Ok, recently, I was told I need to SLOW DOWN. Now, this wasn’t just one person. This was literally EVERYONE I’ve encountered in the last few weeks. It always takes me back for a second. I think to myself “what do they mean? Like DON’T do stuff for a while?” I couldn’t even fathom what that means, so I often just brush it off and move forward thinking, “sure…maybe I do need a massage or something?” Bam, I’ve not slowed down at all. I’ve added another to do to my list. I’m starting to see the pattern, ladies and gents.
Then, about 2 weeks ago, I ended up in the ER with a potassium drip. I realized just how much of a control freak I had become. Here I am laying on a gurney, searching for indoor playrooms for my kids/husband on my cell so THEY don’t get bored while I’m sick. I know, I’m annoying. You see, in my mind, I am NOT that important. I’m just not. My kids, my husband, my family, my friends, ANYONE else in my life …THEY matter. If they are happy, I am too. Sounds selfless, huh? But it’s actually insanely unhealthy. Now, I take care of myself to some degree. I exercise, eat raw veggies, no gluten, etc. I also believe the devil’s in the details and I live for working through complex situations. Some have even called me self-absorbed for how disciplined I become with things I love. In my younger years, fine, brand me. But the day I became a mom, everything changed. The ONLY thing that truly matters to me is their positive progression. My professional or personal goals always took a backseat to the ever-growing needs of my family but eventually, life hit me like a train.
You see, I have an autoimmune disease. My body literally attacks organs, muscles, and nervous system when there’s NOTHING wrong with me. Why? Well, stress causes most flare-ups. And, to be honest, I stress about all those things/people that matter to me daily, hourly. Now, I am a far cry from a saint. Nope, I don’t deserve a medal. In fact, it’s a very big problem. I don’t know how to NOT GIVE A SHIT. I also have been in survival mode for so long that I must think if I slow down, I’ll lose my momentum and BAM…I’m toast. Whew, you feel that stress too now, huh? Lol Aww, breathe. It’s self-inflicted BS and my therapist is on it. Awareness to my quirks has really been my biggest sanity builder, so I take no offense to my loved one’s persistence that I find a way to decrease stress.
Stress and anxiety have always been an issue for me. I am productive. I am optimistic. But every now and again, I bite off more than I can chew. I get really sad because I want ALL the goals to work simultaneously and life doesn’t care about my success markers no matter how many five year plans I’ve drafted or what number it is on my check-lists. Then, there I am…sitting in the ER because my body is going haywire from my unbalanced expectations. Can I just confess being self-aware AND an overachiever is truly a mindbender? Seriously!
After that ER visit, I laid in bed for an entire day contemplating the art of simplicity. I wanted to share with you a few of the things I’ve started to implement into my routine to help me de-stress my unnecessarily complex life.
- Work-Life – Now, I can’t change much here. I’m a freelance producer on a digital series. I am hired on contract to come in and solve ALL problems, make a killer show FAST, then wrap it up nicely and table it for next season pick up. My chaotic job is my 2nd deepest love. It’s weird, but I am HAPPY in this chaos. The only thing I am going to try to change is to limit the number of clients/projects in the works to 2 max. My biggest stressor with work is the hours. Production life is 10-12hrs a day which is fine, but if I can keep this to 5 days a week, amazing. Weekends are for family and friends only.
- Mom-Life – Oh, this category is SO much easier now that the kids are back in school. My husband and I have made some adjustments to our workday schedules so that one of us takes them to school and one picks them up. We also hired a part-time nanny to come to the house a few days a week when we both have freelance gigs. She cleans the house and keeps the kids active outdoors. The days of me watching kids all day, then staying up to 4am to work so we save money are done. That was insane, and I didn’t “save” as much money as I thought I would. Lesson learned. I can’t do it all alone and I am not gaining anything more if I do. So, this is me swallowing my pride, adding rockstar players to my team, and giving my team more space to learn/grow at their pace which is much more chill than mine. They’ve reminded me just how important adventure and simple joys are to your emotional stability. Thank you, kiddos.
- Love-Life – This one, well, gets tricky. Our husband/wife dynamic has drastically changed over the last few years as my husband’s business has grown. I used to claim I was working so much because I was the breadwinner. I wasn’t wrong. At that time, that was true. Now, however, my husband makes just as much money, has just as many jobs on the horizon, and is equally a pilar to our home. (EXHALE) It’s a hurdle we have been practicing for a long time and man, he’s clearing that hurdle while drinking a beer now. I thank him for not giving up and building a business he’s proud of. It was stressful to get off the ground, but his growth is super hot.
SO, here’s the kicker…I have to accept these dynamic shifts, right? I have to start being a TEAM player now. I’m not doing it all alone anymore. And that’s a good thing. No one can do it alone. You need friends, peers, family. As much as we hate to admit it, we need others. This trip to the ER opened my eyes. I have carried so much of the weight simply because I don’t trust that anyone will keep their word, do it right, etc.. etc.. To be completely honest, I was a jerk. I wasn’t trying to be. I wanted those I love to be happy. I took on more and more to win for us all, but what I was really doing was distancing myself from my team. I was sacrificing my down-time in the name of efficiency until I crashed and burned. Guess my title “The Phoenix” is more accurate than I realized. As I often do after one of my infamous revelations, I see the benefits of change and have made a commitment to adapting to better my tribe as a whole. It feels good.
Hope you all have a chill week. Take it one day at a time. Remember, everyone deserves a tribe. Reach out to the people that get you. Tell them what stresses you out, what worries you. They may not have all the answers, but they do care. For all you know, they may have similar concerns. Together, maybe you can find ways to help each other. If anything, you can exhale the stress and inhale some positivity. Good luck, Daily Feelers.
JB McCann has worked in “The Biz” for almost a decade, yet she’s somehow managed to keep her feet firmly on the ground. Her altruistic spirit aims to evoke your Inner Phoenix and encourage readers to take the difficult leaps in life, so you can continue to grow.