What happens when you are determined to juggle it all? When you overlook the overwhelm, keep your nose to the grindstone, and just keep swimming?
One time, I had so many, many things on my plate that I closed down my scheduler, and set aside a week to Get Stuff Done. That Sunday, I made my list and got to work on it.
I was exhausted, I had this weird pain below my rib-cage, and I was distracted by some annoying mosquito bites. I knew that this was just a result of not-enough-sleep and some heavy duty resistance to doing All The Things, so I kept going and kept going, right up until Thursday, when I went to my GP who said “Those aren’t mosquito bites, you’ve got shingles. Have you been under a lot of stress recently?” and I laughed and laughed.
Soooo, the answer to “What happens when you are determined to juggle it all?” is: something.
Eventually, something’s gonna happen.
It might be that you’ll need more sleep than ever or become unable to sleep, you might gain weight or lose weight, become more strident or more easily intimidated. You may develop physical or mental illness, perhaps a dot of anxiety or chronic back-ache or shingles. And you don’t get to decide what or when.
It’s not about the word “juggle,” you know that, right? It’s about the word “determined,” the urgent and pressing need to Keep Going, No Matter What.
I’m not here to tell you to get your act together. I don't juggle what you juggle. I have no idea about the very real and serious things you lie awake at night worrying about.
But I can say this with confidence: good health and wellbeing do not emerge from stress and overwhelm.
Here are 2 tips for taking a tiny breath away from the word “determined”:
1. Meditation helps on a day to day basis, and is free. It helps you get in the habit of breathing deeply and of letting go of your thoughts, both of which protect your mind AND your body from wear and tear.
2. Sit up and pay attention to your body, and nudge it up the priority list to where it belongs. You’ve only got the one, and you can’t move out when it breaks. It is precious, so pay attention.
I wish us all luck with the juggle of living; seeking balance, remembering to oxygenate ourselves, paying attention, learning the art of the pause.