Frankly, I haven’t started on spring cleaning yet. It hasn’t felt like spring here and the gloomy and cold weather hasn’t been conducive to letting the fresh air in.
This is also a busy season for both of us. Dave has worked pretty much every weekend in April and the event I manage is in exactly 72, 71, 70 days (gulp!), so things are ramping up. I’ve done this event three times before and I know, once I get to 100 days, my mind gets sort of high jacked by the sheer volume of details I need to remember and get done.
This is also the time when I’m gone a lot; 4 days in April for an employee’s retreat (so much fun and productive), one week in May for our last Team Leaders’ visit, and a whole month for our Games in June and July.
Incidentally, this summer will also see me return to Greece for a short stay … the day after the Games, a bit crazy pants, I know. This is connected to volunteer work I’ve done in the past 2 years, that I’m incredibly proud of, but that took (is still taking) way more time than I anticipated.
And finally, my Dad and his girlfriend are coming for a 10 day-visit, for the first time ever, in August.
There was much planning and considering of different options for those two last events. Needless to say, I spent a good number of hours researching plane tickets, lodging and transportation.
All of this is exciting and I look forward to each and every event on my calendar this summer, but basically, my brain is a little fried.
So, I’ve decided to ditch spring cleaning for now (gasp!)
When to Pause and When to Persist
Many items fight for my attention and it’s easy to get caught up in all the things that need to be done. It is for, me anyway, so much so that I often forget to enjoy the ride.
I’ve been working on recognizing when I’m stretched too thin and when I need a break.
Everything comes back to this one question:
What do I need, right now, so I can continue to move forward?
I’ll tell you, right about now, I either need more warmth and natural vitamin D (come on spring!) or more sleep. It’s like a never adjusted to Daylight Savings Time back in March.
There are times when I feel full of energy and I’m motivated, like nothing and no one could stop me, and there are other times, like now, when I feel flat out exhausted and a bit deflated. And that’s when I need to adjust my own expectations and cut myself some slack (p.s. this is mainly a reminder for myself, but hey, if it works for you too, you have my permission to make it your own).
Whatever extra spring cleaning tasks I had imagined completing will have to wait and will still be there for me to tackle once I have a bit more energy.
Life, I find, comes in cycles. There will be busier times and periods where not much happens. These cycles are made of a series of decisions about when to stop and when to keep going. Quit too fast and you may never get anything done. Persist too long and you may burn yourself out.
It’s important to recognize what behaviour to choose in which situation, but it takes practice. I can’t tell you exactly what would work for you, but here are some things that help me figure it out:
- Journaling – I’ve been working on keeping a journaling habit this year. So far so good. I don’t necessarily write every single day, sometimes I’ll sum up a 3-day weekend in one entry. What I do though, is a monthly review. At the end of the month, I go over what I’ve written and highlight words that keep coming back like overwhelmed or fun. It helps me be aware of what daily choices I’m making and the effects it’s having on my mood and energy.
- Brain Work vs. Body Work – Sometimes I get all tense for no particular reason and I can feel my molecules vibrating; that’s when I know anxiety as taken over from too much brain work and I definitely need a break. When that happens, I try moving on to a physical task, one that will get my body moving. I usually use that time to start a load of laundry, tidy up or make myself a cup of tea. Sometimes, spending even just 5 minutes doing something else is enough to regroup. Walking the dog in a off-leach area on a sunny day is pretty awesome too.
- Think differently – I’m in front of a computer, on my own, A LOT. That can drive anyone to get a little obsessive about finishing tasks and projects. But I also have non-negotiable activities I love that get me out the door: dance classes and other group workouts usually give me a welcome break and the dance classes work my mind in different ways and help me get out of my own way.
One last thing, whichever course of action you pick, pause or persist, no need to feel guilty about it. It’s just what you need, right now, to keep moving forward later.