It just hit me that I haven’t blogged in weeks! I didn’t intentionally go on a hiatus, and all my serious blogging friends probably think I’ve gone to the dogs because I haven’t kept posts flying up every week. But the truth is, it’s a good sign. I’ll explain.
Historically, I’ve experienced a huge blind spot in the area of self-regulation. For a long time, I tried to run on some sort of “human generator” instead of maintaining and nurturing my main engine. (Translation: instead of getting energy from rest and nourishment, I’d crank myself up on caffeine and run til I couldn’t go anymore.) But I quickly learned that generators aren’t created to take the weight of our need for power. They’re a short-term option. If you tend to forget self-care, here is a very important little secret I’ve discovered after making some repeated mistakes over the years:
Being driven doesn’t have to mean driving yourself into the ground!
I’m driven. But I used to focus that drive on putting out the biggest fires I could. I didn’t do it on purpose, it just happened. I would focus the greater part of my energy on whatever was screaming the loudest. (Hello? It’s what moms do ALL the time, right?) I applied that same thing to my job, my home, and even my spiritual and physical well-being. Then, when something was “screaming” I would go into crisis mode and all energy and mental resources were poured into that issue. This mentality affected everything – even my tendency to be late all the time. (I wouldn’t worry about being at the next place until I had to rush to make it.)
Eventually, it hit me that focusing on only these seemingly high-return activity (fires, the squeekiest wheels, the mini-crises, etc.) gives the illusion of productivity and (to be completely transparent) significance, but drains all creativity. And sanity. And peace. And health. Over time, this drain of mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual resources becomes its own crisis if we’re not proactive.
It has been an interesting heart-shift to decide that I don’t just have to refuel my mind, heart and body when I’m on empty. Or that I can start something long before it’s critical. Or? I can just not blog rather than staying up half the night or sacrificing family time during busy writing seasons. And who would believe that I could actually arrive somewhere early? (Okay, I won’t lie, I’m still working on this one big-time.)
This isn’t just a new mindset – it’s a spiritual discipline. Knowing one’s limitations and keeping focused on long-term sustainability is helping me keep perspective of my true mission rather than distracting me with the sideshow of high-need activities that might cause me to neglect seeing myself, my family, and my work with greater discernment.
This will be a life-long pursuit – one that doesn’t come naturally for me. But one that is necessary for health, for connecting with people in a significant way, for keeping life sane and goals reachable, and for keeping me living in the moment rather than ‘out there’ mentally and emotionally. I still have a long way to go before self-regulation becomes a true habit. But staying this course is a gift to myself, from myself… and you know what? It it a gift to the people I love.
I would be curious to hear from you all on this. Anyone have some advice about learning to self-regulate and keeping all our roles in perspective??