Last week I was told I was “having a stress reaction” and I needed to “lower my standards” by my GP. While this sounds like a negative comment, it was very useful for me and made me think. When I visited last week with an extremely sore throat, after presenting my 3 day transformational event, (which I love doing). He asked me if I was stressed, I said “No, I’m not stressed. A little tired, and I have been very focused with a lot on my plate, but I’m not stressed.” I simply don’t consider myself to be a person that gets stressed and so it wasn’t an option, but the signs were there. My body was telling me to slow down a little.
My GP was lovely and questioned me thoroughly, said he was not going to give me any antibiotics because I didn’t need them, and all I had to do was lower my standards. Ah. Just that.
You see as an imperfect recovering perfectionist, I still have very high standards for myself. I thrive on excellence. So his feedback was intuitively just what I needed to hear. Blunt and straightforward. Let a few things slide.
So I have and I’m pleased to say my throat recovered nicely after my second presentation in Melbourne, I could feel the tightness release on my way to the airport to go home. So he was right, I was a bit stressed after all.
It got me thinking how many of us have impossibly high standards for ourselves. Often as mothers and wives, career professionals or entrepreneurs, daughters and sisters, we have a lot going on. I decided to lower my standards of finishing on time for two professional courses I am doing, and get a cleaner for my house again, and to put my beautiful daughter Ruby into daycare two days (something I had been resisting) so I don’t have to try and fit all my work in around her sleep time. And get an assistant for my business media & PR. It feels good. Achievable. Now I can focus on doing what I am best at and where my time in my business is most profitable and spend my time with Ruby focused and present, instead of trying to do write or call people with her crawling up my leg.
When you try to fit everything in, and do it all yourself, your health invariably suffers, as does everything else. Even though I thought I was being super-mum and had it all together, my body was telling me something different. So in order for that to change, I needed more than just a few days off to rest, I needed long term extra help to manage it all. I do need to mention also that my husband is an incredible support and help, but even between the two of us, we couldn’t keep up. My throat was tight and painful because I wasn’t asking for extra help when I needed it. I had bitten off more than I could chew and certainly more than I could swallow!
I’m sharing this with you, because I wonder where in your life you might do this too? Could you please give yourself permission to lower your standards a little? Is there someone in your family you could delegate and share some tasks with?
Is there some area you could delegate or outsource to another professional? Yes it costs money to do this, however often your time is best spent in other areas of your life. Isn’t it worth spending $30 an hour for someone to do your cleaning or ironing so you can earn that and then more in your business, or creating a side-business if you are employed, or just spending priceless focused time with your children? It is a big paradigm shift, and many will say they can’t afford it, or that they feel “precious” paying someone else to do jobs they could do. I like to think of it as getting the right person for the right job and keeping the money flowing in the economy, when I give someone a job I don’t need to do, I am helping them out, and they are helping me out. Win: win.
Do you feel stressed or tired from juggling “it all”?
Where do you need to lower your standards or ask for help?
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