So here’s a few words of personal checkin and transparency coming at you. These last few weeks have been a doozy. As an individual, professional, mom, wife, friend - you name a role Nicole plays, and the universe has tossed me something unexpected. So you could say that things have been a bit stressful. You could say that I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed. You could point out that I hit my 90% mark of mostly getting there, only to drop the ball on the last 10% more than a few times. But you could also say that in many ways I am doing ok. Heck, more than ok. And for the sake of anyone else going through life with a lot on their plate right now, I will share some of the things that have helped me navigate this bumpy part of my journey.
Gratitude: I know it’s so cliche and we hear it over and over again, especially this time of year as we get closer to November. But for real y’all a few weeks ago when things started piling up and my daily schedule in my planner looked more like a puzzle game than someone’s actual life, I promised myself that I would focus on being grateful for the opportunities being provided to me. So while imperfectly, I have tried really hard to find appreciation in where I am. Yes my calendar is busy - but I’m thankful for what is being provided to me and offered to me in so many ways. Yes, I’ve really had to practice prioritizing and saying no to a few things - but I’m thankful for friends and a support system that understands that and loves me even when I cancel plans or show up but am kinda a hot mess. Gratitude doesn’t make the hard stuff go away, but it does allow me to see it with a different perspective.
The Best Version of Myself, Today: When I’m not running at my ideal pace and I know I’m not really able to show up as I would ideally like to, then I try to practice self-compassion. I truly believe in the idea that no matter what is going on today, that if I focus exactly what is before me in this moment and do the best I can with what I’ve got in this moment, then I can be content with myself regardless of the outcome. For me this present moment focus, allows me to shed some of the future anxieties and worries so that I can be fully present and less distracted. This usually allows me to tap into more of what I need to be the best version of myself in the current moment. It’s never perfect, I usually cuss along the way and sometimes I just have to be honest with myself and other’s that I’m not at my A-game but I’m still going to give it all I got. I find that when I do this things actually turn out better than I expected them to in all honesty. And most importantly to me, I don’t walk away feeling disappointed or ashamed of my infallibility.
Self-Care: I have said to countless people that when the heat gets turned up in our lives, that is when we really need good self-care the most but also the time we are mostly likely to let it go. Whatever regular self-care practices you have, if you’re like me, then when your schedule gets busy or you start feeling stressed, then those things get pushed down to the bottom on the to-do list. Well I’ve learned that lesson the hard way and in an effort to not consciously repeat mistakes I’ve already learned from, I’ve tried hard to maintain taking care of myself and meeting my needs. In some ways these are small actions - go to bed, get rest, eat an actual meal, breathe. But in other ways they have had to be bigger choices like to get on my yoga mat more days than not, to take an entire day for a quick trip out of town and break from the day-to-day, to take a day off to be with my family. It’s a bit counterintuitive to take time off when my schedule is slammed and I have more things to do than I can reasonably get done, but I’ve learned that if I take the time and give myself the much needed break, I can come back to do and be the person that I actually want to be when I show up somewhere. I’ve learned that laundry, clean floors and having a completed to-do list can get in the way of me feeling calm, centered, connected, content and energized. My strategy for sticking to this and committing to a bit of self-care when I’m really busy and stressed is that I plan for it and schedule it. I literally block out down time in my calendar, schedule a night to be home early or to grab dinner with friends. It goes in the calendar and I honor myself by not allowing something else to randomly become more important than what I need.
Looking Ahead: Change is inevitable and I remind myself of that when I’m in the midst of a busy, stressful time. The saying “this too shall pass” is a great reminder that wherever I am or whatever I’m going through in this moment, won’t last forever. I sometimes literally look ahead in my calendar and see those weeks or weekends ahead with nothing already planned. I look forward to some awesome things coming up over the next few weeks that will naturally give me some time to unplug and relax. I look for the balance to my current situation and if it’s not obvious, well then I walk my own talk and start to create the balance I’m needing.
So as I continue into the next few weeks and can already see some challenges ahead, I do so with a sense of internal capacity. Some days I’m tired and overwhelmed by it all, but honestly I know deep down that I’m loved, cared for and have the capacity to handle the life I currently have in front of me. I am committed to continue to find gratitude, to stay present focused while also looking ahead and to take good care of myself. Oh and to do it all imperfectly.
With a brave heart,