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Days, weeks, months, and years are just flying by. You can’t remember the last time you carved out time for yourself. Most of the time you feel overwhelmed and unfulfilled. You are on your feet all day every day, act as a superhero to everyone around you, and you aren’t sure about much of anything anymore, except that you are spinning in circles everyday.

It’s one thing to be productive, as most of us really want to achieve this goal. But it’s another thing to be consumed by our obligations and responsibilities, feeling like life is all about production. Where is the balance? Where is the down time, rest time, and fun? Life can’t be all about everyone else all the time, right?

Life is not all about everyone else. Yes, we are here to help and love others, but we also have to take care of ourselves. In order to be fully equipped as a positive and support source for people who need us, we have to make ourselves a priority and not feel guilty about it. There are times that we have to say NO and be ok with it. We must set our boundaries and be confident that we are providing our best to others as well as ourselves by doing so.

But when you are spinning in circles, it is hard to know where to begin, to stop the dizziness. This is what I do when I feel myself spinning:

  • Immediately find time for myself. As soon as I possibly can, I get alone. And I mean ALONE. Even with caring for my little guy, alone might mean while he is sleeping or when I lucky enough to have family watch him. Then when I’m alone, I do what rejuvenates me: music, reading, sleeping, watching a movie, taking a walk, a cup of tea/coffee, or even talking to someone I trust. But when the world starts spinning me in circles, ALONE is my go-to.
  • Take a detailed look at my current obligations/responsibilities and get organized. It’s time for me to update, create, and revise my to-do lists. Is there too much on my plate? Have I said YES too much lately? What ways am I rejecting my needs? Sometimes permanently removing items from these lists is the required step. Other times it’s about rearranging and reprioritizing. I’m looking for things that are out of balance here.
  • Assess my physical and mental health. This is a big one! How am I feeling, both physically and mentally? What have I been eating lately? Have I been getting enough sleep? What have I been thinking about lately, and is it negative or positive? Am I getting a cold or not feeling well? Many times the world spinning around us can cause some unpleasant side effects in our minds and bodies. Check and address those fast!
  • Determine the state of your current season. Sometimes we are extra productive or have a lot on our to-do lists because we just have to get some things done. As a single mom, a full time doctorate student, and a part time Program Director, there is often a lot on my plate. But I can identify the ebbs and flows of each season. There are some weeks where I have deadlines and things that just need to get done, and I need to press through this and get them done, with the reward of relaxation and rest after its completed. This is just part of life and we have to roll with these type of seasons.

do-not-enter-1111195_1280As I mentioned, setting boundaries is another key factor leading to our feeling of dizziness. When we act as if our time and personal space is not valuable, why do we get upset when other people do not respect it? Let’s get real here. If we want to carve out time for ourselves, in any capacity, WE have to do it! Nobody else really knows what triggers your spinning feelings, or know exactly what to do to help. We have to be willing and able to address our needs, set boundaries, and even ask for help too! Just like we are available to so many people in our lives, let’s allow someone to be available to help us. Create a cycle of helping one another, instead of being the only one giving and pouring out everything you have. You can’t function if you’re on empty.

Message here: take care of yourself and do not feel guilty about it. You can strike a balance between all of your responsibilities to others and the responsibility you have to yourself. But you have to be intentional about it, in a best case scenario, everyday. The goal is to avoid the “spinning in circles” feeling, so that you can continue being productive and feel fulfilled in all areas of your life.

So, stop the spinning today! You owe it to yourself!