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It’s OK To Not Be OK

it's ok

Goodness me, life is full on sometimes.

Right now, I have so many balls in the air you would think my office is in the red light district and not in the CBD.

Let me paint you a picture.

Currently, my wonderful husband is on training, 8-6 daily, he’s incommunicado, 7 days a week, for 3 weeks. Normally this would be ok (anyone say me time?), but instead of mani/pedis and long lunches I am finding myself under a pile of everything.

Here is my list.

At this very moment I am:

  • running 2 businesses, one being a Chiropractic clinic that I am now working in, hands on clients, full time, while my receptionist is away (sure thing, I can answer the phone too!),
  • running a household
  • selling one business
  • buying a house
  • planning a gigantic move interstate
  • selling half my possessions, culling the other half
  • holding the treasurer position on a women’s advocacy group and for some reason single handedly organising and promoting 2 charity events to be held within the next week
  • keeping up with my 4 separate external writing commitments
  • writing my 3rd book
  • raising my toddler
  • trying to increase my instagram followers to 10,000 (currently sitting at 1837, follow me at @cosmohippy!)
  • planning my mother’s birthday, my 7th wedding anniversary, a good friend’s 40th and a holiday (god do I need that)

Did I mention I’m 5 months pregnant too?

Yes, you would be forgiven for thinking I’m wearing red Lycra emblazoned with a ‘S’ under my Gorman dress as I whizz around preparing home made ghee, fermenting sauerkraut and kombuccha while making curry paste and pastry from scratch with a pot of bone broth bubbling away.

Now I HATE it when anyone says “I’m so busy” because I think it means that they are just unorganised, and I must say, I still don’t feel “busy” because I chose all of this. And I’m ok with it.

But…it’s time to admit that I’m not coping.

And you know what, that’s OK.

I’m no time management expert, nor am I a psychologist, but I am a type A high achieving woman who has burnt out far too many times to count in my very short lifetime and career. I know the signs, forgetfulness (I have lost my sunglasses, bankcard and 3 lip balms in the last week alone), snapping at my daughter and husband for no reason, grinding my teeth, waking 4 times a night, finding it hard to sleep or rest…the list goes on.

I know I am heading for a small breakdown if I don’t cool my heels a bit.

So here’s what I plan to do, and, if you can resonate with any of this, some suggestions for you to take too:

1. Admit That It’s OK To Not Be OK 

This isn’t failure or weakness. Admitting that maybe you cannot do it all is a sign of strength and immense self-awareness.

2. Ask For Help.

It could be as simple as asking a friend to pick up your child for an hour so you can do the shopping. For me, it’s asking my husband to please take an afternoon off his course so he can see my humongous patient list while I take a nap. When you ask for help, you will be so surprised at what people are willing to do for you. People are actually good at heart and want to help. Let them. Think of it as community service and tick charity work off your list as you soak your feet with a cuppa.

3. Prioritise.

Not everything is do or die. I know it FEELS like everything is, but that’s just your inner perfectionist talking. If I buy a jar of sauerkraut instead of making it, if I forget to pick up the tea set and dolls house after our “picnic”, the world will not end.

4. Plan. 

Lists sooth me. When life rushes at me, I like to print out a calendar and fill it with everything that will be happening on a given date. Next I work out, what can I do in preparation for these things? Will I be super busy Wednesday? Does that mean we get takeout Wednesday night or will I prepare a meal in advance? Do I have an article due on the 5th? So how long will it take me to write that? And what time shall I set aside to write that? Can I pair that writing with a coffee or lunch in a café so I can have a bit of down time too? I have a mountain of washing on the spare bed, how much would it cost for my cleaning lady to fold that for me?

Put it all in the calendar. Make sure you find time for exercise and rest too. Schedule it in or it will never happen.

5. Let It Go.

I can thank my 3 year old and her love of Frozen for this one. I will let go of the ideal I held for myself. As I reflect on who I am trying to be, I wonder how I constructed the picture of a perfect me. She doesn’t exist anywhere. I have made her up. Pasting together bits and pieces of women I admire.

A Nigella Lawson cook – whipping up healthy delicious meals in heels, an Emma Watson advocate – changing the role of women, paving the way for my daughter, a Mrs. Brady mum, patient and kind, a Sophia Amoruso business woman – kicking ass, bringing in the $$$, a Lisa Messenger author – creating and inspiring women with my words, all with the body, confidence and moves of Beyonce.

Sometimes I think we women hold on so tightly to who we want to be, that we forget to celebrate who we actually are.

6. Be Kind to Myself.

And that brings me to my last point. I am my greatest advocate, friend and career. And although my “To Do” list rivals that of the Obamas, what is more important is how I survive it all.

Time to admit that no one will be waiting with a trophy once the list in complete and I am a shaking mess on the floor.

Time to admit that there is no way to “win” the game of life.

Time to admit that it’s more about how you play than winning, because you are only competing with yourself.

Time to have a long soak in the tub and allow yourself to rest so you can be a better you for everyone around you.

And with that, I’m off to take myself to lunch. Because a girl’s gotta eat.