When life is hard, it’s important to create space for yourself. I had to do that when my cat died last month.
You maybe haven’t had this experience; however, you maybe have stuff coming up in your life like:
It could be some other trouble that is just causing stress in your life or making you not feel 100%.
Anytime you don't feel 100%, you have permission to create space for yourself.
My cat’s passing
Basically, my cat was sick with lung and kidney issues. We didn't know exactly what it was, but she wasn't doing well. Then one Wednesday night, she acted strangely and then passed away. My husband and I were upset and we didn’t know what to do because the kids were in bed when she passed.
Then, Thursday morning, we woke up, and we had to tell the kids. It was sad, especially because my son was calling her name and looking for her, “Kali! Kali!” We then had to wake up my daughter and tell them both.
Death is never easy, especially if you're with your loved one as they die because then you have that memory as well, which I did with my cat. I cried Wednesday night, and then I cried again on Thursday morning, telling my children.
She was part of our family.
My daughter and my husband brought our cat to a vet clinic to be cremated because I couldn’t handle doing it myself.
It was a work day, so I looked at my day, and I saw Pilates, clients, a two-hour Q&A session, another meeting and more. I immediately knew after looking at my face that I was not ready to go on camera, and I was not ready to be in Pilates facing other people because they’d see my face and would ask me, “What's going on? Are you okay?” and I would probably burst out crying. And I wasn’t wrong because a week later, I cried in Pilates when they asked how I was doing.
Even if I looked fresh and normal, I still had permission to create space for myself. Space to not be “on”.
What creating space means
You might be thinking, “What does it even mean to create space?”
Well, to take off pressure and stress from yourself to breathe. Create space in your life, time for the grief, for the stress, for whatever it is so that you can move past it.
One of them is to not have to be on, where you're like “Hey, everybody, life is good. I’m awesome” and a lot of times you think, “Just don't be fake”. Well, it's not that you're fake, but in my case, since I'm going to coach people, I'm not going to come to my coaching session crying with my clients. I have to be on as a coach. I have to be ready to go, and I have to be ready to give my best and use all of my skills. I knew I couldn't do that.
Creating space also means not pushing that feeling of, “Oh, I've got to muster up the energy, the motivation, the ability to be able to do this thing”. That's pushing. When you're already taxed, you don't want to be pushing. That's what creating space means as well.
Another thing is, if you're going to create space by not being on, by not pushing, it also means that you're allowing the feelings to come in. I ended up being outdoors and cleaning my patio, tending to my plants, and just doing something physical because I knew mentally I couldn't handle it. My Q&A session was rescheduled, my clients were postponed, and I didn't go to Pilates.
Now, could I have done all of these things? A hundred percent. The old me, the A-type, super-driven, perfectionist-type version of me would have done them anyway. But at what cost? Now, I'm at a point where I give myself permission to not have to push and do things.
What does that allow for me? It allows me to work through the emotions of grief a lot faster. It allows me to feel so much better. If you’re going through a hard time, I encourage you to create some space for yourself. You don't have to be on. You don't have to do it all.
I get that there are some requirements. I still had my VA team meeting at the end of the day because I felt like I could do it and that meeting really needed to happen. But for my Q&A session where I would need to brainstorm strategies for my clients, give ideas, and maybe do wordsmithing and some marketing, I thought, “I know, I can't give it my best” and so it was the smart thing to do.
Here are some ways you can create space for yourself
1. Limit your commitments
If you're going through a stressful period, you can limit your commitments to other people. Rather than attending a lot of meetings or events, or doing things for others, like taking care of someone's dog, you decide, “Okay, I'm going to limit. I'm not going to commit to all these other things because I don't know what my bandwidth is: my mental bandwidth, my physical bandwidth, my emotional bandwidth”.
I know that my capacity has decreased, and so I wanted to make sure that I limited my commitments during that time.
Limiting commitments means don't take on anything else, and rescheduling is for the things you already have. Do you need to move them, reschedule them or cancel them?
My clients are so important to me, I didn't want to show up 50% and a two-hour Q&A session would have drained me. That would have meant the rest of my day would have been a write-off. As much as I could have done it, you have to ask yourself this question: “To what cost do you do it? To what cost do you push yourself? At what cost do you stick to what you said you’d do?”
Commitment is one of my number one values, and I am not a suck. I go, I do things and I push through. Physically, I've played sports with broken fingers, broken toes, sprained ankles, and not being able to bend over because of back pain. I've pushed through.
I have shown up for a speaking event, and been the first one to arrive even though I was hugging a toilet bowl all night from food poisoning. I have pushed, and I have led a two-day training with headaches. I have pushed. I have shown up for clients when my father was in palliative care. There are times that I've pushed, and there are times that it worked for me. I'm not saying that you just give up everything and have poor commitment, but that you create that space for yourself.
The last thing to do is delegate. There are a lot of things happening in your life, even down to things like laundry, cooking, and cleaning. I know that's why meal trains are a big thing that we do for people in times of need.
I delegated stuff to my team. I delegated to one of my VAs, Kristine, for her to set up an email to go out to all of my clients so that we could move the meeting. I also delegated other work to them so that it wasn't on my plate because I knew I just couldn't handle it.
I'm curious as to which part of these will help you the most in creating space when you're having a hard time. You need to have that opportunity to have the space for your emotions, for your feelings, for your brain capacity, all of the pieces. I hope you never have to use these, but let's be honest, this is how life is.
If you're feeling overly stressed or overwhelmed, create a little bit of space in your week. Look at your schedule and say,
Share this with a friend, especially someone who you feel needs some help creating space in their life. Maybe they're overbooked or overwhelmed, whatever it may be, share this with them.
P.S. Do you need help in delegating? You can go from overwhelm to ease with the help of a virtual assistant. Go here to know how Virtual Assistant Made Easy can help you.
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