With May quickly upon us, it’s time to take another extreme self-care step. Do you control freak much? If so, this one might be the hardest month for you to follow. This is the month that we need to learn how to take our hands off the wheel. And it’s so hard to do.
I know. I lived it.
Ok. It’s a work in progress
Are you the person who complains that you have too much on your plate…but also find it hard to give something up? You know, because no one else will do it right? Do you…
- Ask someone else to take care of the dishes and then restack the dishes behind their back?
- Ask someone to clean the bathroom or dust and then redo their work?
- Find it hard to give up a mundane task at work because no one will do it as well as you would?
- Not give someone a mundane task because it would be quicker to do it yourself than to show someone else how to do it?
- Do you always complain about how busy you are, but never give up one of the items on your to-do list?
Look in the mirror. You are a control freak. And if you think that’s a good thing, then you’re wrong.
Being a control freak puts unnecessary stress on your body because you always feel pressed for time, you have a hard time relaxing or sleeping because you’re always worried about what needs to be done, and even pass up intimate time with your partner because you have other things to do? Are you the person who is working while at a family event or worse, do you miss out on a child’s recital or sporting event because you’re running errands or worse physically present, but mentally elsewhere?
Not only are we causing stress on ourselves, but we’re putting our most important relationships in danger by not trusting them with projects and by not being with them – not just physically but mentally and emotionally, too.
How We Can Break the Pattern
It’s important to remember that teaching other people, whether children or employees how to do things, not only empowers them but takes some of the burden off your shoulders.
Involving a partner in budgets, bill paying and family vacation planning is important. Not only does your partner get on the same page, but they’ll be able to handle things if you get seriously ill or die. Think about that. If you’re always in control of everything without sharing, how does someone else figure out what to do when you’re gone?
In The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Cheryl Richardson shares how to recognize signs that you need support: Are you chronically complaining about your burdens? Do you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders? Do you sometimes cry unexpectedly? Are you so tired that sometimes doing a simple task feels overwhelming?
It’s time to learn how to ask for help. Cheryl would leave a list out for her husband of things he could do to support her. Things, she was going to let go of and let him complete. Because she was a morning person and he was a night owl, he would work on the list after she’d gone to bed. By the time she got up in the morning, things were completed and she didn’t have to worry about them anymore.
In your calendar this month, we’ll start by creating a list of tasks both at home and at work that you are willing to “let go of” and allow someone else to complete. Things that you don’t really need to do yourself, but usually do as a way to to get it done quicker or “your way.”
Next you’ll identify someone to take over a couple of these things, but you won’t just assign the tasks. You will ask for help. You will tell them how to do it and you will also provide them guidance such as what should they do if they can’t meet the deadline, who should they reach out to for extra help, etc.
You’re goal is to ensure you set them up to succeed and not set them up for failure by not providing all the directions and guidance they need. Or by giving detail work to someone who isn’t really a detail person in order to “prove” to yourself that no one else can do the project as well as you can.
The best way to use the calendar is to read all of the items first. Find out where you might need to make plans in advance like making appointments. Anywhere that you are asked to read or watch something, click on the words to link to the item. Below is the calendar and here is a link to the May Calendar of Letting Go.