“You have to fill your cup. You then give away the overflowing, but you keep a cupful for yourself.” ~ Wynonna Judd
Several months ago, I was talking to a client about self-care. I asked her what she did for fun. She replied, “Nothing. If I try to relax or take time off, I feel like I am being lazy. There’s stuff I should be getting done.”
Do you feel that way? Do you believe that relaxation is selfish? Does your Inner Mean Girl tell you that you’re lazy whenever you try to take a break? In a society that rewards busyness, I think far too many of us would raise our hands to at least one of those questions.
My boyfriend and I were talking about this the other night. We are both recovering workaholics. There were times in our lives, in the all too recent past, when working a 70-80 hour week was nothing. At the time, we were both married (not to each other) and miserable. Work served as both an escape and an external validation that we mattered. It provided a sense of self-worth because, at the time, neither of us realized that this sense of self-worth should come from within – it’s who we are, not what we do, that makes us worthy.
Here’s the thing: We were never meant to be all work and no play! We were never meant to work ourselves into the grave; and yet, we do. We wear busyness as a badge of honor. Even though Todd and I both know better, we both still find ourselves occasionally falling back into the trap of workaholism. On some level, it’s still rewarding. It’s also familiar – something we are both used to do-ing. The problem is that the reasons we used to be workaholics no longer apply. We’re happy; we don’t feel the need to escape our lives anymore. We would both rather spend quality time with each other than work more hours. Yet, because workaholism was ingrained in us for decades, we both still find it difficult to say no when someone asks us to take on an extra shift or another project. It still holds that validation piece – we may not need or want it, but it’s still there.
So we made a deal with each other. I’ve been working two jobs and Todd’s been working three. He’s quitting one of those jobs at the end of October. He’s already turned in his letter of resignation. It’s scary as this is the job he’s held the longest. It’s familiar, rewarding, and he’s formed some pretty deep friendships with his colleagues over the past decade. But it also doesn’t fit with his current life plan and was taking away from our time together as it required him to work his weekends off from his primary job.
We’re both still going to hold down two jobs. We each have a primary job that pays the bills (for me it’s being a Professor of Psychology at Boise State University). We also both have a second job that bring us joy (I’ve got my tribe of wonderful people just like you that I love to serve; he’s started flipping houses – something he’s wanted to do since he was in his 20s). But, we aren’t working Saturdays anymore. Our ultimate goal is to take weekends and evenings off as much as possible and take a three-day weekend each month. It’s going to be a process, as it’s new territory for both of us, but we plan to work up to it by the end of the year.
Why are we doing this? Why did we finally decide to put our foot down, take a stand for relaxation and self-care, and surrender our busyness badges of honor? Two reasons: 1) we realized that if we weren’t careful, we were going to work ourselves out of each other’s lives (and that is something that neither of us wants), and 2) I was recently diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. It’s the third time I’ve been diagnosed with this in the past 3 years. Although he hasn’t had the bloodwork drawn to confirm a diagnosis, Todd suspects he’s pretty close to adrenal fatigue as well.
I declared September my month of self-care for a reason: Yes, I wanted to do it for you, but the truth is: I needed it for me. That’s the same reason I just started my free 7-day Love Your Body, Nourish Your Temple challenge. I wanted to give you something as a gift for being part of my tribe, but again, I need this challenge as much as you do. Although I have come a long way and I do love my body and try to nourish my temple as much as possible, my recent diagnosis of adrenal fatigue suggests that just because I know what to do doesn’t mean I always do it.
If you’re ready to surrender your busyness badge of honor and learn to love and take care of you, I invite you to join me for my free 7-day Love Your Body, Nourish Your Temple challenge. There are hundreds registered to help themselves not only reclaim body love and self-care, but also to support you along your journey. Join us!