Hello Succulent Sunday Readers. Happy Valentine's Day. As I write this post, I am waiting for my family to drive home through a snowstorm. It has been long week with some exciting developments and a bike crash, so today has called for a bit of self-care. Honestly, I recognize my next statement is generally impossible for most moms: I slept all day. For my self-care this week, I went to bed on a Friday night at 5:30 pm and slept nearly 24 hours.
It is a testament to my personal journey that I have been able to do this today without feeling guilty. I am not sick, although I am recovering from the soreness of an unexpected bike crash. I have many things that I wished to accomplish today (including publishing this post earlier than usual.) I am not even feeling guilty that I haven't cleaned the house to my personal satisfaction. It is Galentine's day, my body clearly needed rest. I chose to rest without guilt.
As we talk about Overcoming the Overwhelm, we must focus on the mental mindset associated with guilt-free self-care. Recall that we described three tenants to Overcome the Overwhelm: emotional, physical, and spiritual / mindset. It is interesting to hear many people talk about how they cut short the self-care of their physical being in order to placate the emotion of guilt.
To overcome the overwhelm, we must examine the emotion of guilt.
Guilt | 'gilt
:feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy: SELF-REPROACH (Merriam-Webster, 2021)
I particularly appreciate that this definition of guilt includes the phrase "imagined offenses" as well as a "sense of inadequacy." In short, the feeling of guilt implies that we have a low self-esteem. In choosing to value a clean house over self-care, is it really what I or my family needs? The state of being for a house should be full of love and energy first and foremost. I can choose much-needed rest in order to provide love and energy to my family members. Today, I made a conscious decision to choose energy over spotless, shiny surfaces.
Life is a series of choices. In business, we must weigh the pros and cons of decisions we reach. How many of us place the same value on our personal decisions? Do we actively consider the balance of our personal decisions or do we choose to respond with emotion? In Leadership Foundations we teach a balanced scorecard, both a personal scorecard as well as a business scorecard. While the business scorecard has been well-researched and established, about two years ago, I adapted the scorecard for my personal use. It has helped to alleviate those aggravating feelings of guilt.
The four categories that I address in the scorecard include:
Within each of these categories, I have identified three (3) primary variables to address. The variable I choose are specific to my "weakness" habits or bad habits that require improvement, so my variables may not apply to you. I adjust my variables each year as my habits improve with tracking. I will share with you my health variables and the thought process that accompanied them. I'd love to hear what variables you ultimately choose. Drop a note on our Insta or Facebook page with comments!
For 2021, I have chosen: vegetable intake, hours of sleep, and weight as my three tracking variables. Why did I choose these?
First of all, through years of reasonably decent eating habits, I found that I was more likely to grab a powerbar instead of an apple or cut up vegetables. A recent review of my eating habits revealed that although I was eating more vegetables than the average American, I was not eating an optimized diet. I found that my diet naturally followed a healthier path if I focused on the vegetables. Interestingly, but stating this goal to my family, they supported me. In turn, the entire family benefited from my focus.
Regular readers of this blog series may recognize that I am a "doer." I love to accomplish tasks. I love to help people. Perhaps these descriptions apply to you as well.
I, too, struggle to put my needs before the needs of others. In an effort to avoid the inevitable burnout or overwhelm associated with my actions, I focus on sleep quantity. I hope to truly improve my sleep quantity so that I can focus on sleep quality in 2022. My goal is an average of 7 hours of sleep per night.
I track my weight as a function of health and physical fitness. Weight is complicated for many people. However, years of training has led to me truly understand the "correct" number for my body based on where I am in my training season, my levels of stress and inflammation, even my level of hydration. I do not worry about weight with regards to what the number tells the world any more than I worry about any given dress size. In this regard, I have a very healthy relationship with weight as a measurement. Weight is a data point; it does not define me.
Weight is a data point; it does not define me.
If these statements do not apply to you, then I do not recommend weight as a daily measurement. If you would like to understand more about what weight can tell you about your body, please spend some time reading or ask a professional. If you need specific help and do not know where to turn, please reach out. I am happy to make some very strong recommendations of fitness trainers and nutrition specialists I have worked with throughout the years.
So, now that you understand a bit more about the personal scorecard, let's tie it all together:
By identifying the variables that are (most) important to you, you are able to find a balance between them. We cannot be all things to all people. However, with intention and reflection, we can set our inch-by-inch goals. In doing so, we begin to kick the emotion of guilt to the curb.
Find the most important thing to you. As mentioned about, I feel strongly that positive energy, even presence, is important in the family setting. Yes, it is more important that a clean and shining house, despite decades of German-American influence in this regard. I chose to sleep in order to be prepared to meet my family. I chose to kick the emotion of guilt to the curb. (Here's a secret: it wasn't easy. I had to remind myself that I made this choice. I had to remind myself that I wasn't going to feel guilty.)
As I have adapted and practiced my personal scorecard, my sense of well-being has improved through the years. I have learned to value, even cherish, the moments that I choose to care for myself: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It is a mental muscle that I choose to develop consciously.
This Galentine's Day & Valentine's Day I encourage you to choose self-care. Choose self-care without guilt. If you are struggling with it, give the personal scorecard a try.
Each year, set your personal scorecard by evaluating your values to set your goals and resolutions. Understand how the variables impact each other in your life. Each day, focus on achievable inch by inch goals. Kick the feeling of guilt to the curb by only focusing on the most important variables you identify.
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