"I mean… what about self-care?" she asked.
My client and I were in the middle of a life coaching session, and she was extra busy because her business was taking off. It was an exciting time for her—filled with travel, media mentions, and hiring a team.
"What do you need, specifically?" I asked.
"I don't know! I just know I'm meant to have me-time and bubble baths and meditate and stuff."
We both laughed.
Sometimes self-care, saying "no," and having white space on our calendars is important, yes. But there are also exciting waves that can happen or shifts in circumstances that require us to be more overscheduled than usual.
And we can relax into that, too.
The biggest irony is that we get anxious about not taking time to ensure we're not anxious in those "self-care" hours. Here are a few things to consider if you're feeling stretched too thin:
1. You have a full life.
Ever thought of that? A friend of mine has a really sick dad, and she has to travel almost two hours each way to see him pretty regularly. It's put a lot of pressure on her already-busy schedule as a VP at a bank.
But her perspective is wonderful. She said to me on the phone one time as she was driving there pretty late, "Hey, I'm still lucky to have my dad." That's true. I lost mine when I was 19, and she's 41.
If you're juggling a lot (no matter whether what you're juggling is positive or negative), it's because there's simply a lot in your life: kids, a partner, parents, a job, a side hustle, a pet, a gym you frequent, a club you're part of, friends to catch up with, potted plants to water... (OK, going a bit far here, but you get the picture!)
A packed life is a blessed place to live. Think of the alternative.
2. Busy people get stuff done.
There's an old saying that if you want a job done, give it to a busy person. I've never met a busy (and not fake-flustered busy, but real-hustle busy) person who was losing. Busy people are engaged with a vision. They say yes to opportunity. Their life is intentional. Working, walking, talking, and being with purpose can make you frantic at times, yes. But busy people get it done. I don't know about you, but for me, feeling overwhelmed can often beat functioning in the hazy, sleep-inducing paralysis of just getting by.
The sacred art of living is in action!
3. A calm almost always follows a storm.
If you're a human being and you're alive, your life will have ebbs and flows. During my book launch, I felt guilty for being an unavailable wife and friend, and totally slacking on other projects. But I knew it was going to be a fixed period of time (based on some great advice from an author friend) of just eight weeks or so that required hot-off-the-presses, high-intensity promotion. She was right. The calm came soon after, and I was able to pick up where I left off, without any real harm done. I wish I gave myself a break about going through a busy phase, instead of stressing out so much!
Overscheduled one, take solace: You've got a lot going for you. You're doing a lot right. Celebrate your wins, take time out when your body tells you to, and in the midst of a what feels like a tornado, know that the calm's around the corner. And that knowing—that peaceful, real knowing that lets you exhale in unexpected moments— well, that's the best self-care there is.
Susie Moore is Greatist's life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!