As I type this, I am barefoot at the beach. It’s a beautiful, warm day, in sunny Los Angeles and the smog is almost invisible. The singing birds are flying overhead and the sound of the ocean waves, is beyond relaxing. As I breathe in the salty sea air, I am brought back to a time when- OK, OK, I’m not at the beach! But, in my mind, I really, really want to be. That counts for something, right??
You see, I have this “challenge” with, well, yeah, to be honest, A LOT of things. But, who’s counting? For the sake of this particular article, I have to admit, I find it extremely difficult to take a day off, or any time off at all, and to really just take time for myself. I don’t mean that I NEVER do anything for myself, I do budget in regular facials, mani/pedi’s and the very occasional massage, duh, but I mean, really take a day for me. The kind of day, where I shut my phone off, shut my laptop, (BAHAHAH!!! Who am I kidding, this never happens,), and just bask in the beauty of nature, take a nap or dive into a good book. That idea is so foreign to me. And as much as I talk and write about really doing the things you enjoy, and how important they are, I find it harder to actually practice what I preach; in this particular area.
Looking back, I think it all started when I was 3. I was in ballet class, gymnastics, choir and, I hate to say it, baby pageants. Ugh. I rarely had down time as a kid. And, even when I did, I would stay in the bath until my fingers and toes were all raisin, wrinkly and, though I was super sleepy, I forced myself to stay awake longer. I hated nap time, never wanted to go to bed at night, and during ballet class, I would find ways to stay after class, just to have more time to dance around the room. Alright, this is probably not completely the reason, but it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! And, it didn’t help that my mother was/is, ALWAYS on the go! This amazing woman, can’t even sit through an entire dinner, without getting up to do something for someone else. She is the non-stop, shop til you drop, cooking, cleaning, sewing, crafty, artsy, help everyone before she helps herself, type of gal who puts herself last……wait a minute- OMG! I just realized I am her carbon copy!!!!! I am my mother! I AM MY MOTHER! AHHHHH (Breathe, breathe, breathe.)
And we’re back! After putting my head between my knees for about 15 minutes, I am able to stop hyperventilating and feel much better. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my momma! She is a huge inspiration to me and I am actually very thankful, to have even a fraction of her spirit and kindness. But, it does bring me back to the topic of ME time and why it’s so difficult for me! I never realized, as obvi as it is now, how much growing up in a home where your female role model is ALL about doing things for others, AND, having a full schedule, from a very early age, can lead to the non-stop, desire to do more, more, more and help everyone I can, as often as I can! All while, remembering to nurture my own needs, foster my own desires and, the fact that there are only 24 hours, in a day. This is always one tiny detail, I seem to…ignore…er I mean, forget.
I took a workshop once, where we had to do what she called a “time exercise”. We had to time every second/minute of our day. From, clocking how much time it took to get out of bed, pee, brush our teeth, eat, workout, work, and pretty much ANY activity we did, (yup, any), in a 24 hour period of time. This exercise was to help us, master our time. The idea was, that if we knew how much time we were actually spending/wasting on being, “busy”, working etc, then it would be much easier for us to gauge how much time we actually needed in a day, in order to accomplish all of the things we set out to do. Let me just say that not only, did I, according to this exercise, need a 36 hour day in order to do the 150 things I put on my to do list, BUT, I also realized I spend WAY too much time on social media, and that the reason that I needed such a long day, was because I wasn’t AT ALL being as productive as I thought I was. (Oh, and oddly, that when I was allowing myself to feel overwhelmed, that I would walk in the kitchen and open my fridge AND I would grab food, even when I was not hungry.. WTH?!)
In conclusion, I will say that what I have realized in the last several months, is yet another, learning lesson, for me. I think, it’s okay to want to work, a lot, help others, a lot, and even spend a lot of time, working. But time mastery, having a schedule and remembering that I have the tools, and the power, to take the much needed time out for myself, every day/week/month/year. And I for one, and not giving myself any more excuses! Also, I realized, that I can’t really afford not to take care of myself. If there is anything that I hate more than feeling depleted, it’s when it starts to affect my work and those around me. Let’s face it. No one wants the half ass work, or company of a burnt out person. It’s not fun, productive or someone I want to be/become.
So, here’s to driving to the beach, sans, laptop, for real, turning off my phone, taking a day off, putting myself first, enjoying/living my life and day drinking! Sorry, I got way too excited. Maybe minus the day drinking…I said maybe.
Live, Love, Laugh, and take care of YOU, first!
Article by Burgandi Trejo Phoenix