It shouldn’t have to be a goal. But here we are.
I thought my goal for this month would be to give myself an occasional break from work — to not work from 5:30 to midnight every day, with breaks for family time, but none for “personal” time. To allow myself to indulge in my self-care routines occasionally, and possibly to put the never-ending to-do list on hold and just relax.
But when I stepped back, I saw that the root problem wasn’t merely being a workaholic (thought I admittedly am), but that I never think that I deserve a break.
When I stopped and really reflected on things, I realized that I was holding myself to standards and expecting work habits from myself that I wouldn’t hold another person to. In fact, if I had a partner who worked as often and as unrelentingly as I do, our relationship would be at risk.
So, why then is my relationship to myself – my relationship to my body, my mind, and my interests – why is that undeserving of a break?
Would I tell my daughter that she couldn’t ever read a book out of interest when there’s something still needing cleaning? Would I insist that a partner work a 70-80 hour week and neglect their exercise or personal hobbies just because “there’s always more to do?”
It’s funny that all of my “roles” in life involve nurturing others, but I neglect nurturing myself.
While being productive makes me happy, I would be happier if I allowed myself to be well-rounded and scheduled in the time for indulgence, relaxation, and well… grooming. I love little self-care rituals like shaving my legs, or applying a face mask, but I rarely make the time for them because there are other, more important things I should be doing in their place.
I’m working on dismissing the guilt if I choose to watch a TV show and give myself a pedicure after my daughter goes to bed, rather than work straight through until my own bedtime. (In theory… because I haven’t done it yet!)
Comparing my productivity to other workaholics, or people who have more freedom in their days or the ability to hire help is not constructive and is something else that I need to work on. We all have limitations, and while it is great to overcome them and not allow ourselves to make excuses based on those limitations, it is also important to be realistic and kind to ourselves.
I know I rarely stop and enjoy a job well done, I’m too busy moving on to the next task, or feeling guilty about all of the other things that I need to juggle because I focused on completing that one task well.
This coming month, I am focusing on kindness to myself.
I’m going to write down a reasonable amount of work to complete in one day and once it’s done, stop. I can work again later if I truly want to, but only after I have allowed myself to relax and feel good about my accomplishments.
I’m also going to keep a running list of things that I end up doing in a day that I didn’t plan on. This is more a mental thing for me, to see where my time is being spent and acknowledge myself for what I did do and not dwell on an unchecked box on the to-do list.
What about you? What are your goals for next month?