Personal Admin

I’m gearing up for (or resigning myself to) a weekend of personal admin. I first heard the term ‘personal admin’ from a friend of mine. Personal admin is all those things that go into running your life – tasks around the house, tracking finances, meal planning, etc. If you’re like me, things fall off the to-do list and pile up like a big overwhelming mountain.

Enter personal admin time. For me, it’s about hitting my avoidance tipping point and deciding I *have* to do something. It’s a realization that I need to set aside some time and get this stuff done ASAP. The weight of it all is too much.

Why does the personal admin day matter? It involves boundaries, discipline, and getting out of overwhelm. Boundaries? Saying no to plans or requests from others for help because you have carved out this time for you to get your life in order. Discipline? It’s non-negotiable. Personal admin time isn’t facebook time, nap time, time for a drink. Getting out of overwhelm? Overwhelm is a state of mind and not a fun place to be. How nice will it be to have your mental and emotional space free of overwhelm? Way more fun.

Reformed Perfectionist Series: You’re Human

How often do you remember that you are human? Some of my biggest ‘a-ha’ moments have come from realizing that I experience what I do because I’m human. That whatever I’m going through is within the realm of possibility and understanding because of that fact. I am human.

I’m human. We often say it as a way to shirk responsibility. As in, “What can I say? I’m human,” with a shrug of the shoulders and dismissive tone. What I’m referring to is a deep awareness, acknowledgement and radical acceptance that can come from realizing that you are a human – and being human is a package deal.

What comes in that package? Along with the miracles that are our bodies, minds, hearts and souls, there are all the emotions and experiences we have. Like most people, you probably welcome and accept the good. Joy, love, success, pleasure, confidence, and so on. What about the “bad”? Do you let yourself feel your regret, guilt, shame, boredom, anxiety, sadness, uncertainty?

When the tidal wave of negative emotions meets the unrelenting wall of perfectionism, it’s crushing. We believe we won’t be able to handle it, that acknowledging that we’ve failed, hurt someone, or acted against our better judgement or values will destroy us. What we need to be is flexible in order to allow that wave of feeling to enter us, and then leave.

I’ve spent plenty of energy resisting these less-than-pleasurable human experiences. I created the expectation that I will be the one human on the planet who had figured out a way around these feelings. Underneath that delusion was the fear that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. That if I welcomed the feeling it would swallow me whole.

That’s where learning I’m human came in. I was hiking one day, doing exhausting mental gymnastics to get away from feeling regret, and the thought came to me: “It’s ok to feel regret. It’s a human experience, and I’m a human.” Not very elegant, but transformative. Suddenly it was ok to feel bad, even bad about myself. Any experience I had became a human one, and I was no longer alone in it. It didn’t mean anything about me as a person, other than that I was one.

So the next time you find yourself in that moment of realization that you’re resisting feeling shame, or guilt, or grief, take a deep breath and turn towards that “bad” feeling. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling that way, or try to escape it. You’re feeling that way because you’re human, and shit happens to humans.

Take a breath, give yourself some TLC, and do your best to move on.

Want more resources on how to accept your humanness? Brene Brown (brenebrown.com) and Kristin Neff (self-compassion.org) both write on the topic.

On Anticipating the Worst

A poem by Erin Hansen always comes to mind when I or my clients are faced with the realization that we’re always anticipating the worst. Assuming we’ll get hurt, things won’t work out, or we’ll fail.

Here’s the poem:

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”

-Erin Hansen

The inevitable question arises, “Why do I do that? Why do I always go straight to the negative, oblivious to the (more likely) possibility that everything will be ok?”

The answer may have roots in our distant ancestors, explored in evolutionary psychology. While fear and anxiety may have helped save us from being eaten by lions eons ago, today our overactive worry gets in the way of us seeing all the wonderful possibilities that are out there. We spend time worrying about things going wrong before they do, robbing us of peace and optimism in the present.

Regardless of the reason behind our negativity bias, our thoughts are incredibly powerful. What we focus on is more likely to manifest itself. So next time we find ourselves anticipating the worst, how about we agree to start wondering, “And what if it all works out?” Or if the poet in you needs his or her say, “But what if I fly?”

Try, and let’s watch the magic unfold!

See more of Erin Hansen’s work on her website: http://thepoeticunderground.com/

Park Record Guest Editorial

With May being Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to bring a little awareness to my own Park City community. I wrote a Guest Editorial to my local paper, the Park Record, and it was printed on the 19th. Click the link below to read:

Thank you to the editor of the Park Record for seeing the importance of this issue, and for printing my editorial in Saturday’s paper. Let’s hope someone sees it and realizes she’s not alone!