How to Avoid Running on "E"
I just returned from a much-needed girls getaway in St. Louis, MO. where my friends and I enjoyed a day full of laughter, love, food, and spa treatments. This mini-break from my usual “mom and wife” routine came just in the nick of time. I came home refreshed, restored, and equipped to get the victory over the laundry, slay some homework, and make some magic happen with my main squeeze.
If you’re like most ladies, you’re on the grind every day too and may be “running on fumes” just like I was! So, as a special treat for you, we have a new post by a guest columnist that will fill you up! This week on the blog, Behavioral Health Consultant, Christel Lankford, MSW, LCSW shares her secrets for how to avoid Running on Empty.
Feeling stressed out? Drained? Frazzled? Join the club! It’s easy to become overwhelmed. Family responsibilities, work demands, and the "curveballs of life" can leave any woman running on “E”. Yet, even though most of us know this, we refuse to surrender to imperfection. We understand that being a woman is hard, so we make up our minds to win the game of life at all costs. We try to dodge a few of the balls coming at us, hit some, and sometimes even manage to knock a few out of the park! Then, when we aren’t looking, one hits us right between the eyes and BOOM, knocks us off our feet. These hits are the hardest to come back from because we don’t see them coming, and are in no way prepared for them. They knock us off balance and leave us dazed and confused.
Stress and burnout are much like that in most women’s lives. One day we’re charging ahead at top speed, and the next we’re flat on our backs too exhausted to move. We all get frustrated, overwhelmed and stressed out, but we all handle it differently. One thing that is quite common among women, however, is our tendency to internalize these feelings. Often, we are so busy making sure that everyone else is okay, that we forget to take care of our own needs.
Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way. Even though I’m a working woman, my world revolved around my daughter. My every thought was related to what she needed, what she wanted, or where she needed to be. Her practices, games, birthday parties, clubs, activities, and events filled my calendar. Although my daughter was thriving, I was wasting away. I only have one child, and it was exhausting, so I can only imagine what some of you guilty mamas of 2 or more are going through. The thought alone exhausts me!
Eventually, I learned a hard lesson. I had to take time for myself in order to succeed (even at taking care of my daughter), but it took a total mind change to get there (which I want to share with you).
Fill Her Up
Imagine that your body is a car. Most likely, you take your car for oil changes, car washes, and fill-ups regularly. You do these things because you want it to look and run great. You also know that if you don’t do these things, your car won’t look very good or last very long! Well, your body needs that same kind of care. Annual checkups, exercise, grooming, and hygiene are essential to ensure that it looks its best and that you get the best performance from it for many years to come.
And, what's the most important thing that keeps our cars going every day? GAS! Both your body and your mind need FUEL just like your car does. If you keep driving around town and never stop to refill, you will run out of gas. Similarly, if we keep giving of ourselves to everyone else and never put anything back in, soon we have no more to give. When we have no steam left, we become overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, ineffective, and quite frankly, no fun to be around. An empty car gets nowhere fast!
The best way to avoid running on empty is (surprise): REFUEL! Set aside 30 minutes each day to do something that brings YOU joy; something that makes YOU and only YOU happy. It can be anything - reading a book, going for a walk, soaking in a hot bath, going to the gym, catching up with girlfriends, or listening to your favorite music uninterrupted. Let people around you know that you will be fueling up for 30 minutes each day and ask for their support. Block out the time for yourself on your calendar and DON’T accept any interruptions. This can be difficult with kids, so choose a time before they wake up, after they go to bed, or on your drive home from work. After a few days, your spirits will lift, and your happiness will soar.
Ladies, we have many miles to go and a lot of ground still left to travel……so don’t forget to fill your tanks! Your body, mind, and soul will thank you.
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