Much of the time, people view the word “tireless” as a badge of honor. We look up to those who are awake before dawn, who burn the midnight oil, and who work during vacations so they can get more work done, or perhaps skips vacation all together.
When we speak of self-care, those with responsibilities often meet the topic of focusing on their own needs with an eye roll. “I’ll be fine,” they say. “Don’t worry about me.” “All in a day’s work.” “Who else will get it done if I don’t?” They won’t admit to anxieties and doubts because they wear that “tireless” badge, and they certainly won’t admit when they feel worn out.
As I quickly approach the age of 50, I’ve come to terms with the effects of living this type of awarded and applauded lifestyle, and thankfully, COVID has helped me to practice the pause to do what really matters. About a year ago I started using the motto, “Do what sticks after you’re gone,” as an indicator of whether I say yes or not to commitments. COVID has helped me shape this even further. I’ve begun to rest more, practice mindfulness and look for beauty in the every day life of stillness. And you know what? It actually feels better. Pausing, seeking beauty and practicing self care really make me much more efficient, focused, and productive. As it turns out, the hustle didn’t produce the results I wanted. The stillness did. It shifts the focus from getting everything done, to the next best thing. And when your gaze is focused on the next best thing, the really important parts of life become prioritized fairly easily.
I mean, let’s be really honest. Striving for more productivity, sleeping less, opting for fast food to save time and trouble, and grabbing a quick drink with our friends to “wind down” from a tough work week doesn’t accomplish what we’re searching for. None of those things make a real difference in lessening the list of responsibilities on our plates and none of those things really bring the fulfillment, peace and rest we really need. In fact, they often make us feel worse, more tired, and needing another pick-me-up when the feel-good moment wears off. Seriously. When was the last time you woke up refreshed and ready for a long day full of responsibilities after a night of hanging out with the girls, drinking? When was the last time you worked all day, meetings back to back, and went to bed relaxed, mind set on rest and restoration needed for the next day? When was the last time that drive-through lunch left you feeling nourished and rejuvenated for the second half of the day?
Trust me when I say I’m not throwing stones. I’ve done them all too many times to count.
This is what I’m getting at: we need to look at what we do and assess if it’s working. Is your current pace focused on what sticks after you’re gone – or in just getting massive amounts of work done? Is what you’re doing leaving you fulfilled, rested, and at ease? If not, it might be time for a change. And if you’re reading this, chances are, it might be beyond time for change.
It might be beyond time to love yourself enough to address the way you treat your body when you feel the pressures of life and work and families. It might be beyond time to assess the amount of work you have on your plate and what you can do to make it meaningful rather than just a lot. It might be time to admit the way you feel dissatisfied in important relationships but do nothing of significance to make it better. And it might be beyond time to create enough space to determine the best next step to find a life of rest, fulfillment and joy.
Really, it is time to love yourself and those around you enough to make these hard changes. Instead of taking pride in being seen as “tireless,” it is time to find joy in knowing you are caring for your body, mind, and spirit.
That’s what really matters. That’s the work that sticks when you’re gone. Wanna join in this new quest with me?
If you’re tired, if you feel the burden of the world as you strive, if your relationships aren’t measuring up to your expectations, or if you’re tired of trashing your body or budget in the name of convenience, fun, or fulfillment, why not take the first brave step of becoming a heart of true rest? Why not practice the pause long enough to see about what’s driving you and the better way to address those issues underneath? Why not reach out to begin crafting a life that leaves you more fulfilled and less stuck in the “crazy busy” of it all? Start with calling us.
We’ll help you with the next step.
April Bordeau is the Director of Care to Change. A licensed clinical social worker, she has focused on helping children and families overcome challenges in their lives for over 25 years.