No matter what you do for a living, achieving the dream of work life balance is HARD. And for those of us who are interested in personal growth, we can become particularly exhausted by the stress of daily life. Even though I try not to, lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and I realize I’m berating myself for “not doing enough.” So I’ve been trying to channel my little niece—we’ll call her Baby M. Why am I learning self care ideas from a preschooler? Because she reminds me that when it comes to self-improvement, nothing works better than “a little bit” at a time.
“A little bit?” is one of my niece’s favorite negotiating tactics. She uses it when we are baking cookies and she wants to stick her cute little digits in the cookie batter; She uses it whenever I’m pouring a few frozen blueberries into a tiny little bowl but somehow she wants more.
She always gets her little bit. Baby M is smart enough to know that life is easier in the little bits. She gets more when she goes “a little bit” by “a little bit.”
And so do we. When we’re striving for personal growth, a “little bit” works so much better with our brains and bodies than making big changes and expecting them to stick. So in those moments when I’m exhausted and struggling to take care of myself, I pull M’s mantra—”A little bit,” and commit to baby steps in the right direction.
Sounds easy? Well, easier said than done. If you are anything like me, you probably revert to skipping that walk, that workout, that meditation when you realize it won’t look the way you envisioned.
But there are ways you can jump into “the little bits” when it comes to ways to take care of yourself.
5 Baby Steps to End Exhaustion:
1. Those 3 pages of journaling you wanted to do? How about committing to 1 sentence a day? See what happens.
2. Struggling to do 30 minutes of meditation in the morning with a toddler who insists on dressing themselves or a dog about to poop on the rug? How about meditating 30 seconds before you jump out of bed?
3. Trying to have 3-4 healthy meals a day but failing miserably? Try doing just 1 healthy breakfast.
4. No time for that blowout? Give yourself a nice scalp massage.
5. No time to meditate AT all? Make your next task a meditation. Wash the dishes with the focus you’d need to play, say, the Classic Operation Game.
Look, I am not saying that you should not strive for more. All I am suggesting is that you get more self-loving done by doing a little bit at a time. These baby steps are cumulative and transformative.
So in that spirit, I’ll throw in a last one—That blog post you wanted to write and aspired to make 450-600 words, but have to cut short because you have a hot brunch date with a dear friend? Keep it to 200-300ish.