Friday, December 14, 2012

The weird thing about "priorities"


This week has been a bit of an off week for me.  I got thinking last night about why I might feel NOT like myself (note: this was done with a cup of Peppermint tea for good measure).

When I do this exercise, I typically ask myself my three key "stress check" questions:

1.  Have I been exercising?
2.  Have I been eating healthy?
3.  Have I been getting enough sleep?

99.9% of the time when I'm not feeling great, it's a triple NO to those questions.   This week, that's definitely the case.

This got me thinking about the concept of priorities in general.  Exercise, nutrition, and sleep are certainly what I'd consider "priorities" if I wrote a list of all the things that are important to me in life.  Some other items on the list:

-My family
-My faith
-My job
-My health (in general)
-Maintaining my home
-My finances
-Time for self
-My friendships
-Spending time outside
-My dog :).

Here's the weird thing...when I look at that list and am honest with myself, I can count MANY of those things that I haven't prioritized for a while.  With work, travels, and other obligations, I know that some of my friendships have been neglected.  My workout schedule has been all over the place.  I bounce between 6 and 9 hours of sleep throughout the week.  I sometimes have to think for a minute about the last time I prayed.  The list goes on...

This begs the question - are all those things TRULY priority for me?

A priority is something that is "highest or higher in importance" (according to dictionary.com).  If going to yoga class was a priority for me, wouldn't I pick that over staying at home and drinking wine and watching Netflix instant viewer?  Is wine + TV my actual priority?  Yes, funny, but let's be real - it's a valid question. 

Realistically, I don't think that we can make everything that is important to us a top priority at the same time, but I do think it's wise to think about how we are spending our time and when (and why) we are letting our priorities get away from ourselves.  Maybe we also confuse priorities with "values," and we waver with what values we make a priority.

All I do know is that the past few weeks have made me more aware of how I spend my time, and how my decisions relate to my energy level.  When I am overwhelmed, wiped out, and sleep deprived, almost everything goes.  I don't feel like I have the energy to work out, go grocery shopping to prepare healthy meals, go to my favorite yoga class, or make plans with friends.  I think that sometimes we are guilty of an "all or nothing" approach, and feel like we've failed if we "only" make it to the gym two times in one week instead of five, or if we get 7 hours of sleep instead of 8.  I think that at the end of the day, if we can take small steps to Show Up for Ourselves...a little can go a long way. ;)


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