Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Busy Life Versus a Full Life

People ask me all the time how I manage to juggle all that I do. A few weeks ago a client of mine told me she had no idea how I did all I did every day and that she would never have the energy, nor the desire, to tackle my life. I laughed.
I forget how radically perspectives can differ based on the lens the landscape is being viewed from.
I admit, some days I feel wiped out by the time I crawl into bed.
But most nights? Most nights I crawl into bed, full of gratitude for the opportunities I am allowed, the love I am surrounded by and the freedom I have been provided to create a life that is meaningful to me.

I'm a full time Mom to 3 kids (7, 5 & 2).
I teach 9 classes a week between yoga and Bootcamp that I also spend a decent amount of time planning for.
I run at least one workshop a month.
I meet with clients for one-on-one nutritional plans and spend a few hours designing the perfect plan for them.
I create customized at home workout plans for clients
I meditate daily.
I workout 3-5 days a week.
I blog as often as I can.
I pack lunches.
I cook dinner.
I do laundry, wash dishes, get groceries, take out the garbage, run errands, clean our house and tidy up nonstop.
I juice most days and make smoothies daily.
I create programs and challenges for whoever cares to access them.
I am available to my clients (mostly) whenever they need me, and I get LOTS of emails and questions regarding health and wellness that I try responding to in a timely manner.
I volunteer at my son's school twice a month.
I go on field trips when I can and lug my kids around to appointments, the grocery store, the market, and basically wherever else I need to be, they're always with me.
I try to read every single day, which is usually in the area of self development or wellness.
I have both short term and long term goals that I am working toward, that, for now, shall remain quiet :)

I get it. It sounds like a lot, and heck, some days it FEELS like a lot.
I don't love promoting the concept of being busy. I don't find honour or pride in a laundry list of to-do items that I've successfully ticked off (ok, sometimes I do!). Nor do I admire those people who have their children in 11 different activities a week (yep, I've seen it).
I don't place high value on filling time with activity despite the way my life might appear to others.
Actually I do.
Kind of.

What I don't value is filling time with activity for the sake of avoiding stillness.
I don't value running from one thing to the next in frantic mode because it is in such a space that feelings are hurt, emotions run high and the value of relationships gets lost.

And unfortunately I see this far too often in the women I work with - their need to tackle the world. Their need to DO rather than BE. And guess what happens when these women show up to see me after years of living with this Superwoman syndrome? They have no idea who they are, what they value or what direction they want to take in their life. Despite devoting years to raising children, they lack a sense of purpose. When I ask them the question "what are your interests and hobbies?" every SINGLE time, they hesitate as a look of disbelief crosses their face because they have no idea. They literally struggle to find an answer to that question.


The answer is twofold

First, Mamas tend to give, give, give and put everyone's needs before her own. Eventually depletion sets in and her identity is so wrapped up in caring for others that when their needs change, she is left feeling undervalued, overworked and at a loss for where she should turn next. The antidote for this is SELF CARE, which I promote non-stop so we won't zone in on that here.

Secondly, Mamas tend to get caught up in our Western culture's idea of what success constitutes - being busy. All the time. Because lack of productivity equals laziness. And laziness equals lack of worth. We feel pressured all the time to do more and give more. We lose touch with our inner guide and the lines between who we are and what society expects of us become blurred.

So what's a girl to do? Well, first, practice self care every single day in as many ways as possible. Secondly, stay authentic to you and your values and fill your time with more things that inspire, rather than expire you.

What's the diff you ask? Let's pause for a moment of reflection and introspection (my faves!) and ask yourself these questions:

1. Does it deplete you or fill you?
There's a stark difference between spending your time doing things that fill you vs. deplete you. Check in on how your body is feeling and where your energy levels are at. Check in on yourself in the middle of whatever it is that you're doing - is your energy up? Are you more animated? Are you feeling a high or are you feeling lethargic and worn out? Follow the things that raise your vibe and soon enough your cup will begin to fill.

2. Are you feeling overwhelmed or motivated?
Within your life in general: are you feeling in over your head? Like you just can't keep on top of anything? Or are the things going on perpetuating more motivation and excitement? Overwhelm stems form too much of the stuff that doesn't fill you - from the BUSYness of your life, not the meaningfulness behind what you do. Tune in - what is the overall tone of your days?

3. Are you cranky or joyful?
Moods are a reflection of many things, including the state of your overall health and well-being. Do you find yourself snapping at everyone and feeling irritated on a regular basis? Do you walk through a crowd of people envisioning punching them all in the throat? Or do you smile at strangers, appreciating the interconnectedness around you? Because guess what? When you fill your life with busy, there is no room for tolerance as the threads of your patience are already beginning to snap. Pay attention to the way you interact with those in your life and use that observation as a reflection for the quality of what fills your life.

4. Are you making room for gratitude or negativity?
Chances are, when you are living a FULL life, you easily find gratitude and positivity within your day, even when things aren't going quite the way you want them to. Alternatively, when your life is BUSY, there's a tendency to find the negativity more often than not. Notice where your attention goes

I hope these 4 questions help you in recognizing what your own life is filled with. And, like anything in life, it doesn't have to be all or nothing, or 100% one way. I try to keep my diet at 80% foods that nourish me, so that I can allow for 20% of whatever foods without affecting my overall well-being. I find a parallel to my time - 80% of my time is spent doing things I adore, that fill me up, and that allow me to create and serve from an authentic space. That allows for 20% of my time to be spent doing things that don't necessarily fill me but aren't prominent enough to deplete me.

See the balance?

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