It is hard to deny that these days, the cultural norm celebrates a busy, full, or even packed schedule. Busy, filled time means that you have people to see and places to be. Managing a tight schedule, an overbooked week, or being desperately overdue for a day off means that you are a “success”. For a long time I fell into this trap, and truthfully, my old ways still sneak up on me.
A full schedule does not equal a successful life. It could be argued that a packed calendar means that you are engaging with friends and family, in demand for your skills, or living life fully. More than likely though, we are filling our time, draining our energy, and over-promising ourselves by saying yes when no is our true desire.
Let’s say no more often, shall we?
Over the past week, I had the immense pleasure of traveling home to Chicago. I saw so many people I adore. My schedule was packed in a way that could best be described as cuckoo bananas. I knew I had a short amount of time at home and a long list of people I wanted to see, so I maximized my schedule as much as possible. I had a blast with those who supply me with so much love and laughter, which in turn filled my cup of wellness. I would not go back in time to change that cuckoo bananas schedule, as this week brought me so much joy, even if it was exhausting.
But now I am back to “real life”.
After years of being so damn busy, so overbooked, my candle burned down at every end, I finally (FINALLY) recognize that it is not just okay to slow down, but it is required. As a mostly type A human, I love a full schedule, but that doesn’t mean I can’t also learn to love the days I catch my breath. To recognize that I am worthy of this shift in my time is a huge factor in my sparkle. I finally see that running in circles every single day doesn’t benefit me or anyone else. Pausing, breathing, stretching, meditating, and simply resting all translate to supporting my health just as much as my other wellness habits.
Sometimes by staying busy, we avoid reflection, feelings, and oh dear, all those human emotions that we naturally experience. For me, keeping a tightly filled schedule allowed me to distract myself from feeling sadness, loneliness, and even processing trauma. As a recovering “avoider of emotions” and “numb-er of feelings”, I finally see that I had been using a full schedule as a coping mechanism. My sparkle requires that I feel, process, and release all those very normal human emotions that arise. Overusing food, substances, and schedules just doesn’t support my sparkle. And for the record, neither does putting others needs before my own.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to just… be? No agenda, no to do list, no expectations. If you can’t recall the last time you spent a day without obligations, it is TIME. You are so worthy of a day for you. Want to stay in your pajamas all day and watch Duck Tales? Do it. Want to wake up early, go for a walk, read a book at a café? Do it. Want to go to the aquarium and take pictures of the sea otters? Do it. (Also, please send my love to them). Want to watch your favorite movie, color in a coloring book, then sip hot chocolate? Hell yes you should absolutely do it.
I know it seems like life just must keep moving, especially when you have obligations like work, family, school, friends, bills, kids, and parents. We have all tricked ourselves into believing that the world will not continue to turn if we take a day for ourselves to refill our wellness cups. In reality, it keeps turning. I promise. There might be hiccups in the usual routines, but I find that after taking time for myself, I am better at managing my responsibilities because I took the break that I truly needed. And maybe, the people around me will take note that they can prioritize their needs, wants, and desires, too. When we take care of ourselves, we are also taking care of each other. When we are all taking the time we need, we sparkle.
Your sparkle prescription of the week: Rest. Relax. Restore.
If feelings of unworthiness, loneliness, anger, or sadness pop up, simply acknowledge them. They showed up so you can recognize that they exist, witness them, and watch them pass. When these emotions come up, that means they are ready to come out. When we allow them to come out, we support ourselves in releasing them.
When we release, you know what happens then, right?