We all need to stop being so hard on ourselves. Beating yourself up because your blog post is a day late, or you didn’t get your workout in, isn’t worth it. Are you going to remember in a few weeks if you didn’t post on social media one day? Probably not. In a few months or years down the road? Definitely not! So try and put that into perspective next time you’re in the thick of it. Practice giving yourself a little grace and kindness.
Today I want to give you some encouragement, because it’s okay to slip up sometimes, or not always go above and beyond. It’s so easy to set that bar oh-so-high for ourselves. And then when we don’t reach it, we suddenly forget about all the other amazing things we’ve accomplished! So let’s work together towards changing that mindset, and focusing on the positive!
You’ll notice that I say “practicing” grace, because that’s exactly what it is – a practice. You’re not going to wake up one day with a completely different attitude. These things take time, and conscious effort.
I’m definitely not saying that you’re never going to be stressed out, or super busy, or have a million things to do at once. Life happens, there are seasons of busyness and seasons of down-time. But don’t beat yourself up because during one of those crazy-busy times, you spent your Saturday doing absolutely nothing, or you didn’t get “enough” done.
When you really think about it, there will always be one more thing on the to do list that you could have done. This thought has really been reasonating with me lately. I’ve been thinking about this when I tell myself that I am too busy or have too many things to do. And while that’s true, I do have a lot going on right now, I don’t remember exactly what I was doing three weekends ago. What to do list items did I cross off? I have no idea.
What I do remember is not taking time to relax, recharge, or grab that coffee with a friend. So this past weekend, I did exactly that! Yes, I could have gone home and done x, y, and z. But instead I enjoyed my yoga class, and had a tea afterwards with my dad. I also made a conscious effort not to feel guilty about it, and to be present! That was exactly where I needed to be in that moment. And I didn’t need to think about what I still had to get done later. In this crazy life of ours, one of constant go-go-go, what’s more important than any “to do” are the people in your life, the relationships you nurture, and the time you spend with loved ones.
I’ll be the first to admit that I definitely struggle with this concept of always being busy. I love the feeling of crossing something off my to do list. And it’s not easy when you’re juggling a full-time job with that side hustle dream. I totally understand coming home after the end of a long day and sitting down to work for another few hours. I’m not saying don’t keep doing that. You have that drive and passion, so go and follow your dream! What I am saying, is that if one day you don’t sit down in the evening and get work done, or if one weekend you don’t take those content photos or write that blog post – don’t be so hard on yourself. Take the time to relax and just rest.
I know this concept of practicing grace and being kinder to yourself can be a tricky one to navigate. Sometimes it feels like this far-away concept that you can never quite grasp. It seems easier to just fall back into your regular routine, and you’ll feel better once you get everything “done”. But you won’t, because “done” is such an elusive concept. There will always be something else, another project, the next step. So with that said, I want to share my top three practical tips on giving yourself grace. These have really helped me, so I hope they help you too!
Take a deep breath or go for a walk
Feeling your inner critic starting to creep in? Stop what you’re doing. Take some deep breaths. Sometimes I try to fight this one because I’m thinking – hah I’m too busy, and what are a few deep breaths going to do? Come on. But when I actually take the time to breathe, like the kind of breath that I get lost in during a yoga class, I feel so much better. If simply breathing doesn’t do the trick, go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be long, a few minutes around the block and some fresh air can do wonders! The irony of taking a break is that you’ll actually end up being more productive when you sit back down to whatever task you were doing beforehand.
Make a list
Not a to do list – a “have accomplished” list! Start small, and write down three things you accomplished in the last week. It’ll start to shift your mindset away from “all the things I didn’t get done”, to “wow, look at what I did do!”. I just did this little exercise and wrote down three things that I accomplished this weekend, and I couldn’t help but smile. Because while yes, I didn’t get everything done on my to do list – I did get a lot of things done, and that’s awesome!
Talk to someone
It’s amazing how talking to someone completely objective in your life can change your perspective on things. I’m not talking about a close friend or family member, I mean a counsellor or a therapist (a trained professional). I’ve been to a few different counsellors over the years, and I’ve been chatting with my current one for about nine months now. If you haven’t ever been to see one, trust me, go and make an appointment. I’ll sit down tell her about this crazy (sometimes not the greatest) week that I’ve had, and she’ll say, “Wow, but look at how well you handled all those things that were thrown at you!” And it completely changes my perspective. Sometimes it’s hard to see a new outlook all on your own, so it helps having someone shine some light on it.
So I hope these tips help you in some way, and that this little letter of encouragement helps you feel like you’re not alone in this. Because the truth is, we’re all struggling in our own way. That girl that you’re watching from afar and thinking how she must have it all together, she has her own challenges in life too. So let’s all practice grace and kindness with ourselves, and to the world around us. Life is too short to be crazy-busy all the time, forever chasing that to do list, and not focusing on the important things in our lives.
I’ll leave you with this quote I heard today that just hit home for me – What if we recharged ourselves as often as recharged our phones? ????