It's been exactly a month since I had that... breakdown. As with every time you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. At the time, obviously, it was horrible. But in retrospect it was just what I needed to happen. A great wakeup call if you will.
I made a bunch of new changes as a result of everything that happened. I feel great. Honestly. I took a legitimate vacation. I make a commitment, and stick to it, for when I'm going to leave the office at night. I read every single morning and every night, no matter what. I've been drinking more water and eating healthier. I've even made plans with my friends at work to do SoulCycle together a few times a week. There are nights I dedicate to hanging out with friends, there are nights I dedicated to catching up on some work and meeting people, but there are also nights I dedicate to just doing nothing.
But the biggest decision I've made? Well, it's not so much a decision as it was a realization. I had been putting so many things ahead of myself and my health. Partly because I naturally want to please everyone (#guilty) and partly because I don't like to think of myself as having limitations.
Pleasing everyone is impossible. (You really can't be everything for everyone...) And thinking that I'm limitless is helpful at times, but it can seriously backfire if I end up driving myself into the ground!
I recently took the StrengthsFinder test (you know how much I love these tests!). One of the things that comes up is that I don't like letting people down. When I say that I'm going to do something, I have to do it by the time I said it would be done... because the guilt is just horrible if I don't. So this feeling had been driving me to accomplishing absolutely everything, even at the price of myself.
But the real problem was that I was saying YES to too much! I was taking on additional projects and picking up some leftover pieces from other people... and literally driving myself insane in the process.
I've been so much better about saying NO.
Now, I do get a twinge of guilt when I have to say no... but I know that I'm taking care of myself.
The best strategy that I've been implementing is to frame the no in a different way. Instead of saying no flat-out, I explain that I can do that, if I don't do X, Y, or Z. Most of the time, the person will acknowledge that the new task doesn't take precedence. But other times, I re-prioritize and reallocate my tasks to make room.
Do you struggle with saying "No"?