“I’m exhausted all of the time, and all I seem to do is live to work – I feel like a hamster in a wheel.”
“I leave home early to go to work and by the time I get home it’s late, I’m tired and just want to grab something to eat, so dinner’s rushed and uninspiring – or if it’s really late I just dial for a takeaway because that’s easier.
Even when I finally sit down to eat (if I do sit down) I can’t switch off because the thoughts of all the things I need to do tomorrow are going round and round in my head. Remember to send that email, call that guy back, arrange for the kids to get to sport, book the dentist, post that card, and get the food shopping…..
To try and block out the chatter in my head I grab a glass of wine or two and try and relax by veg’ing out watching mindless cr*p on Netflix before collapsing into bed – late again!
Why is it that other people seem to have time to do what they love? Yoga, walks on the beach, playing with paint and creating something special, having a great time with their kids, cooking great food and having friends round to dinner, lying in the sun reading a favourite book….
My life is just not like that, and when I think about all the things I am missing out on it just makes me cry. Life is no fun anymore; I can’t remember the last time I laughed. I mean really laughed. That kind of uncontrollable laughter that makes your face ache makes your mascara run or laughing so hard you think you may just pee yourself.”
The problem is we never have enough time for ourselves. In this fast paced world of DO MORE, WORK MORE, HAVE MORE, BE MORE … So much to do and so little time.
We try to do everything, and be everything and to be frank most of us are failing at it.
I know how this works first hand. I remember getting up at 6am, out of the house by 6.45am. I’d grab a coffee and a muffin before getting on the bus ‘to get me going for the day’. Then straight into work, phone calls, emails and endless meetings.
By 6.30pm I’d think sh*t I should head home. So I’d be back on the bus and home by 7.30pm exhausted. I’d order a curry which I would finally eat by 9pm. My mind would still be whirring from the day and the endless ‘to do list’ “damn it I forgot to do … I’ll just send a quick email…”
If I was lucky I would get the chance to watch some tv to numb the overwhelm then bed by 11.30pm. A poor night’s sleep, too full of heavy food, no exercise, no fun, mind too busy – wake up exhausted, and repeat…
You may be working for yourself or for someone else, either way it is really easy to let your job take up too much of your mental space. You may be a parent too which comes with so much more responsibility – do you ever find yourself exhausted and wondering “When is it my time to have a rest, have fun and play – to be the me I used to be?”
When will you decide enough is enough? It took a health scare when my blood pressure hit 200/100 to make me change.
I took stock of my life, and began starting and finishing work on time. I turned off my email notifications and turned my work phone to silent as soon as I left the office.
The pressure I was putting myself under to perform and be seen as doing ‘a good job’ was not worth my physical and mental health.
Things changed at home too. Instead of feeling responsible for making dinner I decided to wait and see what would happen if I just didn’t bother. Declaring I was have some ‘me time’ I would go and lie on the bed and read and relax. And what happened? My other half stepped up, and enjoyed it.
I began scheduling time for myself to learn painting techniques, to play, go out with friends, and have my music on, get some fresh air, go swimming, meditate and sleep. I started to reclaim me.
“But what about work, didn’t it suffer?” No, in fact quite the opposite – my work improved, my attention to detail was better. Motivation was up and my mind was clearer and I was a much happier manager (to the relief of my staff).
So what can you do to get out of the work and no play overwhelm cycle?
Take time to watch what your routine is. How much Me Time do you have and is it enough?
Think about what drives your behaviour
What are you telling yourself, why do you work so hard, why do you not allow yourself time for yourself? Listen to the voice inside and make notes.
Make a decision
If the voice inside is doing you good then great! And if the voice is driving you to behaviour that is not serving you, decide to make a change.
Then make a change
Schedule Me Time into your diary and protect it. Tell your boss you can’t work late or just stop that behaviour. Ask for help. Get to bed earlier. Do what you love, stop scrolling Facebook and turn off Netflix. Do something to feed your inner creative.
I’m not saying this is going to be easy at first, but time is too precious to waste it doing stuff that brings you no joy.
Make some time for yourself and come and join me – I can show you how to reclaim the ‘real playful you’. Book some Me Time now and bring the life you dream of into reality.
Book now for Painting Your Dreams – I’ll see you there!
Auckland event 19th November 2017
Tauranga event 26th November 2017