Tamara was sweating as she rushed into my office, five minutes late, as usual. “Sorry I’m late again,” she sighed. “Just another typical day– I rushed out of work because my boss cornered me with a new assignment right at the end of the day. I barely made it home in time to get the kids off the bus, and we drove right from the bus stop to tae kwon do lessons. During the lesson, I was texting the whole time with the pastor’s wife about the Bible study I just agreed to lead. Then we raced home, grabbing fast food on the way, so I could drop the kids off with my husband and run over here. I’m not sure how much more I can take all of this.”
Let’s face it: in our culture today, life is often just BUSY. Communication is fast-paced, there are so many positive activities and groups to get involved in, and we often find ourselves running from place to place with little rest and margin.
Margin is the idea of having a buffer— a little extra time, a little extra money, a little extra energy— so you’re not so stressed, you can be spontaneous once in awhile, and you can be freed up to focus on relationships. For example, think about rushing your daughter to a 5:00 gymnastics class and you know you have just enough time to get there. During your drive, your heart races as you worry about traffic and constantly watch the clock. What if you’d left 15 minutes earlier? You would feel calm and relaxed, and you might have a great conversation with your daughter about her day.
This is also a great time for us to talk about overcommitting. There are so many wonderful opportunities for our kids and ourselves to get involved in things, but it’s important to find a balance between those opportunities and unstructured, unplanned play time or relaxation. Keep in mind: when you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to something else. (For example, if you say yes to attending a weekly evening Bible study, you may be saying no to an unscheduled night at home where you can take a spontaneous walk to the park as a family or just snuggle on the couch watching a show together.) Give yourself permission to let go of some things.
Are you looking for practical ideas for improving lifestyle self care in your life? I have a whole list of ideas in my ebook. I also provide this ebook as a free resource for new clients.