Ever feel overwhelmed with life? That it is all go-go-go with little time to just sit and breath it all in? There is so much pressure to live a “proper life” and often these pressures conflict with one another. We are told to exercise. That we need at least thirty minutes of it daily. We are told to eat healthy – to cook whole foods and make proper meals. But often we need to choose just how to spend that one spare half hour of our day – do we go for a run or do we cook dinner? We are told to wear sunscreen daily to protect out skin but then also told that Canadians lack in vitamin D. We have the pressure of maintaining relationships with family and friends. That this requires real face-to-face time (Facebook friends do not always equal real friends). Our doctors tell us to drink less alcohol. For a woman, you should have no more than seven drinks a week. So when can we fit in this friend catch-up time? In the evenings after working a full day? But we are not allowed to drink and it’s too late for coffee. And having that sweet treat after dinner? Too much sugar. It’s bad for you. You should get eight hours of sleep a night. And wash your face twice daily. Don’t forget to floss every night. And get a cleaning from the dentist twice a year. Oh the pressure of living a good life.
First off, we need to be thankful for this awesome life that we are so blessed to live. The whole #firstworldproblems thing is accurate. Complaining that the kale isn’t organic when others around the world may be dying from hungry is a thing. So let’s be thankful for these full and often overwhelming lives that we have and then let’s sort out how to start living them with less stress.
I realise that I may have it easier than some since I am self-employed. I have no boss. I can make my own schedule. I can go to the bank to pay my taxes whenever I choose. I can sign up for that 10am pilates class. But sometimes that is almost more difficult. Everything is on me to organise – when I eat, how I eat it, when I meet with clients, when I work on their images, when I get to have a date night with my husband. At times I wish that there was more structure. If there was someone hovering above me to say “Do this now and this after that.”
I am going to tell you something important now: Life is always going to be full-on. Always. You will always be rushing around taking the kids to their next class or packing a snack or sending them off to a play-date. You will always be rushing to finish a certain task minutes before it’s deadline. You will always be trying to squeeze more time out of every day. Life. Full-on. Always.
I think that the best solution to this feeling is to change our attitudes. This whole “busyness” is actually just normal life. You aren’t too busy, you just need to learn to manage all of your life things a little better. You have to learn to enjoy that half hour with your coffee in the morning, even if it means getting up a half hour earlier than normal to do so (and perhaps also going to sleep a half hour earlier to make up for it). We should start feeling blessed that our lives are so full. That we are loved. That we have interests that we can take advantage of. That we have healthy bodies that can take us there (as long as we continue to feel them with all the good stuff and keep them active.. oh wait, here we are again…).
So what am I doing to manage that overwhelming feeling? I am planning my calendar a little better. I am scheduling Essentrics and Pilates classes three times a week and I will ride my bike on those days. I have decided to drop the pressure I put on myself to also get in a couple 5K runs per week. I know that I am capable of physically running 5K and I know that when I do, I am almost fast at it. But I don’t love doing it. I am okay with just doing the classes right now. Maybe sometime later, I will get back into the running thing.
I am planning meals better. We have always been great at cooking at home but with an actual plan for what dinner will look like for the week, it makes life so much easier. With these dinners, I plan the leftovers that will be suitable for healthy lunches to take to the studio the next day. And every evening, I make my chia pudding so that in the morning, I simply grab a spoon and I know that I am starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast.
At night, I have started winding down earlier for bed. Allowing myself to enjoy a cup of tea in bed and read for an hour or two from my ever-expanding collection of books and magazines that need to be conquered. (More stress that I am learning to live with!)
I am managing my work schedule better by actually scheduling in post-production time, instead of letting that work happen just whenever. Sometimes this means saying no to photographing new jobs but I am learning that when it comes to these things, you cannot always say yes. Doing all of these things isn’t hard. It’s jut a matter of doing it and sticking with it. And feeling good about it. Of course there will be days that I will slip and there will be nights where we stay out a little too late. And that is also okay. I’m still human and no one is perfect.
We are all busy and we are all overwhelmed. We are all in this together. You do you, the best that you can and I will do the same and hopefully sooner than later, we can meet somewhere in the middle for a non-alcoholic-no-sugar catchup.