Maximum Overload! I've hit the breaking point and am taking a time out to ask myself some questions in a search for balance in my life.
I'm usually a pretty mellow person, at least that's what I like to think of myself. I have so much to be grateful for...the beautiful view outside my back door, healthy kids who happen to make me laugh more than not, and a career that allows me to pursue my passion and work from home.
But lately I'm a nervous wreck. The smallest things are pushing me over the edge. I have so many balls in the air that I'm scrambling at all hours of the day and find it difficult to put the phone down for even five minutes. The last thing I see before sleep is my Twitter feed--usually as I'm tucked in bed with the lights off. The first thing I do in the morning is check my messages--always before my feet even hit the floor.
Today alone I had over 1000 emails. No, that's not a misprint; it's a combination of three accounts, personal, author, and editorial.
It's not working out too well. Even writers who do what we love for a living can get burnt out. As the saying goes...everything in moderation. A few weeks ago I considered leaving this business all together because I sometimes feel I'm addicted to it. That's not a good feeling, especially when I've worked my entire life to attain this level of success. Give it up now? There must be an alternative.
I used to be a person who led a balanced life. I had a set routine of exercise, work, play, relax. I laughed a lot more than I do now, that's for sure. I also felt better--lighter in spirit.
Beginning today, I'm asking myself the following questions and making changes that will bring balance back to my life. What would your answers to the same questions be? Answer them with me so I don't feel like a lunatic. You can share your answers in the comment section, but only if you feel like doing so.
- What is my main priority every day? Well, work is the first thing that comes to mind, but there's a problem with that response. You see, at the moment, I work seven days a week. I need another main priority. Instead of answering with an action like work or exercise, I'm going to say that feeling content is my main priority every day. Contentment beats stressed so I'll aim for that!
- What is no longer working for me? Too much social media. I can't handle all the noise in the world. Sometimes I feel so exhausted from dealing with drama between other authors that I don't have energy to write. When I don't have energy to write, I become agitated. Writing, I love. Chatting in author groups, not so much.
- What do I want to bring into my life? Ease and joy. Hey, I'm an author...life should be easier than this, right? When I say ease, I'm referring to the struggle I feel every day with competing tasks vying for my attention. I need to prioritize my commitments, push social media to the sidelines, and remember that life can be easy if I make it so.
- What is going on in my life that is terrific and wonderful? (I never ask myself that question so thought I'd give it a go to change my perspective a bit.) My career is outstanding. All four books are doing well, readers are fun to connect with, and I have more projects releasing soon. The kids are healthy, smart, and annoying--typical teenagers.
- How healthy am I? Not very. I had a health scare last week that's been a wake up call and reinforces the idea that I need to change the way I do things.
- What do I want to do more of that I'm not doing now? Travel. I used to travel a lot and now I'm obsessed with working. Travel used to be my way of connecting with other people and with my travel partners. Weekend getaways were the norm, now not so much. Okay, yeah, I'm sensing a theme. I hope you're answering these questions, too! Oh, and I'd like to socialize more. I used to have girls' night every month, but now I've allowed that to slip away, too.
- What image do I want to project? I want to project an image of a successful, healthy, fit, peaceful, and happy woman. Considering the fact that I went to the kids' high school wearing pink pajama pants, no make-up, and my hair in a twist, I think I need to work on that. My image today was more frazzled, sloppy, and floppy.
- Am I willing to let go? Ooo...hard question. Yes, I am. I think my stress is coming from holding on too tightly to everything rather than surrendering to the flow. No, I can't control everything. I need to accept that, focus on what's changeable, and let the rest go.
I know when I'm stressed. Despite seeing all the signs, I refused to stop and take a breath. We all know our boiling points. We all know our stress triggers. It's learning to use those signs to help us that's the challenge.
I don't want to be that person who's glued to their social networks, who refuses invitations to play because it might mean not returning an email right away, or becomes that boring person who only has work to keep her company on Saturday night.
I know how I want to feel inside...that's what's most important. I want to feel relaxed, content, confident, and secure. Perhaps if I achieve that feeling, I'll go from sloppy and floppy to stylish and fabulous!
What about you? Care to share any of your answers to the above questions?