Declaration #3: Rejiggering the way you think about "Z"

Can you believe we've made it through the week? Our "X's" have been declared, our "Y's" have been stated - and we're still here to talk about it! Not too shabby, guys. I'm proud of you. And just to keep you motivated - let me report my weekly performance:

1) This post was finished before 10 pm last night.
2) I downed my second smoothie of the week on Thursday morning.
3) And since the day of my french fry declaration, I haven't had as much as a grain of salt from a fried potato.

I may, however, have bitten off more than I can chew (literally) in giving up french fries. Considering that I still have my "Z" to consider, I think it's advisable to focus on my blogging and smoothie goals first...rather than trying to rid the fries from my diet at the same time. It's just too much to work on at the same time. But never you worry - once I have my basic "X, Y and Z's" under my belt, and they've become a part of my routine - I'll turn my attention to the fry guys. I promise.

But for now, it's time to turn our sights to the "Z''s" in our life, and work on rejiggering the way we think about them. I'm talking about the misconceptions or misunderstandings we have about our life (with or without lupus) that cause us unnecessary stress or distress. Things that, based upon our stubborn, driven personalities, our perfectionists ways, or our unwillingness to rest when we need to, cause us to do more than we should, risking our health and wellness along the way. So to the "Z's" in our life, I say, "Good riddance..."

Here's my "Z" for the week, although I can assure you it was tough to choose just one:

From this day forward, when I receive an email that requires more than a quick, three or four-line response, I vow to try and send an interim email within 3 days that acknowledges that I've received the message and that I'll do my best to answer the email within 1 week.

Wow. That is really, really, really tough for me to do - to openly admit that I cannot tackle something the moment it falls on my plate, and to then give myself a window of time to get to it...allowing it to just sit my in-box...waiting to be answered. (Eek! Gasp! Ugh!)

But I'm willing to change the way I think about my email because it's more realistic, and it will keep me from worrying about my in box when I should be doing more important things, like napping.

Here's how this kind of thing usually goes: On a weekly basis, I receive more than a half a dozen emails from wonderful people around the world who have read my blog, my book, or both. These emails are the highlight of my day - I love connecting with people, who, just like me, are constantly striving to improve their life with lupus. Their emails are chock full of questions, comments, inquiries, or all of the above...and a quick response just won't do.

So I hold off on starting a response, because I want to give it the proper time and thought it deserves. Of course, finding time during the day to respond is tough - I may get 2 minutes here and 2 minutes there, but it's not enough time to complete my thoughts. By the time things settle down in my household, it's 10pm...but we all know what happens to me after 10pm. So I'm not able to respond immediately...and this happens day, after day, after day.

But here's my real hang up: I hold off on sending a quick note that says, "Hey - I got your email. I'll get back to you...", because I keep convincing myself that I really WILL get to it, always thinking that it will be sooner than it is. I don't want to admit that I need more time, or that I can't get to something right away, because in my mind, it's almost like admitting failure. I want to do everything "now", and struggle to admit that with two girls, an afternoon nap, and a good night's sleep to fit into my day, something has to give. I know it does...I just don't want to admit it.

So sending an interim email is my full admission that I'm human, that I can't do it all, and that that's okay.

It is, right?


Unknown said…
Yes!!! You are doing such important work...caring for and loving the sweet family God has blessed you with, caring for your own health and well-being. Be free! :) -Mary Kate
ruth said…
Hey Sara, the Z is a tough one! Do you find you become more driven & more of a perfectionist the more tired you become? I so do! When I get home from a morning at work & all I really need (& want) to do is get something to eat & crawl into bed, I find myself irked by my inabilty to do even the smallest task. God forbid there are any crumbs on the kitchen floor & laundry to to. As for emails, I won't even allow myself to turn on the computer these days, because if there is something that needs a reply I have just got to prove to myself that I can do it no matter how ehausted I am. So I am going to try oh so hard to ignore the crumbs, the laundry & anything else that goads me & just get on with napping.
Anonymous said…
This is off-topic (I hope nobody minds) but I was wondering if anyone here has read the book Moonface. I just came across a terrible review (if you can call it that) in the Washington Post, and am really riled up about the way some people (like the reviewer) think they get to judge others' lives and decisions. I have a serious chronic medical condition/conditions and have a hard enough time as it is dealing with judgemental, uncaring people at work. And friends who don't understand and stop calling and refuse to listen. I am not even dating anyone, let alone contemplating marriage and children - I can't imagine how difficult and painful it would be to deal with people who think they have a right to label a woman with a medical condition who decides to have a baby as immature, selfish, and greedy. Regardless of the circumstances, it's not right to judge!
Here's the article (thankfully, several readers have submitted much more thoughtful comments - I was heartened to read those):
Sadaf Shaikh said…
I haven't been on here in a long while. Your recent X, Y, Z posts have given me something to think about, though. I know for a fact that one of the main triggers of flares, in my case, is stress. I'm a control freak and anytime things don't go according to plan, I stress. Prolonged periods of stress cause flares.

Since my last flare back in Aug 2009, I have been working hard towards ensuring I eliminate sources of stress. I rest (9 hrs of sleep a night, plus an extra afternoon nap on the weekends). I have learned not to procrastinate (a major stressor for me). I changed my general attitude that life cannot always be planned. I still have one big one that I've been struggling with, though.

I need to be more patient with my son. I yell at him far too much, I don't listen enough, and it does cause the both of us undue stress. So, my X, Y and Z will centre around this:

I will stop yelling at him (my X).

I will ask (and listen) about his feelings because, at age 6, he's old enough to express himself quite eloquently (my Y).

I will let the little things slide. It's not catastrophic if he doesn't finish his lunch, or if he takes an extra 15 mins to complete his bedtime routine.

With baby #2 only 6 weeks away, I need to get my current situation as well-managed as possible. Thanks for these posts :)
Sara Gorman said…
Ruth - Thanks so much for sharing. You definitely have to look past those crumbs...I will if you will!

Sadaf - Thanks so much for sharing. Gives me inspiration to keep at my x,y, and z's, too! Hope you're well!

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