Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Time for School and Time for Self-Care

Okay, so the kids were very excited to start school, more excited than I have ever seen them about a first day of school. With the gain of uninterrupted time without kids in the house, my first instinct was to make a list of all the things that I would do, catch up on, and fill time with completely. Then, I realized that was the opposite of what I really needed to do. Yes, I can rush around, slamming down the gourmet coffee, knocking things off the “to-do” list with the best of the crowd, and come to the end of the day exhausted, often feeling empty, asking, “Where did the day go?” Long gone are the days when I was exhausted from feeding and diapering my kids, where I was the center of their world and each moment was a milestone. Now my kids can scramble eggs, do their own homework and dress themselves. Boy, can they ever! So, what do I do with my new glimpse of freedom? How do I make it work for me, not just work me?

I took my own advice. Hard to do for a coach, but that is what I did. Often I advise clients who are unhappy with their lives, relationships or careers, that to find the satisfaction, the joy that they are looking for, they need to get back to the basics, their values. So, I spent time completing the Values Compass again featured on my blog . I followed the steps there and came up with my top 5 values, my compass-Fun, Creativity, Family, Art and Encouraging.

I found that I have spent very little time operating in my top 5 Values. Specifically, I have left little time for creativity and family, lately. So, instead of working late last night, I went to the movies with my family. The movie was okay, but to hear my family laugh was priceless. I also, have made the conscious decision not to take on some of the assignments offered to me lately, if they do not line up with my values. This is difficult, since my husband has just started his own business and finances are a bit tight. However, I have to know that when I am living and working in my values, I am happier, more rested, of better service to the ones around me. So, by taking on less, I hope to be more.

Taking care of you can mean doing less, putting away thoughts, reframing an experience, or just quietness. Cell phones, e-mail, the Internet are ever present.....It is said that people on average handle 6 times the information on a daily basis as they did in 1960. With all this information zooming at us, we may feel the need for speeding up. It is easy to understand why there is a major coffee shop on every corner and "energy" drinks galore at every check-out stand and convenience store. We become over-stimulated, overscheduled, overworked, overwrought; overwhelmed.......I see this as one the ways that we as a culture dilute our power and our presence.

So, as we have opportunities, offers, obstacles and ideas, we need to ask ourselves some questions:

How does this fit into my values?

How does this fit into my vision for how my life could be?

What will this cost in energy, time, relationships, and money?

If I take this on, what will I have to give up in order to maintain my life balance?

Who can help support me in my decision?

How would I advise my best friend in this same situation?

Is there a "should" involved? (“Shoulds” are great signals for when something does not fit into your life, but is hard to say no to because of old stories or habits.)

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