Are you feeling reactive, emotional, stressed out and tired? Are your shoulders hunched up around your ears, or is your low back twanging in disagreement? Do you find yourself living with a pernicious penchant for caffeine, sweets and carbs?
These are some of the ways that the body cries for help, and are just some of the symptoms of living in an imbalanced, hyper stressed state. Stress may present very differently for you, but it has been well documented that all aspects of the body from hormone production and digestion, to immune function and metabolism are affected.
There is a message inside that stress if you can slow down enough to listen. Maybe it is saying something like, "No matter how much I do, I will never get it all done," or, "If I don't do it myself it won't get done, or won't be good enough." What is the belief you are holding in that tension?
What is good enough for today?
Often people come into coaching with a stew. There are the unfinished projects and unfulfilled aspirations, along with a mod podge of proud achievements and accolades plus a sprinkle or more of doubt, concern or worry. There is always this urgency, this hunger of wanting it all now. This is understandable and something I can relate to, but what is possible NOW? Today?
I like the metaphor of construction. How do you proceed to build a sturdy building? Do you haphazardly throw it all together in one day, or do you first dig the foundation, pour the concrete, lay the stones, etc. etc.?
The "To Don't Do List"
Scratch the To Do List, Make a "To Don't Do List"... I DARE You! For the overachiever, this might feel daunting or might feel wildly good and rebellious! I challenge you to ONLY commit to the few things that you absolutely must and will get done today, and let the rest go for today.
What are you saying YES to?
By saying No to one thing, you are making the time and space to say Yes to something else. It could be a Yes to better self-care, a Yes to rest, a Yes to more fun, a Yes to deepening friendships... shall I go on? Along these lines, what would you like to say YES to? What areas of your life could use a little sprucing up, a little love and attention?
You know that saying, "If you keep doing the same thing, you'll keep getting the same results,"? What is stopping you from getting the rest you so need and deserve? If you are finding yourself in a feedback loop of endless thoughts when you hit the pillow, it might be time to look at your patters and routines. If social media and the latest news headlines get you all riled up, it might be time to take a little break, limiting the amount of time you spend online, or making sure not to watch the news right before bed. If you are someone who feels compelled to jump out of bed in the middle of the night to finally make that breakthrough in your work, keep a notebook by the bed and jot down your idea but save the execution of it for tomorrow.
Mothers of small children know well the wisdom of having a bedtime routine. Settling yourself with a warm bath or shower, a good book, some gentle stretching or do whatever it is that helps you unwind and be gentle with yourself.
Your Challenge, should you choose to accept it
I challenge you to get at least 8 hours of sleep tonight, especially if you are someone not accustomed to this much sleep. Try it, and see what that is like. You already know what time you need to be up the next day, so what time do you need to get to bed to make this a reality? Do the math and count back a half hour to make up for the winding down period.
It's all about striking a balance between your ambition and your self care. One directly feeds the other. What is possible when your body has a chance to rest and recover? It is amazing, just wait and you'll see!
Melissa Eppard lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley, NY area with her young son and talented musician husband. After overcoming breast cancer in her mid-30's, she knows that nothing is guaranteed in life. As a Personal Life Coach she has made it her mission to ignite the spark of purposeful living and creative fire in everyone she meets. www.MelissaEppardCoaching.com