Although I consider myself a religious person, I find that spirituality is almost just as important. I would like to preface this piece with that: almost all of my life, I’ve strived to be at as many places that I could, all at once. Every since I could remember, I have made myself available in times when I’m the most busiest.
Lets say, I was invited to two sleepovers on the same night, I would make sure I attended both. I vividly remember, as a kid in swim practice, having this sudden urge to learn piano…the next day my dad enrolled me into lessons. Once I was enrolled, I then had the interest to begin Karate. Once I began karate, I then wanted to join show choir. My days were always jam packed! With all these groups, I met so many people! But I somehow became the person everyone gossiped to. I was often times the peace maker among my friends or the person others would turn to for advice. I noticed fairly early on, I would take on friends’ problems as if they were my own. I was always fully invested in my inner circle. If I saw anyone was treated unfairly, I would stand up for them, and often times, involved myself in drama, I was not even originally apart of. So all this to say, I have grown into excelling in the craft of spreading myself way too thin.
I mean, once high school and college came around, I was a mess! And when I say mess, I’d like to clarify. I have lived the most organized, yet unorganized life. With such a heavy schedule, I have always been one to plan ahead. I jotted down every single commitment I had in daily planners, yet only allotted maybe 5-6 hours of sleep on a good day! I committed myself to a number of jobs, organizations, majors, friends, relationship, etc – and yet still had the nerve to complain every single day of how physically, mentally, and emotionally – exhausted I felt. But I thought, well, “I’m sure every college student feels this way…” But come almost three years post-grad, I continued to see this pattern play out in my day to day.
Now that I had a little more wiggle room with a set 9-5, my schedule consisted of dinners, long phone calls, grabbing drinks, helping friends move, etc. Though, that may all sound normal and like a good time, I would agree to go out even on nights when I was mentally checked out. The only thing on my mind was REST. But I thought, “well I can’t just say no or not answer my phone because what kind of friend is that?”
UPON LATER REFLECTION, I FINALLY REALIZED THIS IDEOLOGY WAS TROUBLING (but this was not for a while).
About 6 months ago, my mom noticed how run down I sounded from our conversations over the phone and warned that one day all of the constant go-go-go would catch up to me. She would also tell me that I made myself too available for certain friendships, that once again, she saw me take on problems that weren’t my own.
You know the saying, “Don’t take on more than you can chew”? Well this was my specialty. But if this has also been your method of tackling things, I am here to tell you there is going to be point where your body or mind will wear down. One flu and literally 5 weeks of recovery, later… I had a lot of time to reflect. Staying in bed, for three weeks straight, kind of does that to you, ha! Anyway, I came to the realization, that even though I had time management down to a T, I failed myself in energy management. I always checked off all items on my list, yet forgot to check-in with myself from time to time. For years, I had pushed to be everywhere at once, yet I was rarely ever present.
And although I know many people catch the flu, 5 whole weeks down and out is not that common. I truly believe it was my body and mind screaming for help.
I had to learn to say “no.” And this concept was hard for me, because resting at home felt like I was sitting idle, as if I was wasting time. Especially being the extrovert I am, I thrive being around people so rejecting a friend’s invite, felt as if I was rejecting the friendship. But clearly I had it wrong.
I had to be selfish for my own well-being.
Now a days, I feel replenished! I now prefer staying in vs going out. I’ve accepted that I am not this machine that can constantly, do.
I know many of us experience FOMO or want to be everywhere all at once but my advice is to put yourself first and rest your energies as you would your body. Prioritize people and events and allocate your energies wisely. Do not just give, give, give and be so willingly available to others because one day your energies will be depleted and that my friends, is a very empty feeling. I’d recommend to write down your social events as you would with meetings so you can do an overview of how many days you’ve set aside for yourself vs how many days you’ve set aside for other people. If you find it that it is half and half I would suggest to reconsider at least one of those days for yourself whether that means you find a new hobby or a new show on Netflix. For me, I became a plant mom. Just as we go green to cleanse our ecosystem, we too, need to find clean sources of energy.
Wishing you all the best in your energy management journey! If you have implemented this in your life, I’d like to know, how have you done so? (Comment below) Xo