Have you noticed that almost as quickly as the opportunity to get some peace and quiet – or sleep arises – it is immediately chased away by nagging thoughts that are punctuated with worry and guilt about all the things you haven’t gotten done today?
Whatever rest and relaxation you were thinking about getting is now out of reach and you are left feeling heavy with guilt and worry about whether your best is good enough. In addition, you have spent your entire day tending to the needs of demanding (but lovable) children that have left you completely drained and unable to think about doing anything more for anyone else (including yourself). This is a common situation among childcare providers who are trying to do too much and be all things to everybody in their lives. The truth is, that it is impossible to be all things to all people and the only one who will suffer is YOU!
By wearing too many hats, you reduce yourself to a life that lacks fulfillment and self-satisfaction. It’s normal for you to wonder whether you have done enough to console your own child, to ensure your spouse knows you love them, to maintain your important friendships, to take care of your household duties and to put your very best forward with the children while you are at work. However immersing yourself in guilt and worry destroys your self worth and eventually, your health. There are plenty of reasons that people suffer burn out, stress and depression and this is definitely one of them. In fact, caring for others as a profession makes you three times more likely to put yourself last and suffer from mental anguish about whether you are doing enough.
Instead of losing sleep over what you lack and priding yourself on making long to-do lists, use your energy to reward yourself for what you do accomplish. Which is A LOT! Understand that when you stop rushing from one thing to another – you will find that you can draw more joy from your every day life and tasks. How many times have you felt yourself becoming easily frustrated or anxious at work and at home because of self-imposed pressure you put on yourself to be perfect? In the end, your tension only rubs off on the children you care for and your family. As a result, you feel overwhelmed, guilty, and missing out on valuable opportunities to ‘seize the day’ and truly live in the moment. It’s pretty difficult to enjoy a sunset, a bubble bath or read the latest Rosemary Wells masterpiece to a class full of bright-eyed children if you are wrought with guilt and anxiety. When you choose to live in the moment and truly enjoy your time, even doing menial things – you will find that life naturally begins to look and feel better.
Guilt and worry are wasted time you could use to feel good about yourself and be proud of all you do. Instead of making to-do lists, make ‘done’ lists and start appreciating all you do, all you’re capable of and the huge differences you make in the lives of those around you. Now that is something to get some sleep over!