Overachiever. Stress. Exhaustion. Anxiety. Type A. Perfectionist. I’m recovering from all of this.
I used to think my worth was wrapped up in appearance, awards, achievements, academic excellence, prestigious degrees, financial success, fancy wardrobes, vacations and drop-dead gorgeous boyfriends.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the exteriors when potential clients nowadays ask me how many Instagram followers I have.
Really? That matters?
Even social media, which is supposed to be a fun break from work, is now viewed as a “job.” As I was speed-walking around New York City recently, trying to avoid smoke and other pollution being blown in my face and avoiding those lacking self-awareness from running into me, I took a conscious look around. While I saw so many different walks of life, they all had one thing in common: nobody seemed happy. Everyone was rushing around oozing with stress and frustration.
I thought, “What is the point of all this rushing around to make money, achieve something or be somebody, if we aren’t happy? ”
Sure, we all have bills to pay and other responsibilities, but life is meant to be enjoyed not endured.
I had to take inventory of my own life. I was achieving. I was rushing around. But was I happy?
Best-selling author and self-help guru, Brené Brown, said something that really resonated with me.
“I no longer wear exhaustion as a badge of honor.”
That statement gave me so much freedom because it came from a bonafide lady boss who is changing lives with her courageous, honest work. She is achieving and then some, but she also recognizes the importance of slowing down.
My mentor, Gabrielle Bernstein, says, “Stillness is the key to my success.”
A year ago, that wouldn’t have made any sense to me. Growing up in an overachieving family and competing as a swimmer for 17 years, working hard and pushing myself day in and day out with no breaks was the culture. I was taught that rest and relaxation was lazy. I wasn’t accomplishing anything when I wasn’t “doing” anything.
One of my greatest achievements recently has been mastering the art of doing absolutely nothing.
I have removed all guilt and shame attached to staying home in my pajamas all day and simply reading, meditating, resting, relaxing, taking a bubble bath, lighting candles, cuddled up in a soft, comfy robe.
When people ask, “What did you do this weekend?” I proudly say, “Nothing. It was wonderful.”
My body, my mind, my spirit need time to slow down, look within, see and feel how I’m doing. I’m finding when I do less, I feel more (joy, creativity, peace, clarity), and when it’s time to work, I am more productive and feel more alive, more childlike instead of a checked out zombie robot creature.
My wish is for everyone to be able to give themselves an adult Time Out. Take a nap. Read a book. Enjoy a cup of tea. Light some candles and take a bath. Turn off the phone. Have a social media cleanse. Give yourself a facial. Write in your journal.
Ask yourself, “How are you? What can I do for you? What do you need to feel better?”
Treat yourself like you would a five-year-old child you adore. Children need love, affection, nurturing and our attention. Try giving that to yourself whole-heartedly.
You’re worth it!
Author: Kate Eckman
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Photo: Pietra Schwarzler/Unsplash