Have you ever had a week that is just ridiculously hectic?
A few weeks back, I signed up for the 'Balance Challenge' by Kara Layne. My life had been getting more and more imbalanced, I knew I would have to adapt the challenge to suit my health issues.
I found myself, several weeks into the challenge scheduling a crazy impossible week for someone with my health difficulties.
I was busy during the day - every day, I was out every evening, every minute seemed to be scheduled and all week I felt like I was running ten minutes behind. Half way through the week I could feel my health starting to lag. I had barely seen my husband and I was physically, emotionally, and mentally drained. He was aware that my health was struggling and prescribed me time off.
I spent the following week in bed, feeling shaky, muscle pain - the works. (Well apart from what I had already scheduled in!)
I had done way too much, half way through the crazy busy week I recognised I was doing too much but I had committed and didn't want to let people down and I didn't want to miss out, so I continued.
As a result, I had run myself into the ground and boy was I feeling it.
This isn't a situation I normally find myself in. Usually I am pretty good about scheduling my time, planning my weeks so there is flexibility and time for me to breathe. But the last couple of months it seems to have been getting out of control. I felt like that crazy person spinning plates on sticks, I was managing the plates but then added more and more and more - eventually they all came crashing down around me.
As I reflected on the past couple of months, trying to work out what had gone wrong, I realised I had done one thing differently.
I had failed to live by my one important rule, failed to apply my secret weapon.
Like most good secret weapons, it's one that was taught to me by my Mum.
Plan 'Me Time'.
As I assessed my week, I realised that all the activities were worthwhile, I was helping people, teaching people, focusing on their needs. I found myself saying 'yes', over and over again. My diary was filling up, and things were getting harder to squeeze in but squeeze them in I did.
The following week the phone calls and requests continued.
I hate saying 'no'. I want to say yes as often as I can.
It feels so selfish to schedule time for yourself.
But for my health, my wellbeing and my sanity it is essential.
Here's another secret - date nights don't count as 'me time'.
Date nights are spent with my wonderful hubby; we might go out, we might stay in. It is couple time. Time to strengthen our relationship, to talk, to enjoy being us.
Me time is for me alone. It's time to catch up with rubbish TV, to paint my nails, to read a book. It's an opportunity for me to be creative, to take photos, to read blog posts, to pursue hobbies, to feel rejuvenated.
My secret is to schedule in a day or an evening a week for 'me'. Physically write it in to the diary. Block out that section. If someone asks if you are free you apologise and let them know you're busy but you can do another day.
The hard part is learning to not feel guilty about that.
It is recognising that you are important and if you don't schedule time for you, it won't happen.
It is preventing yourself from becoming the crazy plate spinning lady, the person who constantly looks frazzled and on the brink of a melt down.
So from now on the 'Me Time' gets scheduled first!