Monday Musings….She’s the One who has Never Painted her Nails!
Well it’s been a few weeks since I have been able to muse! Life simply got ahead of me. Like many of you, there honestly wasn’t enough hours in the day. Time – that precious commodity – seems to pass way too quickly!
One of the responsibilities I had recently was speaking at a regional event. The topic was stress. During an activity, I had each of them spontaneously call out one of their stressors. It didn’t take long before we saw a pattern emerge: everyone was affected by trying to please other people and in the process sacrificing their own time to regroup. As one person said brilliantly, they felt "pulled in all directions".
We all know we need to prioritize, which sounds easy enough if you have 2 or 3 things on your plate. But the reality is that most of us have multiple things vying for our attention at once. And when well-meaning friends suggest that we say “No” to taking on another task, it just doesn’t help because EVERYTHING is important. How do you not attend your son’s hockey game, or refuse to help your friend out by proof-reading their essay? The answer - we keep pushing the minute hand on the clock.
So rather than feeling the guilt and strain of prioritizing, let’s consider a new perspective. For most of us, we can’t change the immediate demands. They are constant BUT they are ever changing. It’s like we go and go and go, finally catch a breath and, boom, a new expectation lands on our plate. So we have to face reality that, for most of us, we will face long bouts of stress and strain, followed by short periods of rest. If we continually long for extended periods of rest, we will get discouraged and feel defeated when they don’t happen.
So let’s adopt a new perspective:
Accept the reality of demands on your time
Take a deep breath and run towards the stress instead of avoiding it (because stress never goes away on its own)
Whatever you feel you must do in that moment, immerse yourself, and be fully present in that activity. You’ll enjoy it much more because your mind won’t be distracted about the other things vying for your attention.
When the task is complete, relish that break, however small, until you must start up with the next demand.
In summary, life follows this equation: Rise => Run forward => Rumble => Rest => Repeat.
What we notice is that these 5 touch points are not equally distributed throughout the 24 hour period, or the 365 day calendar. And while we might wish for less rumbling and more rest, it’s only in the resolution of the battle before us, which will allow us to rest more peacefully. Some battles are persistent, others short-lived. No matter, they will end eventually, and a break will come. Keep your eye on the fact that rest will happen, it just doesn’t feel like it when stress seems never-ending.
When you finally do get your rest period, no matter how short it is, you will likely want to do something you enjoy, that you know can fit into the time frame that you think is doable. It may be enjoying a nice cup of coffee, surfing the web, reading a book, playing a video game, or painting your nails.
Recently in a business establishment, I happened to notice the woman serving me had very interesting painted nails and so I commented positively on the time it must have taken her to paint them. She then asked when was the last time I had my nails done, to which I responded: “ Never, not even as a child.” Totally perplexed, she could not believe this was true. So the next time, I was in the business, she introduced me to her co-worker as ‘that’ woman. To which I responded, well, “I just never had the time.” :)
This week’s song is the 1980's classic hit, 9 to 5, by Dolly Parton, who, I’m sure, had time to get her nails, among other things, done! Ha ha ha