Health Becoming My Full-Time Job
As of the beginning of October, I have a new full time job: my health.
Deciding to make health my number one priority wasn’t a simple process. There was a lot of prayer, hours upon hours of conversation with close family and friends, and a whole lot of encouragement from people who told me it was okay before I believed it myself.
Even when it became clear it was the right decision, it was still difficult to execute. Maybe you’ve faced a similar situation? If so, my hope is that sharing my story encourages you.
Over the past few years, life’s priorities steadily shifted as I began navigating a continually evolving new normal. More than anything, I felt led to make the most out of this season of life. So I started asking myself these questions on a regular basis:
How can I grow from this experience?
What should I be learning?
How can I serve others through my experience so theirs might look different?
What do I want now versus what do I desire long term?
Eventually, I came to this realization: I was doing a lot in life, but I wasn’t doing any of it well. And with that realization, I knew I had a decision to make. What was clear was that my health wasn’t in the place I wanted it to be. But doing more of one thing always led to a sacrifice somewhere else in life. So I focused on one of my questions:
What is more important: what you want right now or what you want in the long run?
What I wanted was to get healthy. To do that, I needed to prioritize my health in the short term to set myself up for long-term success. Without the time or energy available to simply do more to make it happen, I knew something had to give.
It was time to make a decision. Ultimately, I knew I needed to reduce my workload. I weighed the decision to go to more of a part-time schedule (I was at 32 hours per week), but knew to truly commit to my health and wellness (and be fair to my coworkers), I needed to completely unplug – at least for a little while – so I could rejuvenate.
Recognizing the Blessing
I want to take a second to pause and say that I fully recognize what a blessing it is to be able to make a decision like this one. It’s not something I take lightly and hope to never take for granted.
During the decision making period, I struggled with so many questions:
Is this the right thing to do?
Is it selfish to take this time off of work?
What will other people think about this decision?
Am I going to be insanely bored and regret this decision entirely?
In general, I have a difficult time making decisions. Recently, through studying the Enneagram, I’ve learned it’s a struggle for me in part because of the way I’m wired. That doesn’t mean I get to use it as an excuse, but, making decisions – big or small – requires effort on my end.
For a long time, I really wrestled with my answers to the questions above.
I had to release the fear of others not understanding my choice as well as the need to make other people happy.
This reminder from my husband always left me in the right headspace: It’s your life and the only person who has to live with the decision is you. (And him, of course.) Thankfully, through prayer and the guidance of wise friends and family, I landed in a place knowing in my heart that I was on the right path.
Sharing the News
Here’s the thing: all the worry and fear did me no good. But this is only easy to say in retrospect. As I began to share the news, people showered me with love and support. They were happy I was doing this for myself. So, as it turned out, the only person I really had to convince was myself.
What have I learned since making this decision? When decisions are made in the context of prayer and community, you can’t go wrong. I certainly didn’t recognize this immediately, but as new decisions need to be made, I feel more at ease.
Adjusting to My New Job
The first few weeks in my new full-time, health-focused role brought me back to the things that mean the most to me in life, and added balance to some of the more difficult parts. From the ability to meal plan and prep to ensure the food going into my body was supporting me, to being sore from using my braces optimally, to enjoying time with family and friends, it was and continues to be refreshing for my soul.
My “plan” was to take three months off. We have now far surpassed that random timeline I assigned, but I know I’m still doing what I need to be doing. While the unknowns of the future intimidate me periodically, I’m focused on making the most out of this time.