by Penelope Loves Lists Contributor Denise Martinez
As Penelopes we wear so many hats, some of our own choosing, some that others have given us (we’re people pleasers, remember). You might not even realize your assortment of hats but if you close your eyes and visualize each role as an actual hat I bet you would need a Carrie Bradshaw-like closet to hold them.
We’re moms, sisters, daughters, wives, friends, bosses, project managers, housekeepers, event planners, mentors, accountants and the list goes on and on and on. Taking on all of these roles, wearing all of these hats, usually means one hat is left in its box on the top shelf of the closet.
One important person isn’t getting your time, attention and care…….YOU!
I’m so guilty of this and it’s gotten to the point where the lack of focus on myself has negatively affected my wellbeing.
I recently had my second child, my family moved to a new town where I don’t know anyone and I took over a new position at work. All of these new changes and roles have left me feeling extremely overwhelmed.
When I’m feeling this way I start to lose my Penelope personality and another side of me comes out, for the sake of this post let’s call her Pandora. When I’m Penelope I’m strong, focused, confident, goal-oriented and no one can tell me I can’t accomplish something. Penelope gets shit done – #beastmode!
But Pandora is a different kind of beast, she’s stressed out all the time, anxious, negative, she gets in her own way, she second guesses herself, she lacks confidence and she easily shuts off the world. Pandora leaves me feeling like I’ve let myself down, I’ve let people the most important to me down. Pandora’s been with me for as long as I can remember and I’ve come to recognize that she rears her ugly, self-sabotaging head when I’m feeling unbalanced.
I’ve been in Pandora mode for the past 6 months. It sucks and I can’t take it anymore. It’s time to kick this bitch to the curb!
Usually at the beginning of each year, I will set myself up with a list of goals both professional and personal. This year I’m going to try something different. This year I’m only giving myself one goal, one focus – BALANCE! I owe it to myself and to the people around me.
Here are a few things that I’ve started to implement into my daily routine to help me work toward this goal.
1. I started keeping a journal
Did you know that keeping a journal can benefit your general wellbeing? It’s helped me clarify my thoughts and I’ve gotten to know myself a little bit better. It’s the safest place you can be. It’s 100% just for you so you can be as brutally honest with yourself as you need to be. PLUS, I got to buy a new notebook and that makes me giddy.
2. I got back to working out everyday
I’ve been an athlete all my life and I’m at my best when I get a good workout in. It’s seriously better than any medicine a doctor could give me. My drug of choice is running, it’s my yoga. It clears my head and leaves me feeling calm and refreshed.
3. I started meditating
I love a good challenge so I’m going to tackle this one. I have the hardest time quieting my brain. I can’t sit in complete silence so I had to find something that was going to help guide me through my sessions. There’s an app called Simply Being and I’ve worked up to 15 minutes sessions. I’ve been doing this at the end of my workday. It helps me clear my head from everything I did at work that day so I can put my Mom+Wife hats on and be fully present for my family. (By the way, Meredith talked about another app she’s using for meditation here.)
4. I started eating clean
I’ve been a healthy eater all my life but never at the level I’m eating now. One of my besties (Head Penelope, Meredith) turned me on to this eating plan and I’ve never felt better. The fog has lifted from my brain and I have so much more energy.
5. I started using the Happify App.
I did some research on ways to banish negativity and I came across this app. It’s got science-based happiness games and activities that help you lead a more fulfilling life. It’s helped me see how my brain can latch onto negative thoughts and how easy it can be to switch from that mode of thinking to one that focuses on the positive.
6. I started scheduling more time with my girlfriends
Did you know that women who maintain meaningful connections with their BFFs on a regular basis have an overall sense of happiness? Yeah, it’s totally true! I’m a social butterfly on a seriously crazy level and taking some time to connect with my friends always leaves me feeling refreshed.
7. I’ve implemented the “log off” rule
My name is Denise and I’m a workaholic. I will log on after hours and on weekends because I never feel like I’ve gotten enough done. The truth is, I will never be able to get enough done, there will always be work to do. After 5:30pm I’m going to turn my email off on my phone and put my laptop away. I need to spend quality time with my boys and I need to give my brain a rest. I’m also going to take this one step further and implement “off the grid” Sundays. I’m going to give myself one whole day a week where I don’t log on to anything – that means work and social media.
8. I started seeing a therapist
It took me a long time to get to this point. I’m a perfectionist, how can you be perfect if you’re in therapy? BUT I decided that if I’m going to lead the life I want and not hold myself back from anything, I need to tackle some issues. I know it’s going to be a journey but it will be worth it. Sometimes you just need an outside perspective to get out of your own way and grow.
2015 is going to be a good year. It’s going to be a year of a lot of hard, personal work but I’m up for the challenge. I’m a Penelope after all. 🙂
So, ‘fess up: what do you do to take care of yourself?
Or, do you find it as challenging as I do? Please share your thoughts in the comments. It makes us all feel so much better to know we’re not alone in this.