Replenishing Your Essence or Spirit
I recently sat down with a dear friend to discuss our hectic lives. She was describing her relationship and that of her husband’s. She stated that her husband’s work (he is a therapist) encompassed his being. His spirit or essence was that of being a therapist. She explained that she was quite different from her husband. Her role, her essence, was that of a manager. She managed the kids, put in a full day at work as a part-time teacher, and helped with administrative tasks at her children’s’ school. She saw herself as a life manager. Her job was to plan, coordinate, and delegate.
This woman felt very comfortable with her essence. However, lately, her life has felt out of balance. Her husband had been ill for several months and he was saving all of his energy for his work. This left her feeling like a single parent in a two-parent household. She was on overload and it depleted her of her spirit. Her essence was being affected. She was functioning on “automatic”. As a result, she was emotionally drained, sleep-deprived, and less able to experience the joy in her life.
Too frequently, this happens to women who step into that “Supermom” role because of perfectionistic tendencies or life circumstances. Normally, I would have encouraged my friend to create more lifelines and find more ways to replenish herself. However, she said she was so exhausted that she needed to simply meet her basic needs—like sleeping.
Since her role was to manage the family, she had gone into overdrive. When you go into overdrive for an extended period of time, the “automatic pilot” kicks in and it’s tougher to enjoy life. Unfortunately, my friend is feeding into her own problem, since she is supporting her own role of “single parent in a two-parent household”. She must do something to get out of overdrive and share the piloting again.
If this profile fits you, it’s time for you to stop the insanity! Find ways to balance your life. This requires managing your day differently. Here are three things you can do to invest your energy differently:
Slow down! No matter how hectic your day, make an effort to slow it down.
? Do less! Look at your day differently. Multitask less. Women are notorious for multitasking. This actually can take a toll on your energy. Do things differently—at home and at work. Put the kids to bed earlier. Make fewer trips to the store. Prepare meals straight out of the refrigerator. Who cares if you’re out of milk? Right now, you’re trying to fortify yourself. Take on less at work.
? Replenish! She needed a coach to hold her accountable. She is a very strong woman, but her schedule was so engrained that she needed some strategies to break the cycle, not to mention that SHE needed the extra support. Had her situation been less pervasive I would have recommended that she focus on nurturing herself. She needed a more aggressive course of action.
Replenishment of self may mean that the spouse is less protected. He or she may need to step up to the plate, no matter how ineffective they are, at child-rearing, money management, or household tasks. If your role is all-consuming, it’s time to manage your role differently. This will help preserve your sanity and your essence.