I want to talk about expectations for a minute.
Expectations that are unspoken, or maybe sometimes spoken, that all humans must prove that they are struggling more than others. In addition to your expectation of suffering, you’re also expected to pretend that you LOVE it. That you live for the hustle. You thrive on little sleep and by going nonstop. Taking your mind, body, and soul to the absolute edge and then jumping off the cliff. That’s how you prove that you’re an exemplary human, my friend.
That’s also complete bullshit.
My journey to prioritizing…well…myself has been eye opening to just how deep these “unspoken” expectations run. I am lucky enough to have a job where it is an option for me to work from home on a regular basis. When Justin started transitioning back to working during the day, I opted to pick one day each week where I would work from my office at home, both for my personal sanity, as well as for the mental health of our dogs who aren’t used to being left alone for long periods of time. For me, this was an amazing way to break up the week, get some alone time, and to increase my productivity. But, over time, I noticed more and more people asking where I had been lately.
“Where have you been?!”
“I never see you anymore!”
“Long time, no see”
“It’s not like you’re ever in the office anyway…”
At first I laughed it off, yeah, yeah, I’m always either in my office or home – I’m such a slacker.
But then, the comments got…less funny.
All of the comments weren’t meant to address the fact that people missed me or had tried to get ahold of me while I was out of the office. It was more judgmental and sarcastic. Which, let’s be honest, I love a good sarcastic banter session. This choice I had made all of a sudden changed people’s opinion of me – the caliber of my work wasn’t suffering, but because I was prioritizing my mental health, it was like all of a sudden I wasn’t the same professional I had been when I was chasing busy.
Guess what? I feel A LOT better on a daily basis when I prioritize myself. I work smarter when I am taken care of. I like working in yoga pants and sitting outside in my backyard under my red umbrella. To me, the hustle isn’t worth the sacrifice. My life isn’t about the work that I do. Even if I love it, it means nothing if I can’t enjoy the other 128 hours in the week.
In true Emily fashion, I’m going to challenge you to do something. Whether you’re working a traditional 9-5, rocking a small business, thriving (or not thriving) in the mom life, or if you’re BREATHING – I want you to schedule some time off for yourself. Do whatever you have to do to take a break and center yourself. Leave the hustle behind, even if it’s just for a day. I promise, everything will be there when you go back, and you’ll be way more ready to climb mountains after a day for YOU.
For the first time in what feels like ages, I scheduled a vacation for myself without any specific reason. Two months ago, I was starting to feel the effects of the hustle, I was tired, grumpy, burnt out, and just over it. Justin and I had talked about taking a weekend off to take the dogs up north for Memorial Day. I tentatively schedule my time off with work, including the week after the weekend, just because. Our travel plans fell through as Justin was given the opportunity to visit friends in Nashville, and instead of cancelling my week off, I kept it on the calendar. I contemplated canceling my vacation and just working – what was the point?
I was the point. I am the point.
So here I sit, in my backyard at 8:00 in the morning on a Thursday, sipping on my coffee, watching my dogs run around like circus animals, and basking in the glory of having the next twelve days to do whatever the hell I want. And I’ll tell you what, in between the shock and sarcasm, I noticed something new in the comments this week. Jealousy. Guess what, we all have the choice to prioritize ourselves – what’s stopping you from making the choice?
Trust me, it’s worth it.