Life condenses at this time of year as we try to fit all things holiday into our already chaotic lives. We cook and clean ahead of family gatherings or parties. We shuttle kids to performance rehearsals and then attend recitals. Business owners are creating that end of year magic, working overtime through big sales while getting every Loonie accounted for, and hoping that we can take a few days off to be with our loved ones.
And because the extra busy is overwhelming, we see self care as an expendable luxury that can be sacrificed when the going gets tough. The healthy routines we’ve spent all year teaching ourselves slide to the bottom of our priorities. Healthy diets go to hell, we don’t sleep enough, drink enough water or get enough exercise. We think we’re trying to do it all and we get frustrated with the circumstances and people around us because we feel like we just can’t. But, maybe no one ever taught us how to prioritize our lives.
Have you heard of the priority jar?
I recently heard a speaker recount a story Dr. Stephen Covey once told about a professor who illustrated priorities and time using a jar, a bunch of rocks, pebbles, some sand, and water. Perhaps you’re familiar? I’ll summarize:
Fill a mason jar with big rocks – you’ve fit all the rocks you can in the jar, and you consider it filled. But when you try to add pebbles, you find there’s room between the rocks. There is also room for sand, and still more for water. Now, imagine that the rocks, pebbles, sand and water are your to do list. Get the picture?
Do you have a to do list? If not, write one. Figure out your rocks – your non-negotiables. Your business, your family? Next, your pebbles – stuff that’s still important but not life or death. Grocery shopping? Keeping your business Facebook page updated? What are your sand and water? Even if exercise and eating right are sand and water, they still fit in, and you really need them to keep up with the rocks and pebbles – right?
Is it possible you’re filling your jar with water first and drowning instead of taking care of your rocks? It is amazing what is achievable when you change your mindset.
Figure out your REAL priorities and get creative about the negotiables. If you’re a wayward shopper, write a list and STICK TO IT! Get the family involved in cleaning and cooking. Do you really have to bake all the cookies for your friends’ party? They won’t judge you for showing up with store-bought cookies (and if they do, maybe you need to rethink that friendship)!
And for goodness sake, if you’re in a relationship, date nights and sex are ROCKS!! I promise letting couple time drop off your list when life gets busy will detrimentally affect your relationship.
Most importantly, stop shaming yourself for not doing it all. Wonder Woman is a fictional character and even she doesn’t do it all. Put a little thought behind your to do lists, prioritize, get creative about how to achieve them and stop beating yourself up if you fall short of the unrealistic expectations that no one but you has of you. Everyone around you will thank you for it. Just ask yourself at the end of the day, do you want to be known for the relationships you have with people or that you baked the perfect shortbread?