By Elizabeth de Moraes
“When am I going to learn I can’t do it all?!? I never have enough time, am crazy-busy and have to be so many things for so many people. If someone else wants a piece of me I will explode!”
Does this text I received from an exhausted and overwhelmed working mom sound familiar? We, as women, often find that we live our lives for others, putting ourselves last and over-committing, with the result of wearing our busy-ness as a badge of honor. We can often cover ourselves in guilt for not doing enough and feel beaten down with the idea that there is never enough time. As a result of putting ourselves last, we become depleted and resentful because we aren’t living our lives as fully as possible, in line with our true priorities. Putting ourselves first feels selfish, when, in actuality, it is the opposite.
I invite you to start thinking that putting ourselves first is the most unselfish act.
When we do, our reserves become refilled, we have more joy in our lives, we are amazing examples to others, and we can fully serve and be present for the ones who we love and who depend on us. We show up for ourselves, and, as a result, are able to fully show up for others. It is my hope that a paradigm shift occurs in our society where we start giving ourselves more self-care and take our lead foot off the accelerator pedal of what I call the ‘Crazy-Busy Bus’ and get off! But how? This is the million dollar question and I have some answers for you!
Are you ready to start changing the negative narrative and start empowering yourself with simple, yet profound actions toward more balance, joy and impact on those you love?
As a former ‘busy-ness addict’ I know I was ready for a change when I found myself wrapped up a in a blanket in our backyard having a nervous breakdown! I knew the way I was living was not sustainable and I didn’t want my family ending up having to visit me in an insane asylum in the near future because I went off the deep end!
I invite you to embrace the idea that taking time for yourself and practicing really good self-care is not a guilty luxury.
Like brushing your teeth at least twice a day, feeding your body, mind and spirit with ways to decompress, refresh and re-calibrate are from now on to be a daily non-negotiable. Deal?!? It’s time to ditch the busy-ness and find some ‘me’ time in the midst of what feels like ‘no’ time. At first, this concept might feel uncomfortable, but in no time, you will become the self-care queen in your life, feeling more balanced, plus be a great example to your family and friends! There will be less stress in your life and those around you will start feeling the same!
Here are four of my top, easily integrated tips on creating a more sustainable, THRIVING, healthy body, mind and spirit in the midst of a chaotic world!
1. Pinpoint your priorities. We can often find ourselves in overload because we agree to do things that do not fit within our true priorities. This happens for various reasons that only we can answer. Maybe we are trying to be Super Mom and feel guilty when we don’t create a Pinterest-inspired environment for our family. Maybe we feel we aren’t enough and have to prove ourselves to others and ourselves. Maybe we don’t like confrontation, so we say yes to everyone who asks of time and energy from us. Whatever the reason, it is important to really go back and reflect on one’s top priorities and act primarily from those.
One way to really get clear is to write down your top 5-10 priorities in life and put them in order of importance. As you have probably figured out, I am going to invite you again to make sure and put yourself on the top of the list (for me, this comes after God, but before anyone else.). Remember if you don’t take care of yourself and your beautiful temple you will have nothing to drawn from to give energy to your other priorities.
Once you have determined those top priorities, I like to create a vision board of what I desire for those priorities. This could be filled with pictures, quotes, or writing that show how you envision your life to be in its more beautiful state. Doing so makes it all very visual and can be put out in front of you on a daily basis so that you stay tuned in with what is most important and what you want in life. This will also help you stay focused and will aide you in the following steps!
2. “Calendar Your Life” exercise. One of the most powerful exercises I have personally done and one that I give to my clients is tracking your daily activities. And I mean every activity. This process can feel cumbersome, but I invite you to stick with it as the results become very insightful and powerful. For at least 3 days (though I recommend a week), write in every task that you do in your calendar. If you look at your current calendar you probably see chunks of time that are designated for your appointments. But what about all the extra empty times in between those chunks? Are those filled with clear activities that directly relate to your priorities, or are they filled with extra tasks and unnecessary activities that, as a result, make you feel like you never have enough time to get everything done? We can spend so much time on extra things like checking Facebook and emails (probably multiple times a day), running errands that can be consolidated, or not done at all, PTO meetings that you possibly go to out of obligation, getting lost on Pinterest, or doing things in inefficient ways.
Write out everything. Waking up. Getting ready. Checking Facebook. Getting the kids ready and out the door to school. Cleaning up. Checking Facebook again. Throwing in a load of laundry. Making business calls. Running to the grocery store. Volunteering at your kid’s school. Driving home. Checking Facebook again. You get the picture.
