Maybe instead of forcing ourselves to relax, we need to take a look at why we feel the need to stay busy!?!
When I worked a 9-5, it meant 2 days off from my J.O.B…2 days to unwind and relax! But was that really true? More often than not, I just exchanged one form of work for 17 others…I would close my work emails and get busy with the neglected to-do list of my other job…my life.
Now that I run my own business…it’s harder to define “days off” and for the first few years as an entrepreneur, I worked more than I ever had!
Do we ever really have a day off?
Whether our work hours are clearly defined, or more flexible, is there a time when we can truly say we have a “day off”? What are we really asking for? A day off from what exactly?
Some people might say that taking a vacation is time off…but who’s kidding who…if you’re like me…planning and executing a vaca as a parent of littles is WORK (even if they aren’t coming with you). You take the first 3 days of your “week off” to slow your body & mind down enough to enjoy half a minute, only to have it ramp back up again in anticipation of all the catching up on life that will need to be done when you get home… and it feels like work.
Are you with me on this?
Have you been struggling to figure out what a day off really is? Have you wondered how this relaxing thing people keep telling you to do, actually works? Have you heard yourself say…
“I’ll have time to relax as soon as I…INSERT TO-DO HERE”
Ohhhh honey I get you!!!!
And the first thing we need to acknowledge is that there are NO DAYS OFF FROM YOUR LIFE!
There will always be “work” to do, so how do you go about actually carving out time for and creating more JOY without the shoulds, guilt or monkey mind that reminds you how much you’ll have to make up for because you took time off from all your responsibilities?
The answer is not in “typical” self-care (although that can totally help)
The answer is in redefining the hats you wear, understanding your own behaviours (aka how you perceive and handle stress) delegating & boundaries (oh yeah baby), along with practicing self-trust and noticing glimmers (more on glimmers later!)
Think about it…most things that are new and challenge your model of the world, are just that…challenging (some might even use the word hard).
And here’s what I know…
You, in your everyday “managing all-the-things” life, face and overcome hard things every F’N day… Often to
1 – Help others achieve their goals
2 – Ensure the peace is kept
3 – Prevent chaos by planning for every possible outcome & keeping things organized
Now let’s reframe some of these survival skills
Instead of negating all you do under the one-liner…
“It’s no big deal…it’s just what a “insert one of the hats you wear” does.”
Acknowledge that you’ve mastered the skill of figuring shit out, you are a fast learner who can read people and situations, you try new things and you can prioritize a long list of to-dos like a MF.
And what if you used all of these amazing skills to achieve the goal of enjoying a day away from work, or dare I say it, to enjoy every day?
I know you’ve built a hefty skill set to protect yourself and to get through life, now use those exact same skills to connect yourself to what matters most and experience way more JOY in the process.
So…How do you actually do that?
The short answer…practice putting YOU 1st!
The long answer (which I will try to keep short) is that to truly figure out how to experience more joy you need to first identify and come to understand the behaviours, feelings, thoughts and beliefs that are giving you the results you currently have.
Yes we can look around at the problems you’re experiencing, the people getting in your way, the barriers and obstacles preventing you from being happy, but looking at the problem won’t solve it. Understanding how you deal with the problem, how you respond to it, is the key to unlocking more joy.
You don’t control people, the environment or any situation outside of you, and trying to change those things in hopes that it will make you feel better is exhausting. The 1 and only thing you do control and own outright, is HOW you respond.
And the good news is…
Taking responsibility for how you respond is something you can practice and get good at.
What that looks like in real life…
1 – Notice your current behaviours, feelings, thoughts and beliefs – What do you perceive to be the problems in your life and how do you normally deal with them? This can be all you do for days or weeks…simply taking time out of your day to notice what has been unconscious for so long.
2 – Play with idea of doing, feeling & thinking (responding) differently – The key word here is PLAY, this is about entertaining new ideas, being willing to explore the concept of being a beginner. This may take some getting used to.
3 – Practice responding differently – Actually do (feel,think) something different than you’ve always done…this may (ok…will) feel a bit uncomfortable, so remember, you’re just playing around.
The goal is to experience more joy and because you don’t have a habit of doing that yet…it will take some time.
At the beginning of this email I asked you if being busy felt more comfortable than relaxing…and let me be clear…being busy is not a bad thing. Achieving goals and living your best life takes time, effort and energy.
What is not healthy is ignoring and shutting down your body’s need for rest because it feels unsafe to stop moving.
The drive to stay busy no matter what, to always be in pursuit of the next thing before the last one is even finished, to be on the lookout for the next problem to deal with, is directly related to our habit of putting ourselves last.
This habit may have been built in any number of ways from simply having it modelled to us by the adults of influence in our lives to learning how to protect ourselves at all costs due to trauma.
No matter how you ended up with the habit of putting YOU last…the key to experiencing real relaxation and more joy in your life, is to build a brand new habit!
Building the habit of putting YOU 1st is a unique and empowering journey, that no two people do in the same way. What is universal however, are the very specific skills (aka types of responses) acquired and used along the way.
If you’re curious about what these skills are (many of which you likely already have) and how you can use them to relax and experience more JOY, book a chat with me.
You’ve Got This + I’ve Got You!
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