So sometimes I take on too much. I've been known to believe I have superpowers and then come crashing back down to earth when I burn out. And I've done this more than once.
Yet I've also been known to tell other people to take it easy, to acknowledge they have a lot going on, to count their small victories and to be loving, gentle and kind to themselves. But up until very recently, I didn't always apply this same compassion to myself.
I'm good at making "me time", but that just becomes another thing I need to make time for among the other million things there are to do. And while I prioritize doing things I love and looking after myself, I'm often privately unforgiving when something else on my list doesn't get done. I'll say it's okay because I didn't have time, but I'll secretly feel like I failed to get it all done. And while I'm happy with my lot, I get overwhelmed by everything there is to juggle on a regular basis.
Recently, during a training session for some volunteering I'm doing working with people in groups, I learned about a concept called "extra grace required/EGR". It's about recognizing when someone in the group is going through something and needs a little extra compassion or "grace" than usual. Maybe they want to talk about it, need extra support or resources, or just need a bit of extra TLC.
A couple of weeks later when I was talking to a friend of mine from the training, I was telling her how I was feeling a bit run down because of everything that had been on my plate recently. And she suggested that maybe I need a little "extra grace". Of course, in my usual fashion of deflecting attention away from myself, I said, "Oh no, no I'm totally fine, just need a bit of rest."
But I got thinking about this. And realized, I do need extra grace. I'm doing a lot. I work. I raise two young kids, one of whom is still nursing and not always sleeping through the night. I look after my home and my family. I just moved house and am forever working to get out from under the boxes and mess. I volunteer. I'm a supportive friend and family member to my loved ones. And I still make quality time to spend with my children, my husband and myself. I need to take time to recognize what I do, versus what I don't do.
So when my son recently started daycare, and I had to make a decision about how much extra work to take on top of the part-time workload I've been carrying since having my baby (I'm self-employed and work from home), I decided to take it easy on myself. I need extra grace. Extra space. Time to rest. To exercise. To play with my kids, and teach them things. To paint, be creative, fix up my house. Make nice meals, keep the house clean, etc etc etc. All while meeting my work deadlines, and finding time to sleep, eat and shower. So I'm working on creating a routine that comfortably includes everything that matters to me before I add on any extra work.
I know many people don't have this luxury. I recognize how blessed I am to have the opportunity to literally curate my life in a way that makes me happy, so I won't squander that. And I intend to do this with the same gentle love, respect and compassion for myself that I reserve for all of the other people in my life. So here's to a fresh start - and a new kind of super power.