Do we really, I mean really, want to “have it all together”? Maybe, but what does this even mean? Why is there so much pressure to find that work/life balance? If–or when–we’ve found our groove and what works for us and/or our family, why are we so quick to question this groove?
To me, this idea of having it all/having it all together seems utterly unattainable and thus, surrounded with guilt, anxiety, shame. It’s my opinion that being okay with our lives is, gasp, okay! I realize the parenting groups and memes and social media quips may have us feeling differently, but it is okay to be doing okay. Life does not have to be all or nothing. Crappy days happen. They drain all our reserves. Thankfully, some things I do for myself help replenish those reserves each day (exercise, silence, a morning routine–I literally wake up too early to have one cup of coffee in silence–trying to nurture friendships, etc).
Life is unbalanced. No matter what, kids or work or partners or injury/illness, life will happen and throw the whole system out of whack at some–or many!–points in our lives. How can we better manage being thrown? That should be the question, not how can we “have it all together?” How do we put it back together?
I am an introvert. I have struggled with wicked anxiety for a very long time and thus learned, very well, how to outwardly mask this so to survive without questioning. I also have a type A personality in that I like a plan; I function better with a plan. I’m also a bit of a minimalist. From the outside looking in, it could appear that I am very much “together”. From the outside.
For example, I literally forgot my water bottle six (SIX!) times yesterday morning. I was informed I sent my daughter to daycare without shoes. (In my defense, I did not, her shoes were hidden by another child AT daycare but I believed that I did and could have sent her sans shoes.) I miss deadlines. I am also clumsy and trip. A lot. It’s odd and embarrassing and I should probably bring it up at my next doctor’s appointment.
Nonetheless, I think it’s incredibly important to remind ourselves that we are not on the outside. We live on the inside. If we want or need something from someone we’re likely going to have to ask for that because “from the outside” it may seem like all is well as it relates to children, partnership, employment, lack of employment, housework, hobbies; you name it. But, we in the know, on the inside may be struggling and in need. We literally cannot do it all.
I also find it important not to judge others because, just like us, their outside may not accurately reflect what is happening on their inside. Please be kind. Reach out to your people randomly and check in if and when you can. It really does mean the most.
I’d like to add a short list of things that has helped me manage my anxiety/stressor(s) in the past and present. This likely goes without saying, but just in case, please speak to your healthcare provider prior to starting any treatments, supplements and/or to discuss starting or stopping any medications to ensure no contraindications arise.
- High intensity exercise
- Silence/time alone (if even for 5-10 minutes). I really want to say meditation here but it is just not my jam; or isn’t my jam yet. I continue to practice.
- Counseling (traditional as well as Healing Touch and Shamanic Healing). Additionally, if employed, look into your employee assistance program options as most offer some counseling (either face to face or phone-based) options.
- Natural Calm magnesium supplement
- Ashwagandha supplement
- Anti-anxiety medication (both “traditional” and “non traditional”)
- Acupuncture and cupping
Also, if you have it all together, props. And holler at me.