My Strength is in knowing that “I am human; there are limits to my abilities”
While growing up, I would often hear my mother and grandmother expressing that they were tired, but they would always continue with the task at hand. I always thought to myself that they loved to complain and the solution would have been to stop what they were doing and rest. Looking back at those days, I realized how much I had to learn about being a woman because I didn’t understand the different roles women play and how important they were to my existence.
Over the past 20 years, I developed and mastered a lot of roles, to the point where they have become me. I am a mother, wife, sister, friend, co-worker, breadwinner, cheerleader, innovator, role model, mentor and confidant. I wear these hats on a daily basis and it’s expected by me to excel in all areas. However, “I am human; there are limits to my abilities”
I am the type of person that you can count on and whenever, I promise to do something I will always try my best to fulfill these promises. Honestly, at times I would be stretched beyond my limits. We, women have a tendency, to aim to succeed in all the roles that we play and whenever we are tired we force ourselves to continue because this method is in our DNA. This method is how we strive, this method has become who we are and sometimes, it’s the only way to get things done, as well as meeting the needs of those who depends on us.
I started to evaluate my life because I became this strong independent woman that needed to get the job done at any cost, I am a ‘go getter’ and I often push beyond my limits to the point where I am exhausted or even burned out. I had to put an end to this cycle because it was very unhealthy and I realized that I was no good to anyone if I wasn’t well.
Some of the methods I have started that has worked very well for me are:
Knowing when to stop. I have developed this system, where I started to listen to my body and give it just what it needs. It could be a day off, an early night’s sleep or spending the day doing absolutely nothing (nothing to me means limited housework, taking care of my children needs and spending most of the day in bed, watching a movie, sleeping or reading).
- I explained to my family (this includes my 4-year-old daughter) that I needed time to rest. I must say this explanation is very important because an adult may understand what this means, but children often don’t. I would, therefore, ensure that all my children’s needs are met and then I’ll set them up in my room on their sleeping bag (the sleeping bag is a special treat) with their tablet or a movie, they get to choose toys and it’s a sleepover. This method works for me because my children are still in my space and I can ensure they are safe. The plus in this is that they understand that mommy needs some ‘me time’ and they would remain quietly engaged in their activity; I try to ensure this is a special moment for them so they look forward to this treat. WIN! WIN!
- Learn to say NO! I am very active at work and I was a part of every committee, this meant that at times I would be working beyond my limits because I had other obligations I had to learn to say no even when pressured to participate. I also had to learn that I don’t need to take part in everything and that there are others who can replace me. I learnt that all these extra commitments were contributing to my unhealthy state in many ways because my body has limits.
- Found a balance between school and home. I am a lover of school and enjoy learning, so I would jump at any opportunity to go back to school or training that was offered. This also contributed to me being burnt out due to the extra schoolwork and the demands of my young children. I came to the realization that my family needs are high and the demands of school added more pressures. So, I made the decision that for the mean time I can only commit to short-term training programs and/or those that do not require me to spend any time at home doing school work.
- Limited my social commitments. Another big one for us ladies are social commitments, this takes up a lot of our spare time and takes us away from our family. I am in the habit of taking my children with me and the ones that I’m not able to take them, I just will not go to. I will explain that I’m not able to attend for that same reason. I have also explained to people that I needed to spend time with my family or simply tell them I’m unable to attend. We need to understand that we are not able to be everywhere and support everyone at all times. Saying no, doesn’t mean you’re not a supportive person, it means you know your limits and you’re going to live within them.
Moving forward, I have learnt that I need to put me first and take time for me. One of the hardest things for us as women is the ability to separate our needs from our wants. We need to stop concentrating on our wants and ignoring our needs. It’s very important to listen to our bodies and be obedient to its need, but most importantly knowing that:
“You are human; there are limits to your abilities”.