Does this sound familiar?
It’s Sunday night, you have a list of things you need to get done in preparation for the week ahead. You wonder, ‘Where did the weekend go?’ The very same weekend that you waited for all week long. The very same weekend that you couldn’t wait for so that you would finally have some time to relax. Yet, you didn’t relax. You’re still feeling just as tired and overwhelmed as you felt the week before.
I know many of you can relate to this Sunday night feeling. I know I've felt it more times than I care to admit. I used to live a life that's very different from the one I live today. In fact, when I think back on who I used to be, I barely recognize that old version of myself. The old me that was always going, always doing, always being, and never for myself.
Now I say that I'm a recovering adrenaline addict. I used to be addicted to the adrenaline rush I felt in my body.
My ego used to be addicted to all the things that I could boast about accomplishing in a day. I always thought I wanted to relax and unwind; however, the truth was that I didn’t know how to. And an even deeper truth is that for so many years, I wasn’t ready to know how to. The ability to relax and unwind requires that one be still and being still scared me. Being in quiet, with nothing but my thoughts, was terrifying for me.
I had no idea what to do with myself when I wasn’t multi-tasking, over-committing, over-doing, over-pleasing, or over-working. So, the weekend that I waited for all week long would end up being just as busy as my weekdays were. I didn’t have down time because I didn’t know how to give myself down time. And even if I did know how to give myself that time, I had no idea what to do with it. It was the same for vacations. I would count the days waiting for my vacation, go on vacation and then not relax. I'd live in the same pattern of being busy. I just did it in a different location for a week.
My life used to be lived in a pattern that looked like this..….I never stopped, I kept myself busy all day long.
I worked long hours which I fueled with coffee, sugar-filled drinks, alcohol and convenience foods. It felt nearly impossible for me to say, 'No', to anyone. This left me full of resentment inside for having to do things I didn’t really want to be doing. I would go until my body would run out and I'd end up sick. This would force me to stay in bed for a couple of days so that my body could catch up on much needed rest and sleep. Then the minute I started to feel my energy coming back, I got out of bed and began the cycle all over again. This was the pattern I lived in for many, many years.
I was addicted to the rush of adrenaline I received from busying myself. I was a workaholic who shopped and partied to numb myself from my reality. And when I think back on those days, I remember feeling like I was living in a fog. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that I was living in a fog and I wasn’t really living, I was simply going through the motions of day-to-day.
Thankfully, there came a point in my life where I knew something needed to change.
Truthfully, I was desperate for that change. I was so bored, unhappy, unfulfilled, overwhelmed, exhausted, unhealthy….let me say this, I was everything but happy and healthy. I was living the life I thought I was supposed to be living. Doing what was expected of me. Living in an endless cycle of trying to please and do and be for everyone else. I had no idea who Amanda even was.
Slowly I began to realize that I was making myself sick all the time. Living at full speed with a well that was half-full at best, usually nearly empty. I was unable to care for my own needs first, I simply didn’t know how to do that. My body was neglected because I ate to fill it up, rather than nourish it with healthy foods. I greatly underestimated the value of sleep and I lacked knowledge in how to effectively manage day-to-day stress. I didn’t honor my feelings, my time, or my energy. My lack of self-love left me incapable of caring for myself to my best ability.
Fast forward to today, over 10 years later, I now know better and do better.
I now know that I'm not selfish for caring for my own needs first ~ I'm simply putting myself on the top of my to do list.
Now I know how to care for myself in ways I'd never experienced before ~ knowing that nobody can care for Me the way that I can and what a gift it is to do so.
One of the most powerful lessons I've learned is that I'm only as good to others as I am to myself. I don't just understand this statement mentally, I get it viscerally. This knowing lives within my cells. I can only live and give from that which I have within me to do so. It’s my responsibility to give myself all that's required to fill my own well first. I now do so with much love and without apology. It's my wish that other women learn to live the same way.
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