Too often, I get stuck in the mindset of all or nothing. I’m going to do a hard workout or no workout at all. I’m going to get everything on my checklist done or procrastinate everything. The reality is, life doesn’t work like that. As much as my brain tells me it does, life is not all or nothing. This is a stumbling block for me. I associate productivity and happiness with accomplishing all of my goals. I may not be able to do that on a daily basis and that creates anger. Once again, I’m back to acceptance. We must accept what we cannot change and focus on what we can.
Allowing things to not get done seems like a task in itself. It’s mental or physical agony. (cue Into the Woods soundtrack) If I put myself into the situation of overdoing it, that could have consequences for several days. Whereas, if I can learn to accept that I need to step back and shift my plans, I can be productive for several days to come. It’s a weird concept to me. Not doing everything will make me more successful in the long run. How is that possible? I’m pretty sure that’s the opposite of what I’ve practiced my whole life.
Starting to disassociate with this mindset has triggered anxiety. I don’t like letting things be undone. This starts to become an exposure and slowly, I can be comfortable with putting things off. It doesn’t change who I am or how productive my day was. I’m allowing my body grace and not pushing it to the point of complete and utter fatigue. So how do you know when to push and when not to?
Finding a balance between how much is too much has been a game of trial and error. Most days, I end up on the too much side of things. I’m retraining my body. This may seem like bragging, poor me I’m too productive. That’s not my intent. My point is, I go into hyperdrive. One day I’m extremely productive and the next I can’t function because of fatigue. Like everything in life, there is a concept of too much good.
Moving forward, I’m working on mindfulness. I’m going to put emphasis on listening to my body and mind. I need to track where I am both mentally and physically. Although I do meditate daily, being mindful during tasks is difficult. I’m here to tell you that it is a practice. Every day, I can choose what I listen to. I can listen to my to-do list or my body. If I do overdo it, I can give myself grace. I can move forward knowing that what I did that day was too much. Life is one big learning lesson. If we put an emphasis on getting an A, instead of understanding the content, we risk losing the takeaway. There are multiple courses that I’ve taken that I learned nothing. I can’t tell you what the class was about but I got an A. I was too focused on the end result.
I hope that you can learn from my mistakes and start to be mindful of your own life. Even if you don’t struggle with a chronic illness, we all can participate. Our society functions on productivity at the expense of our sanity and well being. You may be judged because of a shift in focus but I can promise that you will be grateful for it. Every day you have the opportunity to be happier and healthier, you just have to take it.