This is something I learned the hard way; after years of having my calendar solidly booked, day in and day out in a most merciless way, I crashed. I didn’t notice it coming, one day it was just there; a complete and utter emptiness in myself. Between running a company, caring for 4 children and a small homestead I had forgotten myself. I wasn’t suffering, not at all. I was enjoying being busy. It wasn’t dramatic in any way, my head just went blank, that’s all, and blank it stayed. I rearranged my calendar, cut down on my bookings and took a long hard look at my priorities: “What is the most important thing to me right now?” The answer was “my family”. Not me, which I seemed to have lost along the way, or my work but my children. And I realized that “me” was also my children, having time to grow with them, they were the one thing that could not wait and the only way I could be the best mother possible was by taking care of myself.
I started writing myself into the calendar; riding, baking, sewing…with the children. Such happy times and it didn’t matter that my head was blank, it just made it so much better. It was hard, at first, to say “I am busy” since I considered only work as being “busy”. My booked time for hanging out in the field watching ponies didn’t feel like a good enough excuse to not work, and I felt like a cheat. But I got over it. I didn’t leave empty spaces in my calendar because I would have booked them for work. No, I painstakingly wrote my diverse activities in there, just to block the space and make sure that I stayed as true to myself as to my clients. I learned more about myself and how we function as human beings during that time than ever before.
Now my children are all adults, my work is my passion and I can spend time doing just that; my work. I still book my private down-time in my calendar and stick to it even though I sometimes might be tempted to put myself in second place. I have learned that the more I care for myself, the better I can care for my work. You can only give so much without becoming lousy for your passion; be it your family or your work. So do it, book that bath, movie-time, hack, pottering in the garden, staring at the sky…all the things that make you happy and you’ll be the best thing that ever happened to yourself and others.