“I’d really like to (go out for lunch, go for a walk, take a class, get back to my art, etc.) but I just don’t have the time. I’ll do it once (my work isn't as busy, the kids are older, my parents don’t need as much help, etc.).”
“I just need to get through this one week, and then I’ll have time for me." (How many weeks have I been saying this?!)
“It’s just easier for me to do it, one more thing won’t matter.” (Somehow it’s easy to forget the 50 or more times we’ve said this which actually adds up to a lot more things!)
“It’ll just take a little time, I’m sure I can fit it in.” (FYI 20 “little” things that take 20 minutes each adds up to 400 minutes or 6 hours and 40 minutes!)
Do any of those sound familiar? If you’re like me you’ve probably heard yourself say these things, either aloud or to yourself many times. The funny thing is we really believe it when we say it (or maybe we just really want to believe it), even when we’re saying it for the 100th time (well, at least that’s true for me!)
Let’s face it, those thoughts help us believe that if we’re just patient, things will get better. And after everything we’ve all been through to become clinicians, patience is something we definitely have (just think of how many times you delayed doing something that you really enjoyed because you had classes, tests, or assignments).
In her book, Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World, Eve Rodsky highlights that a common struggle for women (that darn gender socialization!) is that we treat our time like sand (infinite and not particularly valuable) instead of diamonds (finite and valuable). As long as we keep this mindset (and treat others’ time as diamonds) we will remain disconnected from who we truly are. And isn’t self-care really about putting more of ourselves into our day?
I recently completed an exercise at an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy workshop that helped me start thinking about my time as “diamonds” and I’m hoping it might do the same for you.
Take out a blank piece of paper and put it in front of you in the landscape orientation.
Draw a horizontal line on it with “ticks” at both ends like this:
Write “birth” at the left tick mark and “death” at the right tick mark.
Now, put an X where you think you currently sit on your “lifeline.” (Know that "Yikes!" is a common reaction at this point!)
Want to make the most of what time is left on your lifeline? Start by connecting with you. A side effect of treating our time as “sand” and others’ time as “diamonds” for so long, is that we actually forget what kinds of activities connect us with who we really are. Check out our next blogpost for a playful exercise aimed at helping you reconnect with parts of yourself that may have been forgotten.