Today I woke up tired. That kind of head-in-a-cotton-ball, enveloping, bone-weary tired that sometimes strikes out of nowhere.
All I wanted to do was go back to bed and huddle under the covers for another hour. And yet my to-do list was screaming at me from my office down the hall. “Oh no you don’t! No rest for you, wicked one! This is ridiculous - just because you had a major event yesterday doesn’t mean you get to take it easy all of a sudden. Suck it up!”
I felt the familiar rise of guilt, impatience and frustration as I realized my body and foggy head had other plans and were just not responding the way I needed them to. My legs and back ached as I dragged myself down the stairs to the coffee pot.
And there she was. Jessie. Our sweet, furry, floppy-eared rescue dog. Looking at me expectantly with bright brown eyes. And suddenly I was immune to the screams from my office and the complaints from my tired body and mind. Time for a walk in the slanting fall sunshine!
I know I’m really fortunate. Working for myself, out of home, gives me huge flexibility. I get to start work whenever, or take a walk midday if I want to. And if I do sleep in, no-one is going to give me a hard time. But I’m a really tough boss, to be honest! I am wired to go fast and take on lots of projects, and my list of things I want to achieve is never-ending and always growing. So even though I’m not in the corporate world anymore, I still experience pangs of yuckiness when my body doesn’t want to keep up with my ambitious plans and interests.
Yet much has changed in the last couple years. I’ve changed. I don’t struggle with overwhelm nearly as frequently as I used to when I practically lived on the verge of burnout. Seeing my sweet little dog looking at me so hopefully was a reminder that a brisk walk would help me shake off the cobwebs. And yes, I knew that today was probably going to be an EBB day. I wasn’t feeling in flow - and was certainly not likely to shatter any productivity records. The key change in me is that it’s okay. I know how to give myself permission to go with the current, not to swim upstream against it. I’m good to let myself refuel by taking it a bit easy, and I trust that my productivity mojo and usual energy will rebound soon. Today I even cut myself some slack by acknowledging that I had a big day yesterday delivering a very important workshop that was the culmination of a months-long project - a workshop that was very well-received as it turns out. What a concept!
The sensation that my head was wrapped in a big cotton ball - muffling my sense of clarity and weighing down my energy - was completely gone by the time we got back from our twenty-minute walk. My day ambled on from there. A bit more slowly, a bit more gently than usual. And I’m okay with that.
How about you? (Food for thought)
How do you respond when you’re tired and your body just doesn’t want to cooperate with your plans? How would you like to respond?
When was the last time you cut yourself some slack? When will you plan to do it again? How can you make this a healthy practice?