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I love my job, but I’ve been letting it get the best of me lately.  August got busy and I put my nose to the ground to push through.  I’m flexible enough to let my normal work-workout-cook-keep-life-in-order schedule go for a week or so to meet deadlines and do my best professional work.  Now it’s almost mid-November, and there’s been no slow down.  I’ve been in the office on holidays, Sundays, and in the evenings in sweaty gym clothes.  So it’s time to take a step back, figure out how to re-balance and adapt so I can move forward in a way that lets me be the best me on all fronts.

I don’t mind the work.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is that it’s too easy for me to set aside me time and just work.  And, eventually, not only is my work going to suffer because of it, but the rest of me is, too.   In fact, I’m already starting to see the signs of that.  So, as hard as it was to just set everything aside for a few days, I put up an out-of-office message, slept in this morning, and had a day to myself.  Tomorrow’s a holiday, and I’m going to take it.  The WHOLE day.  And the whole weekend following it.

This time last year, I wasn’t working.  I slept more than 8 hours every night and I went for long mid-morning jogs outside nearly every day.  I got used to seeing myself in the elevator mirror heading down for my jog, hair a mess and no make-up on.   I’ve already gotten the wake-up call telling me that I need to take a break and re-balance myself, but seeing my no-make-up self in the mirror this morning really made it sink in.  I look so different than I did just one year ago.  And not in a good way!

My shoulders are in a permanent state of tension, even when they shouldn’t be.  That’s got to change.  I got a massage on Tuesday and went for another one today.  I’m re-training myself to relax.

I used to brew green tea every afternoon.  Not just when I was at home all day, but even when I went back to work.  Sometime in the past few months, my afternoon tea turned into afternoon coffee.  That’s going to stop.  It’s back to my tea.  Because it’s not just about the tea.  It’s about the ritual, the smell of jasmine pearls, the clean and healthful warmth, the moment that is focused on wellness and calm and not on fueling up to power through.

My sleep is really important to me.  I think I was more nervous about a new sleep schedule than anything else when I went back to work.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep 12 to 15 hours a day anymore.  (I realize 12-15 hours is way beyond a normal amount of sleep, but at the time, I was recovering from a major illness and really depended on that rest).  The transition to “normal people” hours wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be, but I’ve let myself slip past that and keep finding myself waking up after less than 8 hours of sleep.  As much as I wish I was a short sleeper, I’m just not.  I have to accept and embrace that I’m not going to be my best me without at least 8 hours of sleep.

A few months ago, I think I ate an entire tree full of leaves every day.  Seriously, the check-out clerk at the grocery store would frequently comment on the volume of veggies I bought.  That volume and variety has dropped off big time.  While I’m still eating fairly well, I know I’m not eating as clean as I’d like to – mostly because I feel like I need the energy from my food so much more lately.  When I’m tired and sleep is not an option, I turn to food, and not food of the leafy variety.

All of this is to say that I see the signs, I don’t feel like myself, and while I can’t go back to my old routine of balance, I have to adapt and find a new one.  And because I’m a planner, I’m making myself a list of re-balance goals.  Friends, please help me stick to these and to adapt to new ones when life changes again.

–          Reduce morning coffee to one cup.

–          Buy ingredients for green juice and make it in the morning before work as often as possible (and bring a toothbrush to work… Hubs calls me “Gasoline Breath” after I drink green juice).

–          Drink green tea every afternoon.

–          Stick with a bed time that lets me get at least 8 hours of sleep.

–          Make time for “me things.”  Start a craft project.  Post new items in my Etsy shop.  Learn how to make something new.

–          Do yoga once a week (this one might be the hardest for me to make myself do).

–          Stop lying in bed for 20+ minutes in the morning reading news, tweets and blogs.  I want to go to sleep and wake up with intention.

–          Meditate and write at least two nights a week.

How do you re-balance when life changes?  What are your trusty rituals for re-centering?


One response »

  1. Oh, Caroline, it’s amazing–our parallel lives. All of this is so familiar: the importance and ritual of tea; the need to sleep ridiculously long hours; the memory of longer days; the feeling of being unsettled, the need to plan, and the simple act of turning to paper, writing it all out, and (I’m guessing here) feeling better when you do. I’m so proud of your for taking a couple days off and taking the time to write this! I will certainly hold you to it–and I’ll hold me to it, too.


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