Last week I wasn’t feeling very well. Mentally, that is.
Early in the week, I received feedback from a few people on my book, and it hit me that I have a lot of work ahead of me to get it published. The tasks seemed endless: review feedback, make updates to the manuscript, contact agents, contact independent publishers, keep my social media presence active and interesting, write emails to key people in the mental health world to introduce my work, and on, and on, and on…
I was also still recovering from a massive update to the Luther College website, the responsibility for which is my day job. While most people expressed great appreciation for the work we did and genuinely liked the new design, there were a handful of people who weren’t as pleased—for the most part rightly so. We have more work to do to get it just right.
On top of this, other—mostly enjoyable and important—commitments piled up and seemed suffocating. I literally felt a pressure in my chest and seemed incapable of tackling any remotely brain-intensive tasks (or even responding to emails from friends). I worried about being over-committed and not having enough space in my life to just be—and be available to my family.
I was allowing my fear of the long road ahead to paralyze me.
For a minute or two, I was ready to call the whole thing off. I was mad at myself for caring so much. Why couldn’t I just worry about the health and happiness of those closest to me and be done with it. Why did I have to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders?
So I went to yoga. And talked to my husband. Cried a little. And slowed down. Took a few deep breaths. And wrote down the things I really needed to get done the following day. Turns out, it was manageable.
Yes, I do need to get out of one or two additional commitments and continue to narrow my focus outside of work to my personal wellness, the wellness of my family, and promoting mental health in my community and through my writing.
And yes, it’s going to be a long road ahead—a bumpy road with many challenges and twists and turns along the way.
But if I take one day at a time, break the work down into manageable chunks, adhere to simple productivity best practices, accept support, and factor in relaxation time, I can do this.
I must do this. Because, as my husband said to me after reading it, the message in this book is so important. It must be widely promoted and widely read. It is my hope that it will change lots of lives—especially the lives of children and parents—for the better.