I don’t know about you, but life is busy! When you’re trying to balance work, school, relationships, family, friends, running, eating well, (insert your own activities here…), and, what? Taking care of myself? Uff. It is difficult to know which way to turn! It is difficult to feel like I’m doing a good job! Where should I choose to focus my limited time and energy?
So here’s the essential question? How do you know when to take a break and when to push yourself? How do you decide when taking a break would make you (look like? feel like? what’s that worry about, anyways?) a wuss, and when that break is actually necessary? How do you know when what you need is to bite the bullet and motive yourself – and when continuing to push will overwhelm you and result in getting sick? At what point do you stop and put on your own oxygen mask before helping others? And how do you tell yourself it is ok to stop to take care of yourself when there are so many things to do??? This is not an easy one to answer! Lately I’ve felt productive and proud of myself for all I’m doing and pleased with lots of choices I’m making; but then I also feel like there are so many more things that I need to, and want to, get to – yikes!
I had an internal debate and came to a conclusion you might recognize: “Everything is important! Nothing can give! Even rest! And I can’t let anyone down!” Well… that’s not going to work, is it? Since I couldn’t decide myself, I started looking for inspiration online. I looked at information about motivation and about taking a break. I read lots of quotes that supported one side or the other. And I still felt that something was missing.
We, as a culture, say it is good to achieve, to push, to keep trying, to never give up. We, as a culture, at least pay lip service to the idea that we need to take care of ourselves – time for activities or rest that support us. We say that it is good to take a break. These two things seem in conflict to me. And have you ever wanted a break and felt that you’re not actually allowed to take that break?
There’s plenty to think about here. For now I’m going to leave the issue of societal pressure alone. The biggest reason for this is that we can only control ourselves.
I think that what it comes down to is that we want to work and act at a level that is our best all the time. It definitely isn’t possible to be the best all the time. It also isn’t even possible to be our best all the time! And we all have more to do (whether we want, need, or have to do those things) than we can truly fit in to our time. If we don’t approach this with a grain of salt, we’ll either drive ourselves into the ground, convince ourselves that we are not good enough (or are doing it wrong), stop trying because it is too difficult, or some combination of some or all of these.
So, what can we do about it? Come back next week to see, when I continue this blog!
In the meantime, may I suggest contemplating the conflict between wanting to be our best all the time and knowing that isn’t actually possible? If you’d like a partner working out this contradiction, give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378. Our counselors are ready and excited to engage with you in individual counseling, teen counseling, couples counseling, family counseling, or life coaching to discover what is best for you!
Yours in this busy world, Krista Bringley