No One Is Going To Sort It For You
I was lucky enough to catch up with a group of girlfriends this weekend, share some cheese and wine, and of course lots and lots of conversation.
One of the topics among many that comes up whenever I’m with other friends who are also working mums is – the stress of the juggle to do it all! I know this is a common topic of conversation, not only in social circles, but with my clients trying to balance their fitness with other life commitments and expectations.
I don’t want this to come across as a condescending working “mummas” type post, but our discussion reminded me of where I was at personally not so long ago, just at the start of this year in fact, when I once again fell in to the trap of trying to get as much done as possible in very little time. That’s despite being totally self aware on these issues, AND actually advising my friends and clients to look after themselves – every. day.
I begrudgingly booked my first visit to a GP in in, well, years – because if you’ve worked in fitness before and are familiar with the shift patterns required to accommodate when clients can most frequently train, you’ll know it’s pretty pointless trying to book a medical appointment where you may potentially need to plant your butt for unknown hours until you’re seen. It’s just not happening, I can’t afford that gamble with my time!
Thankfully, I haven’t needed to present at the Drs *touch wood* for any health matters prior to this – but the fact that this health matter was so embarrassingly visible meant I really couldn’t ignore it.
I think it was February when I had to cancel some classes because of it that I realised it was serious and it wasn’t going away.
The irony of it is that every summer I get at least one well-meaning half joking comment about how as a PT I must love summer time when everyone wants to get fit, but the truth of the matter is, I don’t! I had once again fallen into the trap of trying to accommodate everyone, and given over my own family and rest time in the process.
So my eye started to itch. And once it itched it wouldn’t stop.
I tried to ignore it for a week or 2 but it got worse. It started to swell a little. All good, I’m sure it will go away soon, I’m just tired, I’ll be able to rest soon, I just need to sort out XYZ…..
Then I woke up one Saturday morning, and I couldn’t go to work. My eyelid had almost completely closed, and I worried that it was infected. I certainly couldn’t train clients like this – I looked contagious and it was so embarrassing.
I finally get in to the Dr and he sits me down. I explain the situation and how it has happened in the past and seems to be associated with when I’m a little “run down”, but I really couldn’t explain how that would make my eye itch?? He listened and said “I’m going to get back to this – but how is work going?” He questioned me on my schedule, what it’s like to run a business and juggle family responsibilities – he agreed with most of it too.
Then he said: “I don’t want to scare you, but the next time this happens, you may end up in hospital”. I nearly laughed at him. I NEVER go to the Drs and I’m going to present at hospital with an itchy eye??
He went on to explain that an anaphylactic reaction to stress is a very real risk, and I would need to get my situation under control to avoid it.
I felt my throat start to close up a little as he explained this.
Of course I went home and got a second opinion from Dr Google straight away. Well, right after I grabbed my antihistamines.
He was right. I felt like an idiot. I’ve done it again, I’ve overworked myself and could face serious consequences if I didn’t get it under control.
And the worst part about suffering with “stress”? It’s very hard to manage. Everyone around you agrees you need to relax but absolutely no one is going to make the tough decisions or do the things that need to be done to make it happen.
That is 100% up to me.
I’m happy to say that I can look back proudly on what I’ve achieved this year, and getting my stress management and boundaries under control is one of them. I’ve said no more than ever before this year, and business and family life is actually better than when I tried to please everyone.
I guess the lesson in this to my fellow working mums is – change is in your hands, even if it seems impossible. You’re in charge of how things get done, you’re valuable and you’re important. Don’t try to do it all and get a wok eye or worse, like me. You overall health is multifaceted, it includes mental, physical, social and emotional health. Not just the absence of disease or a goal weight. Saying no does not make you selfish or mean. It actually makes those around you a bit more capable.
If you’re trying to do it all and putting your own needs on the back burner, reassess, where can you delegate or cut back? And I promise you, the world won’t end, and you’ll finally achieve great things.