I used to have all the reasons about why I couldn’t do things. I don’t have the network, I don’t have the money. I don’t think it’s the right time — that was a big one. I wasn’t lying, I was fully convinced of the reasons.
Not only will we be meeting each other on video chat for 13 weeks of group coaching, but we’ll also be traveling to Rome.
I think of the old as a husk, dry and brittle. Used up and mostly shucked from my body. Barely hanging on and ready to blow away when the breeze kicks up.
I don’t know why, but this little nook off of Via dei Coronari always catches me. It’s beautiful to be sure, and also no more than countless other side streets and hidden alleys.
Here I am standing with the Pantheon at my back and a battle cry of my own laying at my feet. After I left Portland all those years ago with my life in ashes around my feet I promised myself I was embracing my next chapter fully.
A seemingly innocent question it can feel loaded.Two times in the past two weeks I’ve been asked this question. Not because I was applying for a job. In one case it was by someone I had just met and in the second case I was catching up with someone I hadn’t seen in years. Over ten.
I’m very inspired by working in beautiful surroundings. I seek them out and relish in every detail as I type away. Sipping coffee from a mug that’s a delightful shade of blue and sits heavy in my hand, sitting in a blush colored velvet chair with the perfect height to support me as I type away, greeting people and making new connections as well.
Is this my normal working scenario?
Ummm noooo. Usually you’ll find me at my kitchen table, hunched over like Quasimodo pounding away on the keyboard with hair that needs to be brushed. Eating random crackers for lunch while standing up at the kitchen counter. Not every day, but a lot of them.
But yesterday morning, the first day of Women’s History Month, I had the opportunity to visit and work at the new(ish) location of The Wing in San Francisco. I was ready to be dazzled and I was not disappointed.
Founded by two women, each location of The Wing is a co-working space filled with perks and amenities to serve as your home away from home. Maybe, dare I say, an even better home away from home?
There are currently five locations in the US with several more slated to open this spring and into 2020. Every single corner is full of detail. I may tread on Too Much Information here but my ovaries were singing from the book shelves (all women authors, curated titles by The Strand, and color arranged, AND available for checkout), the beauty salon busting at the seems with every kind of product imaginable, and the attention to detail at every turn.
Here’s the point — This is what self-care looks like for me.
One example of many. It also looks like baking biscotti on a Monday afternoon and listening to Spotify. Or turning down a project or client because it’s not the right fit — for either of us. To be able to take a breather on a busy weekday afternoon and walk around the block or run errands in the middle of the day. All of the things.
Am I privileged to be able to have the freedom to provide myself with self-care? Yes, I am. I totally am and I’m very aware of it. I also work damn hard to organize my life very intentionally. Which is the ultimate self-care in the end. The very pinnacle.
I feel the guilt try to seep in even while typing. But I won’t let it in. We won’t. Let’s tell it to go away. It can remain on the outside, frantically knocking on the door to try and rain on our parades. While we’re inside being excellent to ourselves.
Listen. You get to decide what self-care looks like for you and create your own boundaries around it. Right now for me it’s working in and alongside other women in inspiring places. This week it was The Wing in San Francisco and next month is may be my favorite breakfast spot in Rome. Sun streaming in the windows, me sitting at table and writing before the local rush begins.
I invite you to make your self-care list
Let’s get intentional about it. I have a go-to list so when I’m feeling a bit frazzled and skipping around from task to email to notification to worry, I pull it open and select one.
Don’t limit yourself. Have some small items that you can pull out easily during the day and some show stoppers for when you really want to treat yourself. There doesn’t need to be money involved to have a juicy and robust list. One of my favorite things to do is got the library and read. DECADENT.
Or choose an ingredient to plan and cook a meal around. Put on the tunes and get out of your head a bit. But really, you don’t need me to tell you what your self-care looks like. You already know. But you may need me to give you permission to go after it guns a-blazing. I hear you and I’m here for you.
Go forth and self-care with abandon
You’re going to feel more settled and grounded for it. Which in turn helps everyone around you feel the same. A chain reaction of serenity and leveling-up. We seek others out who feel calm, happy, and just plain good. How do we get there? How do we achieve this calmness you ask? By taking the best possible care of ourselves. That’s how. And it all starts with identifying what supports and nurtures us.
