Take a Tizzy Timeout

The holiday season is here, and I can already feel myself revving up into overwhelm mode. I LOVE the holidays, but I can really stress myself out with all the extra tasks I take on during this time. Cooking, baking, hosting, making and sending out holiday cards, shopping for gifts, decorating … does this sound like your list also? Last year, I was able to use my new morning ritual to stay somewhat centered, and it helped me slow down and enjoy the season more. But I still wore myself out. When things get extra busy, I work myself into a tizzy trying to handle everything as quickly as possible. I tend to keep moving until it’s all done—and then collapse.

This year, I plan to take some short breaks each day—“tizzy timeouts”—to recharge myself as I go. I’ve tried this during crazy-busy days recently and it really helps. Give it a try the next time you find yourself in that whirlwind of activity. Just taking a moment to sit down and breathe, or a few minutes to savor a cup of tea, can make all the difference in how you feel. That tiny little rest restores enough energy to keep going without completely burning out. And it can help make whatever you’re doing a lot more enjoyable!

I also highly recommend a morning ritual, if you don’t already do one—or if you’ve tried but find it hard to implement. For some tips, check out this article I wrote recently for Yoga Journal on “5 Ways to Actually Stick to a Morning Ritual,” or this post on The Daily Positive: “Meaningful Morning Rituals in 10 Minutes or Less.

Whether it’s in the morning, at lunch, in mid-afternoon, or in the evening, carve out some space each day just for you. Take some time to rest and recharge. The holidays are a marathon, not a sprint!

I won’t be posting next week since it’s Thanksgiving, so I’ll see you in December! I hope you have a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving (if you’re in the U.S.) and a lovely week (if you’re not!).

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Resolution #5: Do Good

{As I’ve posted before, I’m creating resolutions in honor of my recent 50th birthday that will inspire and guide me going forward.}

This resolution also has two meanings, like Be Light, and it’s related in a way as well. As I said in the Be Light post, I want to be a positive influence. I want to do good things in my life. I’m not necessarily thinking of huge things, but whenever I have a chance to do some good, like helping a person in need, I want to take it.

Part of this is keeping my eyes open for those chances. Often I’m all wrapped up in my own life and not really paying full attention to the world around me. It’s easy to miss opportunities to help others when I’m just focused on myself.

It also means choosing actions that will be helpful, rather than hurtful, to others. I want to act with integrity. I never want to harm another through my actions or words. And if I do hurt someone else (which inevitably happens, even when we don’t mean to), I want to step up and apologize immediately, and try to make it right. I want to own my actions rather than letting shame take over and cause me to justify or hide.

It’s hard to admit when I’ve made a mistake, especially if it hurt someone else. But it’s important to be honest and to give the other person a chance to tell me how they feel. It’s uncomfortable, but so much healthier than avoidance! And it’s simply the right thing to do if I want to live a “good” life.

The other meaning of this resolution is that I want to focus on being satisfied with “good” rather than “perfect.” Gretchen Rubin references the quote “Perfect is the enemy of good” in The Happiness Project, and this really struck a chord with me.

I spend way too much energy trying to do everything perfectly, when doing it “good enough” would be just fine. I want to lower some of my ridiculously high standards and, as I’ve talked about before, give myself a break as much as possible. I think that will free up a lot of energy and time. This part may be harder to stick to, but it will really have a positive impact in the long term.

What do you think about the idea of “good” being OK, or even preferable, to “perfect”? Here is an interesting article from Entrepreneur magazine that goes into the concept a little further. And in the spirit of this idea, I’m going to wrap this post up here, rather than attempt to create the perfect ending! :-)



Do You Ever Have Trouble Taking a Break?

I have been working very hard on writing a book for about the past five months. The manuscript is now with the editor, and I have turned my focus to the elements of production and promotion. It’s all quite overwhelming, and I feel like my brain is totally fried at this point. What I really need is a break, but I can't seem to give myself one. I feel compelled to keep going, as much as possible every day, so that I can meet my deadline. Since I am self-publishing, it is a completely arbitrary and self-imposed deadline—but I will still feel like a failure if I don't meet it.

On the one hand, I'm proud of myself for persevering in the face of difficulty and mental fatigue. But on the other hand, I seem to have lost the ability to take a break. Each weekend I tell myself I’m going not going to do any work, and then I feel fidgety until I finally give in and so something.

However, we are going to the beach this weekend, and I am not taking my laptop, and I am not taking my notes. I am going to do my very best to put all of this out of my head for three whole days. I know it's going to be a struggle, but I feel like it's necessary for me at this point.

Many people I admire say that doing less is often more productive than pushing through and doing more. I'm going to experiment with that this weekend and hope that they are right! I think a lot of times we put too much pressure on ourselves. A life coach I've worked with named Carla Robertson calls it “SIMU”—“stuff I made up.” I keep thinking all of these things are vital and have to happen right away, when the truth is, they can actually wait.

I hope that you are also able to take a break this weekend from whatever you may be struggling with, or working too hard on. Give yourself some rest and relaxation. I will certainly be trying to achieve that. Ha—I’ll be trying to rest. Sigh. Wish me luck!