If you're anything like me, you are passionate, and you aim for perfection. You may not admit it out loud, but it's true--even if you have a laid back side. You want the contributions you put into the world to be excellent, outstanding, and applause-worthy.
Wherever you invest your time--whether it's relationships, work, home life, or all of the above--you hold yourself to a high standard. Perhaps you quietly live by the motto, "If you're not going to do something well, why bother doing it at all?"
When I was a child, my mom taught me, "If you are going to do something, put your heart into it." I love that way of looking at things! It inspires passion and hard work--two things I value very much.
Yet those of us who are passionate, hard-working, and--let's just say it out loud--occasionally perfectionistic may be running ourselves ragged with our high standards and amazing work ethic.
How many times a week do you quietly tell yourself to just "suck it up?"
You feel exhausted but you don't stop to rest.
You are hungry or thirsty but you keep working anyway.
You really wanted to do something nice for yourself today, but you ran out of time after you completed all the things on your "must-do" list.
Aren't you tired of ignoring your body, skipping over your emotional needs, and putting yourself last on the list?
Part of you may answer "yes."
But the other part of you may immediately get scared.
You fear that if you start taking care of you, everything will fall apart.
You'll never get off the couch again.
You'll sleep all day and lose your job.
You'll totally screw up that thing you've been working so hard on.
The time for extreme thinking is behind us.
I am here, with the Soulful Living Project, to remind you that you can take care of you and be excellent at the same time. You can give life your all, while also making time to slow down and appreciate it.
But you have to begin first by valuing YOU.
Once you learn that you are worth caring for--and you develop the tool set to help you do it--you'll never want to go back again to just sucking it up.
I'm not saying you won't ever slip back to old patterns of overworking and ignoring your own signals, but you will care enough to find your way back to the light again of loving you, through balance and self-care.
If you are interested in balancing your passion and perfection with some self-love and self-care, here are a few tips to support you:
Once a day, tell yourself three things you love about you. When you wake or before you go to sleep, write, think, or speak to yourself three things about yourself you are truly proud of. They can be traits, talents, or things you have accomplished. This is self-acknowledgement, and it works wonders! Keep at it until it comes naturally. Over time, you will experience the effects of your self-love on your day-to-day decision making. It will become harder to ignore your signals to take care of you.
Next time you are tired, take a 5-minute power nap. Yep, you heard me right. Five little minutes. That's something that most of us can spare, even if we work from home. Set your phone timer, get cozy, and shut those eyes. If you can't fall asleep that fast, simply rest with your eyes open or closed. While your body may need more than 5 minutes' rest, the act of taking this time for you is a great starting point that your workaholic self can probably tolerate. It cultivates a value of self-care that you can then put into action in other areas of your life as well. Or who knows? Maybe the next time you'll treat yourself to a 20-minute power nap because you've got some momentum with this whole self-care thing.
When your body gets stagnant and feels it needs some exercise, do 10 movements of your choice to get the energy flowing again and let your body know you are listening. I like to do 10 air squats, 10 sit ups, or if I'm feeling really feisty 10 push ups. You can do jumping jacks or arm circles. Climb some stairs or walk to the window and back. Do one downward dog in yoga, touch your toes, or do ten arm curls. You get the gist. Exercise doesn't have to be long or "perfect" to offer us some benefits. I bet if you did only 10 sit-ups a day, by the end of the month, you'd feel or see a positive difference in your stomach. Not too shabby. Again, you are developing the value of caring for you in bite-size bits that your passionate, workaholic self can tolerate and appreciate.
So there you have it. Your invitation to stop sucking it up and start taking care of you--not in some way that's going to tank the whole grand operation you are running, but in a way that's going to teach you that a little goes a long way and that it all starts with valuing you.
Follow these tips, and don't be surprised if joy creeps back into your day!