Write it down. Spend some time on understanding what makes you tick. You’re worth spending time on and figuring out. Like your own little puzzle. Your tastes will change and what you need will as well. Good. Go with it. Just begin. Then when you know, it’s your most important job to follow through and make it happen.
Push the guilt away and set your boundaries. Don’t let it. Remind yourself you’re doing it for you and all the people in your world. Pour from that full cup.
- Make the list.
- You have permission.
- Make YOU a priority.
And for goodness sake, if you have the chance to check out The Wing. GO. You know, if that’s part of your self-care jam.
I was going to focus this post on the overwhelm we experience in our businesses or work, but it’s not just business that causes our overwhelm. It’s in our everyday lives. It’s the mere fact we’re breathing in and out.
The quick comparison we do in our heads. How we’re measuring up to others— I’m not saying it’s ideal or what I would choose for us. But it happens. The anxiety we have from what’s going on in the world. One quick scroll of Twitter and it’s time to take a deep breath. All the communication, notifications, tagging, and updates. Go ahead and add in the bucket list BS and we’ve got ourselves a genuine overwhelm party.
It likely happens to you from time to time and it for sure happens to me as well. So let’s talk about how to deal with it when it flares up. When I’m in full blown overwhelm I’m usually jumping from tab to tab on my computer, picking up my phone with no purpose in mind, and not focusing on any one thing. Because the to-do list is looming and I’m trying to focus on ALL the things.
Sound familiar? Next time you find yourself here —
Try These Steps
1. Clear Your Head
When we’re in overwhelm I think of it like having too many tabs open on my computer. (So totally guilty of this). When I start getting the spinny wheel of death on my screen I know it’s time to close the browser down and restart my computer. Just give it a little break. A reset.
It’s the same for us. We need to step away from everything and give ourselves a reset. Otherwise we’re going to keep short circuiting, feeling craptastic, AND getting nothing done.
There’s any number of ways to reset, but the key is to make it a device free break. Step outside for some deep breaths. Take a walk around the block. Turn on your favorite jam and dance it out. Sing at the top of your lungs if you can. Pick up a REAL book for ten minutes. There’s no wrong answer. Do what works for you.
2. Make Your List
Now that we’ve moved, deep breathed, and given ourselves a break let’s put a plan in place so we don’t end up back in Overwhelm Land.
First things first. Grab a pen and whatever you usually keep your lists in and let’s make one. Let’s get ALL the things out of our heads and onto the page in front of us. The stuff that floats around and shows back up at 3 AM, waking us up from our well deserved slumber. The stuff that sticks in our head while we’re trying to write an article. Or an important email. The stuff that needs to get out, but live somewhere else so we don’t panic that we’re losing the information. Write it all down.
3. Now Choose One Thing
One. Look at your list and select something. I know you wrote down seventy billion things. My to-do list looks the same.
But in this moment, fresh off of overwhelm we’re going to choose ONE thing and we’re going to own it. We’re going to blaze new trails on its face. Choose the thing on your list that’s been sticking in your side. You know you need to get it done and you haven’t touched it yet. But this moment is different. Because you’re choosing how this to-do list is going to affect you. You’re in control.
Once you have it, mute your phone, turn it upside down, and shut off all the pop-up notifications on your computer because you have no time for any of that BS. You’re in this to win this. This one thing is about to get owned and you’re going for broke.
If it helps you, set your timer on your phone for working blocks of time. Whatever you need to do to own this one thing. Because it’s going to be the wind beneath your wings — your Bette Middler. The sense of accomplishment will act like a natural high and put a smile on that face.
Owning the ONE THING sets our accomplishment foundation firmly in place. The success of focusing and working without distraction naturally propels us to the next thing with grace and ease.
While the steps I’ve outlined above will absolutely help with overwhelm in the moment — which we all fall victim to now and again, there are also many things we can put into play on a broader level to prevent overwhelm.
A good defense if you will. Asking for help. Putting systems in place. Investing as much effort into taking care of ourselves as we do our business and others. This type of planning and implementation one of the fundamental topics I work on with my one-on-one coaching clients. No matter what we’re working toward, achieving these big goals always begins with having a solid foundation in place.