In life and in business we shouldn’t win “Emmy Awards” for not taking care of ourselves. I believe at some point in our lives many of us have been martyrs. We follow certain catch phrases that we think make us look cool. We tell stories of damaging our health to prove to others that we work hard.
I admit i’ve been guilty of this as well. However, three years prior to becoming a mom something hit me, I realized there were 2 things I needed to stop celebrating. I also no longer celebrate with people who do. Instead I give them blank stares.
Here are 2 things to not say around me
I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to eat
I remember running out of the house at 6am or 7am in the mornings and there were times I didn’t eat until noon. Or if I did eat breakfast, I didn’t eat lunch at all and it turned into dinner time. I’d be doing this with a 4 hour roundtrip commute (4.5 hours if the trains were backed up) and very often a 9-11 hour work day. I’d wear it like it was a badge.
When people asked me did I eat yet i’d say, “I was so busy I didn’t have time to eat, or i’d say I forgot to eat”. I wish more people would have told me back then how stupid I sounded. Nowadays if i’m in a rush i’ll make time to get up and boil 2 eggs while i’m getting dressed or while i’m getting my daughter dressed.
If I know i’m going to have a hectic day i’ll be sure to have fruit and light snacks on hand, that will hold me over until I can get lunch. Sometimes I go ahead and pack lunch as well. This requires me to properly plan my day, which is all a part of time management. Making sure you eat is really that simple. Unless you are fasting for a specific reason, this is nothing but a lack of time management. You really shouldn’t celebrate that.
I’ll sleep when i’m dead
I’ve never personally used this phrase, but I have been excited to tell people that I haven’t slept. People think not sleeping makes them the messiah of hustling. Like all people who get adequate rest, are lazy peasants who should be stoned.
At the age of 25 I started to notice dark circles under my eyes. While dark cycles can be hereditary (my dad has them), lack of sleep can add to them as well. This year I will be 38 years of age and while I still have the dark circles, over the past year they’ve started to clear up a little. I notice that days when I get more sleep my eyes look much better.
Recently I was working on a project where I was already two days ahead of schedule. I could have kept going and completed it that day. However, I chose sleep because it was important to me and I actually had time to do so. Not only was my mind clear, but I was able to get even more creative. The project had a strong finish that both myself and the client were proud of.
Sometimes I sit back and say to myself, I really can’t believe this was me. I really can’t believe that I thought these things proved to people that I worked hard. Not eating and sleeping doesn’t necessarily mean you work harder than anyone else. While there may be days where we get less sleep than others, or we eat less than the day before, we shouldn’t promote this as something that is normal. There are people in this world who are purposely being starved and people who would die to sleep, so we need to be careful of what we promote.
My parents used to always say, “make sure you eat and get some rest”. Before I used to only half listen thinking I knew everything. Constantly telling them I didn’t have time. Now as I grow a little older, I grow a little wiser, I realize I want to live a little longer and that requires eating and sleeping.