As a family of 4, Mom, Dad and two small boys, our routine at night ends with story time. Well, now, my oldest is reading to me. It is a time in his life where he is opening doors and becoming more confident, but this has posed a new challenge. By the time he has put the bookmark back into the book and closed his eyes, I am already fast asleep next to him. Eight O’clock and I’m snuggled up between my seven and four year olds.Sounds great, right? No! I have to finish a couple things! Once my eyes are closed, I am the Zombie Mombie. My brain is off. Running three organizations, and being Mommy finally caught up with me. The same thing is happening to Daddy. We’re so depleted by the end of the day that if we’re not both passed out in between the kids by 8:00, then we’re doing the notorious head bob struggling to get through an episode of one of our shows. It’s futile. We are exhausted.
We’re not alone. At least in my circle, we are finally starting to talk about the exhaustion of living in modern society. In my newsfeed, we’re seeing a lot of funny memes, and comedy is born from truth. As a whole, we are finally talking about the pressures of life, work, family, and the seemingly inevitable guilt that goes along with it all. People are finally talking about what they need to thrive. I see parents walking to school with their kids holding giant cups of coffee. I hear moms talking about getting a sitter so that they can go anywhere, just anywhere without having their littles hanging on them. Days off are a dilemma because, while you’re getting an extra hour of sacred sleep you’re then trying to find a way to keep your kids occupied throughout the day.
It isn’t only parents! People are feeling the pressure from their jobs, from social media, from everywhere they look to do more and be more. I am my own worst enemy. When you’re an entrepreneur, a lot of the pressure comes from within. It’s difficult to stop what you’re doing when you’re excited and driven, but we have to learn to keep our health in check.
So what do we do? I had to go back to a principle I learned a long time ago. The pillars of strength. These are the things you need to do so that you can function at your highest potential.They are the things you do first to front load your week. They are the most important part of your schedule, which is how it should be. Without you, this ship doesn’t run.
I bet you can guess what my first one is…You got it! Sleep! I need more sleep than most people. When I’ve been around a lot of people or working a lot, this is the first thing my body craves. Hence the zombie mombie I’ve been lately. My other pillars are exercise, planning time and pondering time. Exercise helps me keep my mind clear and planning time helps me to understand what I need to do and how much time I have to do it. Pondering time helps me clear my head. Sometimes it is meditation, sometimes it’s just thinking about something, or watching my kids play. It’s not thinking about work or other things that need to get done.
Here are a few questions to help you find your pillars.
- What does your body need? Nutrition, exercise, sleep?
- What does your brain need? Organization, a calendar, someone to develop ideas with?
- What does your spirit need? Time to yourself, meditation, mantras and mindset exercises?
Honor these needs and slowly work them into your schedule. Ride the seesaw, where some weeks you work hard to meet a deadline and the next you tilt to the other side to integrate more self care. Learn to check in with your body on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You can’t drive a car without gas, you can’t go on a trip without some preparation, so why would you try to fly by the seat of your pants with any other part of your life. This is the work that makes a difference.