Help Yourself?

Well as you may have guessed, I am (sadly) not $350 million richer today.  But I think we all had fun thinking about what to do with heaps and gobs of money, right?  So there’s that.  And there will be another MegaMillions.  I know the chances of ever winning are extremely remote, but then again you know for sure you won’t succeed if you don’t even try, right?!

The-Cold-that-Refused-to-Go-Away has now started to migrate into my throat and chest, which is actually not uncommon with colds that I seem to catch.  It’s still a bummer, though.  I would really like to get back to running regularly.  I’m tired of being sidelined because my body is run down and/or I can’t breathe well.  I’m hoping that tomorrow I’ll be able to at least get a couple miles in.  It’s getting to the point where I feel that more than anything, I need the time to myself in order to regain a little bit of sanity.  Not to say that things around here are super stressful–in fact, things seem to be looking up a bit–but lately I’ve just felt a little deprived of my “me” time.

Both at home and at work, I keep lists (either actual or just mental) of things I want to get done.  Recently, my apartment and my workspace have become cluttered messes, which drives me crazy.  Every day I wake up thinking, “When I get home from work, I’m going to tidy up”.  I sit down at work and think, “I’m going to put aside some time today to get emails organized and clean up my desk.”  And every day, I fail to do those things, along with a whole host of other activities I’d like to cross off my list: go running, do yoga, unpack my suitcase from my recent trip to California, put in a FreshDirect order, etc.  I just find it so difficult to fit these things in when there are so many other things that need attention as well.  In addition to these things, I want to get home and make sure I can spend time with my fiancé, devote some time to blogging and keeping up with others’ blogs (which I’m still not doing very well, sorry), do any email personal email writing that I couldn’t do during the day, and other things of that nature.  Sometimes, even though these are all activities I enjoy, I feel like I’m putting too many demands on myself, and pulling myself in too many different directions at once.  I want to be sure to do things that will help and be care taking of others, but at the same time I know I need to have the same attitude toward myself.  What often happens is I put the things I need or want for myself at the bottom of my to-do lists, which means that if I run out of time to get things done in a day, then I’m sacrificing the things that will help me to feel my best.

Some blogs I read make me feel like I am woefully under-productive.  I can’t believe how much some people can accomplish in a day!  I need to avoid falling into the trap of comparing myself to other people, though, because that’s never a winning game.  Instead of thinking about what I’m not doing, I think it’s more important to focus on striking some sort of balance between things I’m doing for other people and things I’m doing for myself.  In the end, I think one’s ability to be kind and helpful and attentive to others is really affected if he or she can’t first treat themselves with kindness and attentiveness.  Essentially, I think that if I want to be there for my friends and family, I have to learn to be there for myself.  Otherwise, everyone is getting cheated.  So from now on, I’m going to make more of an effort to ask for time to myself when I need it, and use the time that I do have more efficiently so that I don’t end up going to bed at night feeling like I’ve been cheated out of something.  Time is limited enough as it is and the last thing I need is to feel like I’m not living the life I want to be living because I can’t add four more hours to the day.

How do you balance the different demands you put on yourself?  Do you feel guilty putting aside time to do things that you’ll enjoy?  Do you believe that you have to help yourself in order to help others?



  1. It took me about ten years to understand I had to put fewer things on my to-do-lists in order to be able to check every item on it. I have lists for the day, for the week and for the month. I also have a list for whenever I have time. (I am a list freak, I know.) I helps me to have a wider perspective on the things I have to do, which don’t need to be all done THIS week. I feel much more proud of myself at the end of the day now that I can get what I planned done and even do more. It’s a mental trick, basically, but it’s also about making realistic goals. It works for me.

    Now that I have a baby, guilt is a part of every single day of my life. I am learning how to deal with it and how to grow with it. It’s never easy. We just keep on getting more tasks, chores and responsibilities. As soon as we adapt, another thing comes up. So yes, we need to focus and allow ourselves some “me” time, like you say. I will try that myself. Thanks Emilie!

  2. I’m really enjoying reading your blog after finding it due to the Special K post, this line stuck me: “Some blogs I read make me feel like I am woefully under-productive.” That is exactly how i feel and just this weekend had a long discussion with my boyfriend about it. When i read these blogs they make me feel like i don’t do enough in my day compared to them. I really, really appreciate you writing that sentence.

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