ReClaimLife-1What do I mean by reclaiming your life? Many High Achieving Women give to other people, causes, and their work BEFORE they give to themselves. They put themselves at the “bottom of the list”. If they do take some time out for themselves, they often feel guilty that they are not working, or selfish that they are not giving to others. Sound familiar?

Reclaiming your life means consciously examining your activities (giving to others and to yourself), making a decision as to what changes you want to make, committing to them and then making those changes. Here’s a short exercise.

In what areas of my life am I giving to others, how often and how does it make me feel? Here are a couple of examples. I invite you to create your own table and fill it in.

Activity Environment or Individual/Community # of hours/wk/month Feeling state*
1) Volunteer Board member National Not-for-Profit 2 hrs/month ++
2) Driving my 2 kids to their sports activities Local hockey arena(s) & soccer fields 4 hrs/week +
3) Always being a sounding board for my girlfriend On the phone or at her house or mine 4 hrs/week

* ++ (extremely positive; energized & excited) , + (positive) , N (neutral) – (slightly tired, frustrated &/or resentful) or – – (exhausted, extremely frustrated &/or extremely resentful)

Add up the number of hours per week and per month you are giving to others and also notice which activities drain you and which ones really “juice” you.

Next, answer the question: In what areas of my life am I giving to myself, how often and how does it make me feel?

Activity Environment or Individual/Community # of hours/wk/month Feeling state*
1) Yoga classes Local studio 4.5 hrs/week ++
2) Having a massage Therapist comes to my home with her table 1.5 hrs/month ++
3) Having lunch with a friend Local restaurant Once/wk x 1.5 hrs. ++
 …

* ++ (extremely energized &/or supported), + (energized &/or supported) N (neutral)

Add up the number of hours per week and per month you are giving to yourself and note which activities really “juice” and/or support you and any that don’t.

Compare the difference between the two tables. Do have any insights?

I invite you to make a conscious decision to let go of one or several GIVING behaviours that are draining you. Decide on the best strategy for letting go of, or delegating those activities, and set a date to do so.

Now review your second chart. Note the activities that are really energizing and/or supporting you. Do you want to increase the number of hours per week you do those OR are there some other things you’d love to try (e.g. taking piano lessons). Add those to the list and set a date to begin them.

Notice how you feel when you “let go” of some of the GIVING activities that have been draining you and when you add more activities where you give to yourself. I invite you to journal about your experience.

Sometimes we go through life and think that we don’t have choices. In fact, we always DO.

When you reclaim your life, you serve as a role model for other women in your family, community, workplace…; so while doing something for yourself, you are also making a positive difference in the lives of other women.

Did you have any new insights from the exercise? Have you committed to making any changes? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share the post with others.

 

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