Some advice that I have often needed: give yourself grace. You see, I’ve always been an over-achiever, multitasker, etc… And you know where that leads? Burnout!
I’ve written about this before.
You’d think that knowing that overextending myself would lead to burnout would make me reel it in, but that isn’t always the case. My natural instinct is to keep pushing. Keep moving forward, don’t give up. Don’t you dare admit defeat. I was taught when I was younger that I always had to do and give more and that’s not a lesson easily forgotten.
Success doesn’t always come to the one that works the hardest.
I’m not saying that working hard doesn’t pay off. But the expression ‘work smarter, not harder’ exists for a reason. You can work your ass off every minute of every day until you collapse but if you’re not working on the right things, it really won’t matter. What could end up happening is that you are frustrated and exhausted and you start to lose interest and focus. Your relationships might end up jeopardized and your health might be affected. Even if you do end up successful in whatever you’re working towards, you could still end up having these negative affects.
Sometimes you need someone else to tell you to give yourself grace.
When you get into your head that you have to keep going, sometimes even the knowledge that you’re on the brink of burnout isn’t enough to stop you. Having an outside voice actually tell you to give yourself grace or some other variation of the phrase can be monumental in having the ability to take care of yourself. It’s like an override for your inner (demanding) voice, allowing you to put your mental and physical health first.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
I was reminded of this the other day- another popular phrase that is a popular for a reason. You see, right now, my husband and both of my kids are all sick. Somehow I am the only one that didn’t catch it so I’ve been spending all of my time taking care of them. My instincts were to spend my days this week being the care-taker, and then continue to work on my businesses at night. Somehow find the time in between to do the dishes, the laundry, the cleaning… Despite the fact that I was so exhausted that I could barely keep my eyes open, I was frustrated when I didn’t get everything on my list done each day. I was venting to a friend when she pointed out that I have a keychain in my shop that says ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup.’ I laughed at first, but then she got more serious and was like “Seriously Danielle, give yourself grace.”
I remembered that I can’t do it all.
Not only that, but I can’t do anything if I’m burnt out! And so I thought about everything that I had going on and everything that I had wanted to accomplish this week, and I wrote it all out in my journal. Then I went through the list and circled my priorities. You know what those were? Taking care of my sick children. Taking care of my sick husband. Making sure that we all had food in our bellies and that we got some sleep.
I crossed everything else off. Because my business will still be here next week. The chores and the errands aren’t going anywhere. If I get that stuff done, there will just be more of it after that. But my family and my health? Well, those are much too important to push off. And so not only did I go and take a nap, but then afterwards I spent the rest of the day cuddling my babies and not feeling guilty at all for all of the things I didn’t get done.
I’m not going to lie, I did have to write ‘give yourself grace’ on a post it note and put it on my bathroom mirror so that when I woke up the next day, I’d remember not to have a panic attack. And I was able to remain the peaceful and calming mother that they needed me to be. And now, a few days later, I’m lounging comfortably on my couch writing this while they are sleeping; all on the mend and feeling loved and safe. Did I get a ton done this week? Nope. Not at all. Am I proud and feeling accomplished anyway? You bet your ass I am!
Because I gave myself grace.
I focused on what and who mattered. And I didn’t let that wanna-be overachieving voice in the back of my head win.
Thanks to a friend for the pep talk, my journal and visuals for processing and reminding me. And thanks to myself, for remembering how strong I am.
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