It begins while the morning coffee is brewing.
I unplug my phone from its nightly charge and curl up on the couch with a big glass of water to check the emails that came in over the night. And every morning, amongst the ads telling me that Banana Republic is once again having a one day sale! and the funny or inspirational emails forwarded by my mom, there are emails that demand my attention. Sometimes I respond right then (I apologize if you have ever received one of those pre-coffee, pre-dawn messages from me) and other times I make a note to respond later.
It continues when I enter the school building.
I unlock and plug in my laptop, opening up Outlook as soon as I’ve entered my password. Inevitably, there are emails from parents needing information, students needing assistance and administrators needing paperwork. And then, all too soon, the bell rings and I’m swarmed by the commotion of teenagers all fighting to be seen and heard and attended to. This one needs a band-aid, that one needs a pencil and they all need help with their math.
It follows me home.
As soon as I pull into the driveway, I see Tiger’s face at the dining room window peering down at me. I can hear his excited dance on the hardwoods above my head as I gather my belongings out of my car and begin the nightly shedding of the teacher skin by removing my high heels. Once I open the door to the house, I am immediately greeted with 90 pounds of insistent pit bull demanding hugs and kisses. On most days, this is soon followed with the racket of an old cat asking for her turn. The four-legged also experience sibling jealousy, apparently.
Now, you may not check your emails before your morning coffee. You may not work as a teacher surrounded by teenagers. And you may not come home to the attentions of a pit bull and an aging feline.
But I bet you still relate to the above.
Because for all of us, at every turn, someone or something is clamoring for our attention.
Our phones vibrate with incoming messages. Our car flashes a reminder about needing an oil change. Our families ask for attention and the young ones often need it right now! Our work no longer ends when we close the office door; it follows us home.
It’s all too easy to fill a day leap frogging from one need to another, considering everyone else’s demands yet ignoring our own. Feeling frazzled and depleted. Pulled too many directions.
It’s time to make your needs heard.
Clamor for your own attention.
Set a reminder to go on your daily walk. Schedule time each day to unplug from your devices. Close your door and breathe, even if it’s just for a minute while the kids are busy. Post reminders to stop, look and listen to your own needs.
The busier we are, the more structured and intentional we have to be about taking care of ourselves.
So when you’re making that to-do list, make sure that you put yourself on it too.