When you’re angry, tired, and stressed out something needs to change. Immediately.
That was me just about every day. I woke up feeling like I didn’t get enough sleep and there were too few hours in the day to get what I needed done. At work it felt like everybody needed something from me. Emails, phone calls, IMs, meetings, problems, requests, assignments…I barely even took a lunch break or went to the bathroom. Then the after hours work kicks in with more emails, trying to maintain a business, personal relationships, church activities and events, requests for services, problem solving for people.
By nightfall I only had about two hours to get my stuff done- shower, cook, eat, manage finances, sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy helping people but all of this fell within the same 24hr period, it was just Monday. Lather, rinse, and repeat the rest of the week and I was spent. I had to do it all; I had no other choice but to succumb to a crazy schedule. I felt like I couldn’t stop, I didn’t stop.
If I keep it 100, I felt like I was being used up until there was nothing left to give creatively, physically, or emotionally. I noticed I was annoyed at people I loved, annoyed at their requests for even the simplest of things that otherwise wouldn’t have been a problem. When my phone rang I would yell, “just leave me alone!” as if it would answer back. After a few rings I reluctantly picked it up and resigned myself to whatever was going to be asked of me on the other end. I put my mental health last on a never-ending to-do list.
I needed a day.
Scratch that, I needed a month but going to my fake private island was not a real option. So at the advice of wise counsel I shut everything off. I chose Mondays as the perfect day because they were, and still are, high-stress days where the chores of the weekend crash with the responsibility of the weekday to produce a chaotic transition.
How did I do it? After 4:30pm I told my brain to stop thinking a million miles a minute. I said “no” to the racing thoughts (yes! you can say no to your brain!) Whatever happened during the day no longer mattered at 4:30 p.m. It was in the past; it was irrelevant to this moment. I put my cell phone on silent and left it in another room for the night. I made myself a nice dinner or I ate out- whatever caused the least amount of stress and the most joy. I sat on my wonderfully soft couch and laid my head on the oversized green pillow back. I turned off the lights, clicked on my favorite show, and decompressed. I went to bed at a decent hour and got a good night’s rest. I didn’t engage with anything or anybody until Tuesday. It was my time.
The result? It changed my attitude for the rest of the week. Shauna Niequest put it best:
“When you decide, finally, to stop running on the fuel of anxiety, desire to prove, fear, shame, deep inadequacy—when you decide to walk away from that fuel for a while, there’s nothing but confusion and silence. You’re on the side of the road, empty tank, no idea what will propel you forward. It’s disorienting, freeing, terrifying. For a while, you just sit, contentedly, and contentment is the most foreign concept you know. But you learn it, shocking as it is, day by day, hour by hour. You sit in your own skin, being just your own plain self. And it’s okay. And it’s changing everything.” – Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect, p. 63
This is what Me Mondays is all about- turning off the stress and anxieties of life in exchange for peace. It’s a fine time to exercise my strong preference towards introversion, which allows me to internally reflect on the happenings of the day or week in a quiet environment. I have time to get myself together, y’all! Honestly, I need this time to maintain the healthiest version of me possible. Translation = making time for Me Mondays is both a necessity and a priority.
What about you? what activity helps you to be the best version of you? Is it a bath? A good meal? Time with friends? On what day do you practice your “me time”? Leave your comments below.