The theme that’s been apparent in my clinic and in my life over the past few weeks has been about minding one’s own business. Life has been extremely busy and full since the beginning of March. Our dog Lexi had a litter of seven puppies at the end of February, so by the middle of March they were a lot more mobile, demanding of food and attention, and making a lot more mess. My business has been busy with a lot of clients, some of who have complex problems to help solve. I’d been participating in a series of weekend workshops, and had agreed to help a friend out by teaching a meditation class once a week, and hosting another one at my clinic. In amongst this Paul got very sick with meningococcal septicaemia and was in hospital for five days, and to top it off, I was signed over to be enduring power of attorney for my mother’s health care. With so much going on that was demanding my attention, I had to very quickly sort out what my priorities were so I could direct my time and energy to where it was most important. I had to be very organised to ensure work was done for my clients within an appropriate timeframe, that I was prepared for various meetings I had to attend, that puppies were fed and cleaned up after throughout the day, that the house was kept mostly clean and tidy, and my own wellbeing was taken care of.
I quickly realised that I didn’t have time for drama or gossip or time wasters. I switched off notifications from all social media sites including Facebook and FB messenger (if you’ve sent messages to me via FB and I haven’t replied, send me a text instead), unsubscribed from a bunch of email newsletters and subscriptions, and disengaged from a couple of fickle clients who would often forget their appointments, or cancel or change them at the last minute. I had to set better boundaries on my work time so I could get things done in the time I had available. I had to learn to switch off from ‘needing to be needed’ and to say ‘no’ or ‘not now’ to people – including my husband.
Because I work from home and Paul finishes work around lunchtime, if my office door is open, he’ll come in and start talking to me. While it’s nice to see him and have a quick catch up, if he makes himself comfortable and starts browsing Facebook or watching videos in my office its extremely distracting and I can’t stay focussed on getting my work done. In the last 6 weeks I’ve had to ask him to leave on several occasions, which previously I hadn’t been able to do because I’d feel guilty.
Guilt is a big trap that many women fall into. We feel guilty about taking time out for ourselves because we ‘should’ be working, or taking care of our partner/children/clients/friends/parents/pets/neighbours – in other words everyone else! We feel guilty about spending time on our business or career because we feel we should ‘be there’ for our partner or children.
As women we need to learn to value ourselves more, to see ourselves as important as everyone else around us. In order for us to do our best work and have energy for our business and clients, we have to make sure we take care of our own needs. This includes taking time out to recharge our batteries and do what we need to do to feel happy, fulfilled and full of energy.
For me this means getting to bed early and getting up early. 5 am – 9 am is ‘my time’. I love the freshness and quietness of the early morning. I usually start my day planning or writing in a journal over a cup of coffee, and then head to the gym. At 7am I either take the dog for a walk, train the puppy, or do some meditation before having a shower and getting ready for work. If I have time, I’ll hang out some washing or do a spot of housework. This way I start my day having nourished my mind, body and soul.
My husband used to get grumpy at me for ‘fluffing about’ in the mornings. He started work at 4 am so he would say things like, “Why don’t you start work at 8 o’clock like everyone else?” He would feel resentful because I had all this time to myself in the morning. Yet when he came home from work, he would watch movies, browse Facebook or compute until I finished work. I used to feel resentful towards him because of how he chose to spend his time.
When we talked this through we realised that we both needed our time out, and how we chose to use this time was different. For me, my time was at the beginning of the day, and his was at the end of his working day. When I finish work around 5:30, we cook and eat dinner, and spend a couple of hours together in the evening. By each of us ‘minding our own business’ and doing what we need to be happy, stay in balance, and get our work done, we are both less stressed and our relationship has improved (even more). If I want or need him to do something, I ask. If I need to focus on my work, I just say so. No stress, no drama.
This last 6 weeks has taught me that:
- My time is important
- My wellbeing is important
- My work is important
- My clients are important
- My husband and our relationship is important
- The wellbeing of our dog and her puppies are important
- My mother is important
- Our children are important
- Our friends are important
Any you my friend, who are reading this article, you are important too. What boundaries do you need to put in place in your life? What are you tolerating that you don’t want to anymore? Who do you need to say ‘no’ or ‘that’s enough’ to? How can you make more space in your life to nourish your mind, body and soul?
By minding your own business – ensuring your needs are met, and getting on with the work you’re here to do, life will be a much more enriching and less stressful experience.