â€œBedtime is fraught with fear and disappointment. When it is just me alone with my restless body and mind, I feel like the whole world is asleep and gone. It’s very lonely. I am tired of being tired and talking about how tired I am.â€
â€• Amy Poehler
Everyone Has Limits
It hurts when heroes fall.Â You build them up in your mind to be titans of energy, knowledge, and flawless action.Â It is as though cultural rules donâ€™t apply to them.Â Heck, gravity doesnâ€™t seem to apply to them.Â Nonetheless, if you think about it, how unfair is that?Â They are human.Â They have limits.Â We know that in our head, but in our heart we need them to be somethingâ€¦more.
Recently several women I follow online have confessed to a profound and derailing burnout.Â These are women who make a lot of money doing what they love to do.Â They inspire.Â They hold out a hand and say, â€œYou can do this too.â€ They have plans, and advice, and books, and videos, and summits, and webinars.Â But, as it turns out, too much is too much even for them.
When the first superwoman shared her energy black hole, I thought, wow, Iâ€™m surprised that with all her wealth and resources she felt a need to step off the merry-go-round.Â A few days later another superwoman spoke about the need to re-evaluate her life because she was exhausted.Â Not tired, exhausted.Â When a third spoke up, I started to wonder what was going on. Where these women just like me after all?
Finding a Balance
I donâ€™t know about you, but Iâ€™ve become more aware of my energy limits.Â Craving balance, I try to write, create, photograph, care for my husband, our pets, our home, and yard in spurts of time.Â I also work to keep my website interesting.Â I do art shows and Playshops.Â I have joined our local chamber of commerce, the Northern Exposure Photography Club, the Vital Aging Network, and The Old Hwy. 61 Coalition.Â I feel as though I am running and running and running.Â When I wearily fall into bed at midnight, 1, or 2 a.m. youâ€™d think Iâ€™d fall asleep immediately.
I toss and turn and think about all the things I didnâ€™t get done.Â I stare enviously at my husband who is in a deep sleep and want to shake his pillow until he gives me a portion of his slumber.Â I get up and wander around our dark house.Â I. Canâ€™t. Shut. Off. My. Thoughts.
What to do?
Well, I can give you the tips one of the superwomen, Leonie Dawson, said is helping her heal her superwoman-ness.Â Maybe, together, we can all attempt, and we can all heal.
- Morning Pages
- Gratitude journaling
- Started delegating tasks to others
- Schedules times where she is not available to anybody!
- Schedule one or more â€œGolden Weeks.â€ This is time for her to take care of herself.Â She can read, get massages, go for walks, and do whatever she wants to do.Â This is a week where there are no appointments, meetings, or expectations.
- She has canceled all live events for the rest of the year.Â Like me, she expends a tremendous amount of energy when interfacing with people. As much as we like people, we put so much of ourselves into encounters that we get drained fast.
- She took a lengthy beach holiday.Â The sun, sand, and ocean calmed her down.Â Â She listened to the waves and read books.Â Ahhhhh.
Can I do any or all of these things on her scale?
No.Â I donâ€™t have a staff, nor do I earn over a million dollars a year.Â Yet.Â But I bet I can do some of the listed actions based on my lifestyle.
- I can fit in time to pleasure read.
- I can take a â€œgolden afternoonâ€ and catch a mindless movie matinee or wander around a state park.
- I canâ€”gaspâ€”ask for help when I feel overwhelmed.
Will I do these things?
It depends on how badly I want to heal, and how badly I want to feel whole instead of tattered.Â When my heroes fall, I cringe.Â When my heroes get back up, respect the lesson, and share the experience, I feel stronger too.
How about you?Â How do you make space in your life to focus on you and your needs?Â Letâ€™s talk about it!
Kathy Gallagher Burton says
I believe that people think I have no limit. It is expected that it will just be handled
And totally shocked when their expectations are not met. People are further shocked or even hurt when you try to limit yourself. I am tired of everyone wanting a piece of me, which leaves me with nothing. There are no easy answers to this one!
Easy answers? It never seems to be the case. I have a horrible time saying no to people because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but think nothing of trashing MY feelings along the way. What is up with that? The odd thing is I pride myself on my honesty…but when I think about it, how honest is saying yes when everything in me is screaming no? Perhaps, Kathy, you and I will learn to find balance if we keep working at prioritizing. A question I keep thinking about is, “Does this ________ serve me, or help me get where I want to be? If the answer is no, then I need to get stronger and say so.