This summer I worked with a wellness coach for ten weeks. The key thing that I learned is that it’s okay to do only as much as I can and not beat myself over the head because I can’t do all that I should or would like to do. Sounds simple, but it was a very important lesson during the launch of my second novel BIG MOUTH in July. I had so many promo ideas, and I even drafted a few articles about competitive eating to try to get published, but I just did not have the time to follow through on the majority of those ideas. I did what I could, doing a hot dog photo shoot and designing my own Big Mouth website and a separate merchandise store for it and starting the “Me and My Big Mouth” blog series. While I ran out of daylight hours to implement the local media blitz I’d dreamed of, my publicist at Random House was able to set up some great radio and newspaper interviews, and I had some book signings. Yeah, I did what I could.
Some writer friends asked me why I didn’t send out mass mailings and do more school visits and hire a private publicist. Those writers have plans for their projects that are far grander than my BIG MOUTH efforts. The truth is, there are limits to my time and my finances; it’s just not the time in my life to do “grand.” My wellness coach helped me to be okay with that.
Even as I launched BIG MOUTH, I was scrambling to cover all my other bases. I planned with my husband a one-year move to another country with triplets, and the paperwork alone for that was exhausting. I also got back into working out every morning, which is my true release. And I started logging a few more zzz’s by booking a couple of “go to bed by 10 o’clock” nights each week, although mostly I’ve had to accept that I’m not going to feel completely well slept for a while. Maybe when my sons go to school in a couple of years and I can do my work in daylight hours? Some nights I just have to stay up; my writing and freelance editing gigs are night jobs. Most importantly, somewhere along the way I held onto the bucking bronco that is raising three-year-old triplets. That alone is a feat. And while I’m not perfect at it, that’s where I put most of my efforts, into being a more patient mother to these little critters. That’s one area where I’m not willing to say good enough is good enough. With my boys, I will continue to strive for my own perfection as a mother and kick myself when I inevitably fail to be perfect. That’s something I’ve come to accept as well.
I consider my summer Wellness experiment a success. Even as I head toward winter I continue to feel less stressed because I’ve recognized that I must put my work-outs ahead of my work, even if it means I get less work done. My health and mental well-being are important to my patience with my sons, and so my work-outs became my number one priority this summer. That ranking surprised me, let me tell you. Ahead of my boys? Ahead of my husband? Ahead of my work? Gads! But in a sense, putting me first in one small area of my life actually put my sons first in the overall scheme. The trick is, instead of planning grand gym workout sessions that relied on too many factors going right each day, I grab daily opportunities to the walk to the market or to dip out to my backyard with a jump rope. Holding out for the “ideal” gym work-out session meant I wasn’t working out at all, and I was floundering as a result. Now I squeeze in workouts almost every day, and I’m a happier person for it. Adrenaline can do that to a girl.
The other big discovery my wellness coach led me to was recognizing how much I adore crossing out items on a list. Maybe I should call that a re-discovery, actually, as I’d long known how important task lists were to me. But when I left my office job to raise my triplets, I didn’t think I needed my Franklin Planner anymore and threw it away. I figured a tiny appointment book that I could stick in my pocket and bring to doctor’s appointments would do me just fine. But in dropping Franklin, I dropped my To Do lists totally and essentially lost my rudder. Again, it may seem a small change, but re-introducing a planner has had huge consequences for me. I researched many less intense planner systems and ultimately designed my own spreadsheet task list. Now I am focused as well as exercised. It’s a good combination.
Last week my wellness coach, Leigh-Ann Webster, formally launched her business, HealthWise Women. I highly recommend her to anyone interested in doing your own Wellness Experiment. She’s a lovely, funny, supportive person, and she works with her clients via email and phone, so you don’t need to share her zip code. Plus, she’s worked with the mom of three-year-old triplets . . .
Nothing can faze her now.
Check out Leigh-Ann’s website at www.HealthWiseWomen.com.