When I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In years ago, I definitely was inspired. I made a conscious effort to Lean In to so many areas of my life.
- I volunteered for stretch projects at work.
- I joined the board of a charity.
- I volunteered at school.
- I took project management certification classes.
- I actively reached out to network with people.
- I made a major career change.
At the same time as doing all of this, I was also managing Reno Moms Blog, growing our network of writers and doing regular TV and radio show appearances to promote our content and events. I was recruiting new sponsors, writing posts, and even getting involved in advocating for education in local politics.
It was great. I loved it. I felt truly alive.
But lately, I’ve realized: I’m just plain tired.
I read the book Brilliant Burnout: How Successful, Driven Women Can Stay in the Game by Rewiring Their Bodies, Brains, and Hormones. After taking the self-diagnosing quizzes, I started to realize I had some significant hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, and auto-immune challenges from living in a constant state of stress.
I decided that it was time that I needed to Lean In to me. My health and happiness depended on it.
- I stopped volunteering.
- I turned down many lunch and coffee invitations.
- I even decided to turn over the management of Reno Moms Blog to my dear friends Lindsey Sanford and Mikalee Byerman. This online community has been a passion project of mine for years, but it’s time for fresh ideas and energy.
- I turned my focus to my mental and physical health and spending time with friends and family.
- I started doing a lot of yoga. Seriously. A lot.
- I began prioritizing time for sleep.
- I allowed myself time to voraciously read fiction books that take me away from reality and transfix me by immersing me in the imaginations of others.
- I made time for doctors appointments I had been procrastinating that will help me start on the path to recovery. (I’m really sad I’ve had two doctors say I have to give up dairy and wheat. I struggle with that every day!)
And you know what I’ve found? I’m definitely feeling less stressed, and healthier both mentally and physically. I’ve decided that Leaning In is good advice, but what you choose to Lean In to over the course of your life and raising children will change, and that’s OK.
In my 30s, I was leaning in a lot to motherhood and career.
But in my 40s, I’m making more time for me, which at this point in my life, is making me a better mom, friend, wife, and employee.
I’m sure there will come a time when I decide to get back into being more involved in the community, volunteering, and networking, but for now, I’m not going to guilt myself over what I’m not doing. What I Lean In to over the course of my life will ebb and flow, and as long as I believe I am true to my own life’s purpose, I embrace that for now, I’m stepping back from the rat race a bit.
I’m just taking a break.
And that’s perfectly OK.
It’s actually pretty awesome.
If you feel like you need to take a break, I encourage you to do so. We don’t have to have it all at one time. Over the course of a lifetime, we can have it all, but we just can’t have it all at once. Each day, month and year we can choose what we put our time into. I think it’s healthy. It’s working for me. Maybe it could work for you, too.