This is installment #2 in the self-care bank series.
Ever feel like you are buried under the weight of your own life? Do you feel like you’re Atlas with the weight of the world on your shoulders, but instead of the world it’s a thousand boulders of projects/thesis to complete, classes to attend, exams to prepare for? On top of all those critical tasks, life doesn’t stop piling on little chores like buying supplies for those projects or running an errand or ten. The weight on your shoulders continues to build as big and small stones get added. The end of the term or school year epitomizes this. Everything is ending, and with that, everything needs to be finished.
When we prioritize clearing the pile of boulders sitting on our shoulders, our mind naturally goes to the biggest and most important ones. They get all of our attention. While we are trying to remove just one of these boulders, maybe 5-10 more little ones get dumped on our backs. When we finally manage to clear the most significant stones, we now have a ton of little ones still sitting there, waiting.
Self-care by clearing out the small stuff
Do you see where I’m going with this? What if we cleared some of the little rocks before we focus on the bigger boulders. The weight on our shoulders will be lighter. This enables us to attack the big stones with all of our strength and energy. It feels counter-intuitive to spend a chunk of time clearing out our small errands while the thesis/project/exam is due. This is self-care. This is “making space in your life for you”.
But, this is temporary. I can push through, right?
Sure. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully. One way we trick ourselves into never practicing self-care is to tell ourselves that “this is the way it should be” and “I’ll just power through”. Let me be the bearer of a little dose of reality. This is life. There are crazy busy times and then busy times. On a rare and glorious day, there are less busy times. Learning how to gracefully manage all of the big and little boulders sitting on your shoulders is one of the best gifts you can ever give yourself.
How to routinely clear out the small stuff
- Use reverse prioritization. Once every few days, find all of the little rocks that are nagging you and put them on a list. (I can’t deny the cathartic pleasure I get from crossing things off my list.)
- Make an appointment for yourself. Yeah, I said it. Again. Estimate how much time you need and block out time on your calendar to get it done.
It really is that easy
You just have to give yourself permission to periodically shift your focus from the biggest boulders weighing you down to the little rocks sitting next to them. One of the most critical components to incorporating self-care into our lives is giving ourselves permission. Once we do this, showing up for ourselves with intent and purpose becomes significantly easier.
If you can form this habit of routinely clearing out the small stuff, the end result is a lighter load in the middle of whatever crazy busy season you find yourself. Whether it is the end of the term, the holiday season, or just Monday, you will actually feel more empowered to get things done. The added bonus is that when you now gracefully navigate through the craziness, the number of items staring you in the face will be significantly less. You’ll actually be able to fill your “down” time with the activities of your choice. It’s effectively a double deposit in the self-care bank.