As a recovering workaholic/perfectionist, not to mention having delusions-of-superhero syndrome, I’m first to tell you the road to recovery isn’t easy. It’s fraught with obstacles and U-turns just waiting to send you right back to where you started.
But I’m also here to tell you that it DOES get easier. And the rewards of staying on the path are well worth it.
So, what are some steps you can take to get yourself on the road to recovery? Here are 3 to get you started.
1. Value your time off. Because if you don’t value it, it won’t happen.
It’s kind of like exercise. We all know we should exercise regularly, but what sets apart the people who actually DO it versus talk about it? It’s their mindset.
People who don’t exercise regularly say things like “I really should start” or “Tomorrow I’ll start my exercise program.” People who do exercise regularly don’t talk about it, they’re out there doing it.
I used to not exercise regularly. I used to spend my time talking about how I should start exercising rather then actually getting off the couch and working up a sweat. But for the last 18 months or so, I’ve been exercising between 5 and 7 days a week, every week (except when I’m traveling, but I get myself back into my routine as quickly as possible).
What changed? My attitude.
I decided this was something I needed to do for myself. Once I started valuing it, then I started doing it.
So if you find yourself saying “Yeah, I really should take a weekend off” or “One of these days I need to take a vacation” then I can tell you right now it’s not going to happen. Because it’s not something you value.
2. Treat yourself well — You deserve it. Ladies, you’re going to know what I’m talking about, I’m not sure about my gentleman readers. For years, I used to buy the cheapest disposable razors to shave my legs. And for years I used to constantly nick my legs with those razors. My legs would start stinging in the shower, and then I would have to dredge up a Kleenex to sop up the blood before I got it all over the floor or on my towel.
Needless to say, shaving was one of my least favorite activities.
Then, about a year and a half ago, I got a razor in the mail. One of those name brand ones. The company sent it to me as promotional stunt.
So I decided to try it. And what a difference. No cuts, no nicks, no stinging and (best yet) no blood.
Now you’re probably wondering where on earth I’m going with this. I’ll tell you.
The reason why I bought those cheap razors was because I didn’t think it mattered. Even though I hated them, hated shaving, hurt myself constantly, I told myself the cheap cost of the razors was worth it. Why pay that extra few bucks for a name brand razor? I could suffer through a few cuts and burns. It wasn’t a big deal.
But really what I was telling myself (and the universe) was that I wasn’t worth an extra couple bucks for a name brand razor. I wasn’t worth an extra couple of bucks to not hurt myself.
So how do you think the universe responded? Simple — I wasn’t attracting the kind of money I wanted because I wasn’t worth it. And what I WAS attracting was more sickness, exhaustion, burnout, stress, etc. Because it was “okay” for me to suffer.
In the last couple of years, I have completely changed my attitude about how I treat myself. But (and this is an important but) it’s not just about spending money on myself — it’s also about taking time for myself. The razors are just one part of it. I also get regular massages each month. Why? Because when I didn’t, I was in pain a lot. Spending hours hunched over my computer writing is murder on my back and chest.
But I also take time each day to exercise and stretch. Those don’t cost me anything except time. And again, by doing this, I feel better and look better.
So what are YOU denying yourself? I’m not talking about spending money you don’t have or putting yourself in debt or avoiding the tasks you really need to do. I’m talking about the little indulgences we tell ourselves we don’t need when, in truth, they’re exactly what we need.
Maybe you love real cream in your coffee, but you constantly buy that white powder junk because it’s cheaper. And you tell yourself it doesn’t matter.
But it does matter.
How much money are you REALLY saving by not buying real cream for your coffee? Is it enough to suffer the consequences of telling yourself and the universe you aren’t worth the real stuff?
Or maybe your indulgence is putting that coffee into a pretty cup, not a chipped mug with that ugly corporate logo on it. Or maybe it’s allowing yourself 10 minutes to sit outside and enjoy that coffee, rather then gulping it down while you get ready for work.
(And I have a secret to share. When I started treating myself better directly coincides with my income going up.)
3. Hire a coach. If, as you’re reading this, you’re seeing a little too much of yourself, and worse yet, you don’t know how to fix it, then it might be time to hire a coach.
A coach can help you shift your mindset so you DO start to value yourself and your time off. The right coach can also help you when your business starts taking off.
But above all, remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you’re used to always putting yourself second, changing your perspective isn’t going to be easy. So be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to take baby steps. A few indulgences here and there. Eventually it will get easier.