So...over the last few weeks, I have seen this quote floating around on Facebook. I don't know where this came from, so I can't properly credit the person that initially wrote this, but whoever wrote it...THANK YOU.
What happened to lead us here? Isn't everything in that statement uncomfortably true? I know it is for me! Let's take it bit by bit, shall we?
1. I'm tired of people romanticizing overexertion. Exhausted is not the new chic, coffee (though a delicious necessity) is not a food group, and running on fumes is not admirable.
Amen people!!! I'm so glad that someone finally said it! It seems like the majority of the people around me are perpetually tired. They are consumed by their jobs, their classes, their social lives, their physical fitness, etc, etc, etc. They never have down time. Not too long ago, I romanticized overexertion too, and I still do to some degree! I feel the need to keep up with everyone that is surrounding me. However, I am learning that success (in anything) does not mean wearing yourself out! So how do we fix this epidemic? Well, we have a responsibility to recognize when the people around us are tired. We have a responsibility to recognize when we are tired. And more than that, we need to do something about it, not just shove our tiredness under the rug to deal with another day. That's how we make it worse. Here's a challenge: Ask people how they are feeling...and wait for a genuine answer. Invite someone to do something fun or relaxing if you notice that they are consumed in one area of their life. Your encouragement and conversation might be just the thing they need.
2. Why do we hold pedestals for sleepless nights, breakdowns, and inner turmoil? Are those things really to aspire to?
Why do we, really? Being so overwhelmed that it leads to serious anxiety is not something to be admired, it is unhealthy. Whatever you might be going through, you are not alone. If you feel swallowed up by an unhealthy relationship, your own business, your broken family life, your obsession with getting good grades, you aren't alone! Sure, that might sound cheesy and cliche, but it is true. We all go through sleepless nights, breakdowns, and inner turmoil at some point when it feels like we have too much to bear. Friends, life is not meant to be lived alone. Find someone to lean on if you feel like you are struggling to keep up. Heck, you can lean on me. (I'm serious about that!!!)
3. Self-care, balance, the ability to know when your body, mind, and spirit need to take a step back. Those are things we should admire. We have to stop blurring the line between commitment and self endangerment.
In the first paragraph my challenge to you was notice the exhaustion that others are going through. Noticing when you are exhausted is pretty important too. You can't pour into others out of an empty cup. I will probably write several more posts on self care because it is something that I am in the process of learning too. One thing that has helped me just this week is getting outside. When I feel overwhelmed at my desk, working on things for my classes, taking a few minutes here and there to edit, answering emails, writing contracts, etc...I leave my to do list and go outside. And I feel better every time. My mind needs fresh air and and exercise, and yours might too! It seems counterintuitive to leave your tasks to go to something that seems unproductive, but trust me...it makes a difference in your attitude and makes you grateful for this beautiful world we live in!
4. Because too many people are burning out before they have a chance to truly shine.
Have you ever heard the phrase "work smarter, not harder"? That is what I thought of immediately after reading this statement. If you love what you do, no matter what field you are in...but you find yourself being overworked, take a step back. What areas of your life are being neglected because you are overworked? In photography, I find myself pulled in so many directions. I feel the pressure to create styled shoots because so many others are doing it. What about getting published? What about booking more clients? What about learning the latest gear? What about attending this workshop that other people are attending? Just thinking about all of that makes me tired, let alone doing it! It's hard to let go of things like that because we are afraid that we won't measure up to our competition. And that doesn't apply just in businesses. It applies to our social lives and other areas of our lives too! Flowers bloom in their own time. It's time to stop running after things that we will learn or do in our own time.
So, to the person that wrote this, thank you. YOU GET IT. It's almost like we want people to admire us and feel sorry for us at the same time. Even though someone might look like they have it all together, trust me...there are broken pieces. Success does not equal exhaustion or overexertion. It's time to analyze what we are doing and start making changes for the good of our own health and the health of others. We all have a spark in us that fuels what we love to do...but we have to carefully kindle that spark, not blow it out before it can be a beautiful flame. Thank you for reading friends.
If you liked this post, you might also like to read about the difference between vocation and occupation, or, the work that really makes my heart sing...here are Christina's bridal portraits, and Christina and CJ's mountainside engagement session.