Once you have done this for the designated time you desire, get three highlighters out. With your favorite color, highlight the activities that are in direct alignment with your top priorities. With the second color (and this one might cross over some of the first) mark which activities can be delegated. This means, what can the kids pick up to add to their chores? What might you hire out? Can you hire a cleaning lady to come every two weeks, or so, to help you feel more calm and in a clean environment? Can you get with two other friends and each make triple the amount of a dish each week and then give the other two families the extra portions? You cook once, but have three night’s worth of dinners! Everyone saves time, the kids learn more responsibility and you are calmer!
With the third color, highlight everything that honestly does not fit with your priorities. These are things you need to let go of, or only do at certain points in the day so to consolidate them. I know this can be like pulling teeth as it can be difficult to let go, but it is so worth it, I assure you! Approach it like peeling layers of an onion and do it in stages and it will start feeling better. Look at how you can plan on only looking at Facebook and your emails once, or twice a day. Do you really need to the mom who volunteers for everything, or can you give some of those to others who need to step up the plate? You can do this!
3. Create boundaries around those priorities by having definite ‘yeses’ and ‘nos’. Start becoming aware of what you say yes and no to in your everyday life and see how those reflect your priorities…or not. A great exercise to do is to understand that when you say yes to something you simultaneously say no to something else, and vice versa. For example, when you say yes to staying late at work every night, you say no to getting to have dinner with your family, which a top priority. This is then out of alignment with your priorities and will cause stress for you over time.
The opposite is true, as well. When you say no to staying late, you say yes to being with your family, which goes right in line with what is most precious for you.
So, now it is time to start becoming aware and making conscious choices around your boundaries. As you get to being a pro at boundary creation you will witness a huge shift in your joy and peace of mind! You will truly begin living more in alignment with your values, feel empowered and in more control over your life.
4. Delegate. This is one thing that I still struggle with, but the more I do it the more I see how profound it is on my life, my family and my business. Refer back to your marked up calendar and see about doing some delegating! Again, it will be like peeling layers, but it is SO worth it!
I have to tell you that I felt like I won the lottery when I finally decided to get a cleaning crew to come out and clean the house every two weeks. I grew up thinking that doing so is so unnecessary and over the top. I thought and was taught that I ‘should’ do that myself. Changing this paradigm has seriously rocked my world in an amazing way!
Letting go of control and fear around giving things over to others can be challenging, but I tell you, it will profoundly impact your life in most wonderful ways!
Now it is your turn! Begin to put yourself first and take care of your wonderful self and put into action the above tips! There is only one you and the world needs you to show up as a fully as you can. It is my prayer that you give yourself the gift of YOU so that you can ROCK OUT YOUR LIFE!
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ABOUT ELIZABETH DE MORAES
Elizabeth “Eli” comes to you with decades of entrepreneurial experience in the health and fitness industries. As a Visibility and Success Coach, she combines her knowledge and experience as a trained health coach, a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an accomplished former international professional dancer with multiple Master degrees. All of these greatly and organically influence her approach to how she coaches her amazing, highly driven clients.
After finding herself wrapped in a blanket on the ground in her backyard during a nervous breakdown from too many stressors pulling on her, de Moraes was forced to look inward at her own life and make a change. As a coach, she is passionate about empowering other women across the globe in two stages. She first encourages and guides them to stop living in overwhelm so to create a work-life balance, and then into the second stage of helping them ‘unleash their inner celebrity’™ so that they become the celebrity they desire to become in their life and industry. She can take you from feeling lost and invisible in your life and business to vibrant and ‘camera-ready’ for your next life and career appearance, making a bigger impact in the world.
“Eli’s methods are the things you can start doing right now and then become your new way of living. This will become your handbook, your journal, and your personal guide to getting yourself on track and how to stay there.” –Tay Devereaux Hutchison, Vice President – Senior Training Manager, Dallas resident and mother of two.
She currently lives in the Dallas area with her husband and two daughters in a house they built across the street from a farmers market. She hosts a monthly local TV show about the market, the community gardens, & her city’s sustainability efforts. In addition to loving sitting on her huge porch swing and seeing her coaching clients, she is passionate about teaching yoga and Pilates to provide a holistic approach to the whole person.
Her mantra: Life is too long to live in agony and too short to waste away, so let’s go and THRIVE!