Are you stressed out on the job? Stressed out with family or relationship issues? Stressed out because of illness? Maybe you’re stressed because of one of many other things in life. I’ve been stressed out because of all of the above at certain times in my life and yet didn’t cut myself any slack. Only after all hell broke loose and I had my mental breakdown, I knew I had to give myself a break. It was time to be happy just doing the minimal. Shame on me I needed a health crisis to learn this.
There are people in this world who naturally ride their road of life at or just below the speed limit. And there are those, like the former me, who constantly drive at least 15 mph over. In my teens, I had to be the best ballet dancer. Then I had to be the best student. At one point, I had to work the hardest of all my fellow corporate ladder climbers. I pushed myself extremely hard. Eventually, riding on a manic phase of my bipolar disorder, I drove on the road of life at 50 mph over the speed limit. The energy seemed to make it easy, but like anyone who pushes themselves too hard for too long, I ended up crashing spectacularly. As a result, I found myself hardly able to do even the minimum in life. I became disabled.
Stress coping skills are very important for all of us to learn. However, there are times when nothing seems to be able to conquer the stealthy beast. At that point, you have to do only the minimal amount in life to stabilize your mind and body, especially if you find yourself cutting out fun and joy! Of course, the minimal amount will depend on your personal situation. If you rely on a job to pay the bills, then doing well enough at the job should suffice. Working above and beyond is not necessary. If you have kids, taking good care of them should suffice. Being a super parent, is definitely not necessary.
I challenge you to pull out a piece of paper and a pen. Ignore the “must do’s.” Just create a column of things (even little tiny ones) you can cut out of your life. Or, if you can’t cut them completely, you can perhaps do so from a day or week. Try hard. Also pick at least one thing you’re only debating cutting out. Once you have the list, test drive it for a week, try to skip the debated thing, too. See how it goes. If you find life is still too much, pull out the paper and pen again.
And most importantly, give yourself a little break every now and then, and indulge in some major fun.