Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: Pexels.com
Being a single mother of two energetic children, with a full-time job, a relationship, a house to pay off and maintain, social relationships to nurture, a blog to write and, perhaps, some free time to spend for myself… It seems like an impossible task, one that I am in no way fit for and could not imagine myself actually managing.
And yet, I am all of the above. I DO all of the above. My children don’t go hungry, my students are satisfied about my teaching, my relationship is growing and flourishing, my house is slowly but surely improving, I have more close friends than seems like my fair share and today, like every Wednesday and Saturday for the past 4 months, you are offered a new blog post.
There are just so many ‘but’s’:
- But my children don’t eat all the vegetables they need.
- But I could offer more structure in my classes.
- But my partner and I still hit bumps from time to time.
- But my house needs new windows and looks more messy than clean.
- But I don’t see my friends as often as I would like.
- But…. but…. but…
All these ‘but’s’ make it seem as if I’m not actually doing what I’m doing. As if I’m not ‘being’ who I want to be. They make it hard to see what IS instead of what isn’t. They fuel this maxim of ‘not enough, not enough, not enough‘ and they lead to a feeling of constant near drowning. It’s both exhausting and terrifying at the same time.
When that panic arises, the first response we have is to try to compensate for the feeling of lack we have. We start breathing faster, moving faster, working faster… or so it seems. The video I’ve put below is by Mel Robbins, a wonderful woman, one of my favourite speakers, with a great explanation on what happens in this case and what can help you.
I’d like to add some steps to it: when the feeling of ‘I can’t handle this’ arises, call someone who loves you. I call my partner, but it could be your best friend, or your mom, or… Just make sure it’s someone who can listen calmly without catching on to your panic (panic can be extremely contagious).
When I did this with my partner, he was able to calmly point out all the things I already do. That I’m actually swimming like a pro instead of being under water half the time. And he reminds me to ask for help where I can.
I also want you to write yourself a note. You put this note somewhere where you can easily reach it: in your wallet, on your kitchen board, on your desk, in the bathroom… Just somewhere in sight. This is what you write:
Dear (enter your name)
Take ten deep breaths into your belly.
Relax your shoulders, relax your jaw.
You have a roof over your head. You have food in the fridge. You have people around you that love you… (Feel free to add personal details here!)
This is how you are already doing the best you can: (add a list of how you’re already showing up for yourself and those around you).
There is NOTHING in this world that is improved by you feeling this way.
This is what you’re going to do now to break this cycle: (drink a cup of tea, go for a short walk, meditate, call someone you love, ask for a hug…)
With September 1st just around the corner, I’ll keep my note very close and remember, even when it feels like I’m drowning, I’m actually swimming like a pro!