Thursday, 23 June 2016

Pacing for the Long Haul

I have a long and sordid history of working myself ragged in order to meet a self imposed deadline.  What is UP with that?   I suppose I'm just goal and task oriented which makes for a major mental struggle when I need to slow down, adjust my pace or (horrors) my expectations of myself.   I'm getting a lot better at pacing and scheduling myself now that I'm firmly planted in middle age because let's face it - most things just aren't important enough to warrant exhaustion and burnout.  Middle age has taught me that in all honesty, few things matter more than family and self care.   Are you nodding with me?

So how does this flesh out in real life?  As with most things, it starts at the beginning.   The planning stage of my day (or week, month or season) is where it's all at and where I used to (unintentionally) set myself up for feeling inadequate.   Poor planning and unrealistic expectations have led to many a negative feeling in me (goodness knows, life is hard enough without making yourself feel bad).   Now, I err on the side of prudence and I pace myself with kindness and so can you.

Planning for a mid-day break has made an enormous difference in my life because it gives me time to stop and refocus my energy for the afternoon.  Life changes pretty quickly here (more people = more variables) and this short break gives me to time to adjust my expected outcomes to match the time I have left in the day, my energy level and the needs of my family.    My list is not my master.  I am the master of the list and I have an eraser!  

I've had some trouble sleeping through the night lately (too much on my mind with the move and likely hormonal changes as well) which means I'm not as productive during the day as I usually am.    While I'm not up in the night with young children anymore, I need to treat myself like I am because I'm operating on a sleep deficit just like a new mother.  Knowing myself intimately means accepting that I always succumb to respiratory illnesses (which often progress into pneumonia) when I'm run down.   Letting myself get to that point is the ultimate unkindness.   I don't do it anymore, but let me tell you I certainly did for many years.  Placing my personal needs WELL below the needs of everyone else in my family (and community) was a common occurrence.   Do you do that, too? Enough!

Yes, the list is long.  Keeping up with maintenance here all while sorting through every single thing we own to pack it, sell it or donate it is an EPIC task.  Not to be underestimated is the mental exhaustion that comes from making So Many Decisions each day.  Should I keep this?  Do I love it? Is it useful?  How hard is it to replace if I get rid of it?  What is the value of the item?  Is it hard to move?  Do I have a place for it in the new house?  Urgh.  Asking those questions hundreds of times over and over is fatiguing beyond measure.  Factor in meeting the emotional needs of teen and tween kids who are uncertain about this move and wrapping up the logistics of living in a place for 18 years and I've got a HUGE job on my plate.

All of this uncomfortable transition will be over soon.  It's a bit like being 9 months pregnant.  I'm over the thrill of the "news" and am mighty uncomfortable.  Eventually, the pain that is moving (like labour) will end and we'll be celebrating our long time dream realized (just like how when you hold your baby for the first time, you forget how much labour HURT).  Strange, but true...