After a workshop a few weeks back, I had the chance to talk one-on-one with a woman who was struggling to prioritize herself. She was a busy grad student, mom of two and a full-time employee at a big nonprofit.
“Sis, I’m tired,” she said, plopping down into her seat and leaning her head back toward the ceiling. I could, in fact, see the exhaustion radiating off her skin.
“When’s the last time you had a break?” I asked, sitting down across from her, signaling that I actually wanted to talk this through.
“Um, I can’t remember.” She scrunched up her face.
“Okay, well, let’s change that,” I suggested. “Let’s think about the next possible break you get. What would you like to do?”
“I don’t know!” She threw up her hands. “I’m always so busy that even when I do get a little bit of free time I’m usually just watching TV or doing laundry or something. I’m boring as hell.”
SuiteHearts, let me tell you. The last thing you want to do is find yourself with some free time and no idea how to enjoy it.
The key is to know yourself. To understand fully just want makes you light up. Let’s leave “meh” weeks and months behind us.
To know yourself is to study yourself. A few starting points:
- Pay attention to how you feel around certain people. Are you stumbling over your words? Are you laughing more than you have in a while? Do you bite your tongue? Do you feel comfortable enough to share intimate details of your life? Pinpoint what sharing space with them does to your mental space.
- Look for patterns. Do you find yourself drawn to the same types of things — movies, music, TV shows, hobbies? Conversely, do certain elements (loud environments, strong smells, busy places) make you uneasy?
- Dig around in your closet. What does your wardrobe tell you? Do you lean toward comfort? Is your closet full of bright colors and patterns, or pastel hues and classic pieces?
- Listen to those who know you best. When you’re on the phone with your sister, is she always laughing at your jokes or telling you how funny you are? When your BFF is going through it, does she tell you that you always know how to make her feel better? Listen to the compliments you receive.