Life Lessons

“Just Keep Swimming”

Laying there, you feel heavy and weighed down. You’re exhausted like you have never felt exhausted before, yet you just woke up. Your eyes are puffy and gritty as though you spent hours crying rather than sleeping. It’s a dreamless sleep but still a restless sleep.

You struggle getting out of bed, not because of physical injury or ailment, but because of the one you are carrying around in your mind, on your soul and in your heart. You know life is pretty great. You have friends and family who love you. Great clients who look up to you. A partner or spouse who is always there when you need them to lean on. So you just don’t understand how this could be who you are right now. What right do you have to feel this way?

You tell yourself you are better than this as you look around your messy house. A house once kept to perfection, where not even a spec of dust could be found, now cluttered with things not put away, dead leaves of shedding plants fallen to the floor, dishes lay unwashed in the sink. You know these things need looked after, but you just don’t have the energy to pick them up or even run the water.

You sit on the couch with your coffee, feeling the warm morning sun on your face and wonder, “Did I shower yesterday?”… You cant remember. “Was it the day before?”. You are unsure because you have been living in a heavy fog, unable to recall what you ate, what you did, who you spoke to. You haven’t left your house for days. Weeks maybe? Now the fridge is bare and you are out of coffee.

Everything stacks up and feels too hard to accomplish. Too difficult a task to tackle. You feel like you are trying to climb a mountain and every step you take causes you to slide down farther and farther away from the top. If only you could just get a grip.

But, you know what? It’s OK to feel overwhelmed and worn down. You are only human. As much as you like to try or believe it to be true, you aren’t superman or wonder woman. We like to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves to accomplish “all the things” and prove that we can do it. And we can. You can. They just don’t need done all at once. One task at a time is more than enough to get the job done.

Trust that you will get a hold of yourself again. You will get a grip and pull yourself up the mountain and reach the summit. Just don’t give up. Treat each misstep as an opportunity to change course. Find a new path. The right path.

Before you know it, you will wake up one morning feeling lighter. Your eyes will no longer feel heavy and grainy and your fog will lift. The sun will welcome you to a new day and you will welcome her right back. One task at a time, you will take back control. Maybe today it’s the dishes in the sink. Tomorrow its the fallen leaves and the clutter in your space. But you’ll get there. Don’t give up. Just keep swimming.

Six months ago I took on my first writing opportunity to be formally published. Bursting with newly found passion and stories, I filled the pages in record time. Riding that high I took on two more books. In my excitement eagerness to explore authorship, I decided to lead two of my own projects. Meanwhile, I still had a 9-5 job, had already signed up online for five courses varying from herbalism, wellness coaching, marketing, art therapy and an Introduction to Entrepreneurship in an attempt to “do all the things” at break neck speed. Then I turned around and signed up for two more mentorship programs. In my mind, I was going to ace the shit out this and my business was going to be rockin’ in no time!

And then reality hit. There is only so much time in the day. So may days in the week and only so many weeks in a month. And I was only one person. It didn’t matter if I was up every morning between 6:30 and 7 am to review courses and work sheets before my 9-5 started. It didn’t matter if I stayed up until 11 or 12 at night to do more courses and complete homework or put skills to use making products. There wasn’t enough time to do all the things I placed on my to do list in the the timeline gave myself. I was drowning in “to do” lists, projects, deadlines and meetings.

So, naturally, I sank. And I sank hard. Like a rock. All of the unrealistic expectations I put on myself began to fall around me like spinning glass plates. I dropped my lead author projects. I dropped my courses. I was dropping the ball at the office. I stopped making products. I stopped getting up in the morning. I stopped looking after my space and myself. I stopped doing my homework and work books. Stopped working on my business.

And then it really did feel like too much because I felt like a failure and I had given myself proof with all the things I dropped and stopped doing. I got into my own head and told myself I couldn’t do this. I wasn’t good enough or deserving of this. No one was going to want any of the products I have to offer. This is crazy. What was I thinking. “What an idiot”, I thought.

That quote, “Whether you say you can or you can’t, you are right“, really strikes a chord for me lately. I realized, the only reason I have not been able to continue putting one foot in front of the other is because I have repeatedly told myself “I can’t”. When instead, I should have reminded myself to “just keep swimming“. Chin up, one foot in front of the other. One project at a time.

It’s OK to want to do all the things. And we can. One project at a time. Maybe even two. But if we spread ourselves too thin trying to do it all on our own in an unreasonable and realistic time frame, we aren’t able to give each “thing” the attention it requires. The attention it deserves. The quality of work will suffer and in turn, because you know you are capable of doing better, your mindset will suffer.

So take the time you need today and recover. Allow your energy to reset and flow back to it’s original force and then create an action plan. Ask yourself “What ONE thing can I do today to get me one step further in the direction I want to go?” And then do it. Maybe that will be all you have time or energy for that day. That’s OK too. Progress is progress. And its still another step in the right direction.

Just keep swimming.

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