Step By Step

Moving from one home to another can feel like a full-time job. Having moved over 20 times in my lifetime I pride myself that I now have it down to a science. I’ve learned moving hacks through the years that make the transition easier. I also find pleasure in purging unneeded items from the current home as I prepare to relocate to the next one. I love finding new places for my belongings, repurposing décor, and making new memories. My mom and another friend of mine each bought a new home in the last few weeks. Going through the settling in process with them (mom via Facetime) prompted an analogy for self-care.

Reflect on a time when you’ve moved. If you’re anything like me, when surveying all of the boxes and bins that contain your whole life, it can feel overwhelming, unsure where to even begin.  Unpacking one item leads to another task and more “to do’s”. It’s almost like dominoes or maybe even Jenga. I can feel like I’m walking in circles uncertain of how productive I am being.

In helping my friend last week, I was tasked with setting up the kitchen. It’s one of my favorite things to do when moving into a new place. I believe in many cases; the kitchen is the heart of the home. It tends to be where most people congregate. It can be fun for me to find the flow of the room. Figuring out where to put everything that makes the most sense. Determining where to put the plates, glasses, the cookware, utensils, and organizing the pantry. First, I survey the space and decide my plan of attack. How can I do this job systematically? Where do I start? What is my first step? And then the next step? Taking things step by step helps tremendously! Taking things in small incremental steps (aka bite size pieces) makes it more manageable. And playing upbeat music helps (along with the promise of pizza afterwards). I can really get in the zone. The bonus is the sense of accomplishment when something like that is done. In my experience, if the kitchen and a bathroom are unpacked and a bed is made with clean sheets, the rest can progress in time.

Just like when looking at all of your belongings laying in chaos in one location can feel overwhelming, so does nearing the end of a school year. Things seem to pile up as we survey all that needs to be done before the summer break. Assessing how to get through the rest of the content and curriculum while navigating spring testing, along with end of year celebrations, award ceremonies, and programming can be daunting. It becomes crunch time. All of that coupled with exhaustion from the pace of the school year can take its toll. (Unless of course you’ve been following your own self-care plan and adopting some of the strategies we share here each month).

What pressure are you under currently? What feels heavy? Burdensome? How can you take it step by step? Is there a way to chunk out the tasks that lay ahead? Can you start with something small and build momentum? Can you prioritize, what really needs to be done first? Are there other things that can wait or intentionally ignored or skipped? (not your self-care!) Can you opt to not attend every event or only stay for part? Remember you have a choice and are allowed to set boundaries and time limits to preserve your energy.

Let me reinforce the notion that not doing “all the things” and choosing how to expend your energy is part of self-care. Allowing yourself to only do what you can do and not feeling guilty about what is left undone contributes to your well-being. Alleviating the pressure to do it all preserves your mental and emotional health. Giving yourself permission to pace, slow down, go step by step is the goal. I’m confident that if you take a moment to think through what feels like an unsurmountable mountain of work, you will find some place to get your footing, take a breather before you continue to the summit. And once you get to the top, with your health in check, you will have the energy to be able to celebrate all you’ve accomplished.

(and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention I had the New Kids on the Block song, Step by Step playing in my mind while writing this blog)

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