2.20.2013

When Jesus Takes the Wheel...Literally

The two weeks preceding this one were not the best.

In fact, the first week of February I have affectionately dubbed 'The Worst Week Ever.'

The last week of January was a whirlwind.

I worked at my regular job but also Tuesday night, Friday night, Saturday 9 to 9 and Sunday 12:30 to 5 at my part-time job. In between all that, I tried to get in time with T, friend time, runs and workouts, groceries, laundry, etc. By Sunday night I was exhausted and didn't feel at all rested up for the busy week to come.
It was also month end at my day-time job. In the finance world, that means BUSY. Days of full-on thinking- deadlines looming, people waiting, phones ringing. There are a couple of days of just waiting to see what's going to happen and praying nothing breaks. It's just go, go, go.

The first full week of February I was somehow late to work (day job) every day. I worked (night job) Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday again. I was trying to squeeze in blog posts, errands, workouts, emails, couple time, etc.

By the time Sunday rolled around, I was beyond spent.

I had a complete melt-down on Wednesday morning while trying to rush around for work. One in which I called T from the car on the way to work and just bitched for 15 solid minutes. Near tears and cursing because the dog took too long to go potty and didn't she know I was late??
Wednesday night my fiance got sick and I got to clean up vomit for an hour while I was half asleep. That was fun.
Thursday I was late to work (again) mostly because of the late night vomit clean up and spent all day in meetings and running around.
Friday I get through the day only to get home and have a letter waiting telling me I'm losing my drivers license in March.


Yeah, that happened.



You know why I'm losing my license?
Too many speeding tickets in a rolling 12 months.


I went to driving school once already. I had 3 (this originally said 12- MAJOR typo) tickets in a year so I spent a couple of summer evenings in a special class with a bunch of 16 year-olds to talk about why I speed and how it makes me feel. I got a certificate of completion and the go ahead to drive- but no speeding tickets in the next year or I lose your license.
Flash forward to November.
I"m on my way to a training class (running late of course), and trying to avoid freeway traffic I go through town and get a speeding ticket in a residential area.

I tried to fight that ticket. (side note- that court date was during this past 2 weeks too)
I went and sat in the courthouse awaiting my transportation fate. Turns out, the city prosecutor doesn't reduce tickets to warnings and once you get one you pretty much can't do anything about it.

See the pattern here?
I'm late a lot.
Why am I always late?
Because I plan too many things.

Hi.
My name is Nicole.

I'm a chronic overscheduler. 


I have a tendency to say 'yes' to everything.
I get excited about social events with my friends  I love volunteering and want to help out where I can. I like having goals and projects to keep me busy.
The problem is I say 'yes' to ALL of it without considering regular stuff like grocery shopping, laundry and sleep.

Saying 'yes' to 100% of all the things means I can't be 100% in any area of my life. 

My relationships suffer.
I make plans to be places and do things and either end up being late to meet people, having to reschedule once I realized I took on too much, or plain forgetting and not showing up at all. Then I feel super bad about one or all of those things. I not only let myself down, I damage my relationships by looking unreliable and inconsiderate.

My health suffers.
One day in the past two weeks, I had to take an afternoon off and just sleep because I had a headache so bad from lack of sleep. Even when I was sleeping at night, it was uneasy. My mind racing all night long and waking up dreading the mile-high to-do list I had created. I'd end up curling back up under the covers wishing for sleep and it all to go away.
I still worked out where I could and tried to eat healthy, but at night, when I was alone and feeling like  I had failed at my day- I'd eat. And eat. And eat.
I found myself reverting to old binge-eating type habits to try and make myself feel better.  That's not something I'm proud of or even that comfortable admitting, but it's the truth. It reminded me of when I used to smoke and if I got stressed I'd smoke and smoke until I was ill.
And each time I did it, I'd just feel worse about me and disappointed in what I did to my body.
That kind of behavior is not okay.

My work suffers.
When I plan too much, I can't focus. My mind is constantly spinning in what I'm going to do next and how am I going to fit it all in and I end up only giving 75%, maybe. The other 25% or so just lost in a haze of fretting.

My moods suffer
I was a hot mess. Irritable one minute, fine the next. Tired, cranky, overstressed. I snapped at people. I cursed a lot. There was one day where I didn't speak to anyone at work because I was wound so tight I was afraid I'd explode on anyone who even dropped by for a casual chat. I felt out of control, anxious and on the verge of a complete breakdown.


I ended up taking a couple days off from both jobs last week.
I spent hours cooking a delicious meal to celebrate Valentine's Day with T.
It was relaxing to just work on one thing and not worry about having to be 10 other places.
I cleaned my condo.
I did my laundry.
I visited my newborn niece.
I napped.
I ran.
I just took some time to do whatever it was I needed to do and not get caught up in all the other stuff. 

I think, as women, and especially women of my generation, we have a tendency to want to do it all.
To be the best wife, friend, employee, co-worker, volunteer all the while looking cute and fit doing it. And you know what?

That is a freaking illusion.
No one can be 'on' all the time.

You can for a period of time and that gives you confidence, so you gain momentum thinking 'I CAN do this!' and then all of a sudden, something turns.
If one of those spinning plates in the air starts to wiggle, it all comes crashing down.

I've said more than once here on EvenMe how I need to find balance and how #restisbest. I mean, my whole intention starting this blog was to write about my journey to balance in all areas of life. Obviously, I haven't been heeding my own advice.

If I've learned anything in these past two weeks, it's this:

To be the best at anything, I MUST make time for rest. 


Have to.
That means saying 'no' to some stuff and not feeling bad about it or like I have to make some excuse for it.
That means scheduling 'me' time that involves no media, no tasks, no nothing- maybe just some hot tea and a book or a nice afternoon nap.
That means taking a hard look at all my varied interests and choosing a few to focus on when my schedule allows.
That means putting people first and letting all the other stuff go.
That means maybe not putting so much pressure on myself to do all and be all.


This post was going to be named 'What Happens When You Can't Say No' or 'Tales of a Reformed Over-Scheduler' or something, but the Keri Underwood reference was just too funny. 

And if losing my license after a series of months of feeling overwhelmed, over extended and late isn't a sign from Jesus telling me to take a break and slow down...then I don't know what is.
One of the good things that came out of this mess was a renewed prayer life. The Lord and I had a LOT of talks over the past few weeks and we are keeping it up. My hope and comfort rests in Him. 
When I'm stretching myself too thin, I become toxic to myself. It's funny how the bit of scripture you can be reading through a daily devotion can be so timely! You #shereadstruth ladies know what I'm talking about! 


The moral of the story is this: It's not possible to do it all. 


And you shouldn't try.


Or you may end up hiring a teenager to drive you around for 3 months.
Just kidding, I'm getting a work permit. :)


Are you a chronic overscheduler?
How do you cope with stress when you realize you've taken on too much?
Do you revert to old habits?

This post is dedicated to my ever-loving fiance- T. Thanks honey for keeping calm and grounded when I was all over the place. I love living life with you. XO