While I'm working, I often pour myself a nice mug of tea—especially in the Fall, when I can indulge in delicious, warm flavors like cinnamon and licorice. (This one in particular is the best.)
Yesterday's editing involved a challenging client project that tested me both mentally and emotionally—and when I reached for my steaming hot tea specifically poured to calm me down, I noticed some writing on the tag, which said:
"You are unlimited."
Normally I agree with the little inspirational quips on the tea tags, but man, do I disagree with this.
Yes, you should believe in your potential. Yes, you should push yourself professionally, personally, and emotionally. But everything has its limits. Especially you.
I've written before about the importance of self-care; how can you take care of others when you aren't taking care of yourself?
Speaking from my experience, we try so hard to do everything: to have amazing careers, a flourishing side gig, beautiful homes, take care of picture-perfect families, and build watertight relationships with loved ones.
I'm going to say it: it's just too much.
On a weekly basis, I reach a breaking point and something has to give. Maybe the blog only gets one post that week instead of three. Maybe I let our house fall into a state of constant clutter for a while. Maybe Cosmo doesn't get an hour-long walk every day (sorry, buddy). And it's totally okay.
We can't think of ourselves as a constantly regenerating machine, ready to give to others endlessly. Your daily ability to keep going is finite—a tank that slowly loses its contents.
You can refill your tank by taking care of yourself; it's a simple concept, I know, but so many of us neglect it. Relax, read a book, eat some real food, exercise, or get some sleep. It's that easy.
Just for a moment, take a breath and remember that you need to take care of yourself and respect your limits. As productivity expert David Allen once said, "You can do anything, but not everything."
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend an entire weekend on the couch reading—not cleaning my messy house, not working on articles or editing, not feeling like I should do anything. And it's going to be beautiful.
Writer, editor, and storyteller living in the Twin Cities.