking away from things that didn’t serve my biggest goals. I learned to say “no,” and even had to say it to things that I thought were really worthwhile!
It was really hard sometimes, because I like saying “yes.” What I learned, though, is that I now had more time and energy to say yes to the things that really mattered the most. My family, my goals, and my health.
Looking back, my life looks a lot different now. I don’t live my life in a state of high anxiety. My days aren’t jam-packed, and I don’t stress the little things anymore.
That’s why I couldn’t relate to the mom at the party that wanted to compare to-do lists! Mine no longer consumes my life.
Being tired all the time is not normal, so don’t settle for that.
Society might want to make us believe that it’s normal to be tired all the time, but it’s really not. The reason it happens is because we are over-commited, over-scheduled, and under-rested.
If you want to break free from this cycle of being tired, you’ll have to take charge of your life.
Prioritize your goals, and figure out what is most important to you. Everything you do in any given day should serve those goals. If they don’t, it might not be the right time to say “yes,” to that particular commitment.
When the time isn’t right, that means you need to practice saying “no,” more. Sometimes, you might have to say “no,” to something you really want to do, but if it doesn’t serve your goals, it is taking away from them. I know that’s really hard to hear, because I went through it, too.
I had to walk away from a school garden I helped build, a business I’d devoted years to, and a lot of volunteer work that I loved. It was really hard, because those were all really good things. Sometimes, though, we have to say “no,” to really good things, in order to make room for the best things.
Don’t settle for being tired and overscheduled. You can control what you allow into your life and what you walk away from. Is there anything you’re commited to right now that is taking away from your big goals?