Do you feel exhausted at the end of the day, dashing from work to handle domestic tasks or personal business? Are your weekends absorbed in laundry, paying bills, running errands, cleaning house (or leaving it a mess!), cooking meals, and shuttling your kids here, there and everywhere?
Are you in-over-your-head running your own business or involved in a creative project and do not have the advanced skills of navigating social media, website development, database organization and other technological and organizing challenges now required?
Does the pressure and stress result in irritability and anger towards those you love? Or are you simply depressed as life has lost its glow and you feel stuck at an impasse.
As we enter the New Year, let us ponder the way we choose to live and examine what we might change to arrive at a greater felt-sense of happiness and wellbeing. I offer you a perspective that has been researched and found to have a significant effect on raising your level of happiness. The article below asks the question: “Do you spend money to save time or spend time to save money?”
I have had this topic on my horizon since I first read: Want to Be Happy? Buy More Takeout and Hire a Maid, Study Suggests, in the N.Y. Times. It is an idea I often suggest in my therapy sessions as I observe many of my patients not valuing their time and not valuing how they truly wish to manifest the Self. Rather, they are caught-up in distractions, time-consuming tasks, or the “busyness defense” that is not satisfying.
There are many essential tasks required to conduct our lives in a functional way: cleaning, cooking, shopping, running errands, bills to be paid, emails to pour through – all on a daily basis—not to mention longer term projects such as cleaning-out closets, drawers, or the refrigerator (Wow! That smells!). Decluttering is often recommended to establish order and a more peaceful quality at home. These domestic tasks and projects can fill-up a life providing little room for meaning, intimacy, and true happiness.
Some domestic tasks are quite rewarding: to plan and create a luscious meal that you share with your spouse, friends, and family is a fulfilling activity rather than a laborious task for some. The mindfulness of cleaning (at times) can be relaxing and a balance when you have been on the computer or doing other mental tasks. Sorting clothes, files, and parsing out what you need and don’t need can be a cleansing act and a relief to lighten your load. Planning a vacation can be a delightful exercise often as meaningful and fun as the trip itself. These chosen activities create spaciousness and relief.
The issue here is chosen, although I understand that to survive we must do tasks that fall under the category of “grunt work”; yet I offer you a way out that works. Get Help! Lighten Your Load!
This article and its research conclusions show that giving your self time creates more happiness than spending money on material goods. It demonstrates that delegating tasks you dread may reduce stress and allow you freedom to do the things that you consider meaningful. Also, it frees up quality time for your relationships.
Well then, why don’t we get the help we need?
One feeling I notice when I work this issue with patients is guilt emanating from an anachronistic belief system that convinces us we should do it ourselves for a variety of irrelevant reasons thus thwarting the idea of delegating tasks to others. As the article mentions: the idea that we must be self-sufficient, “do everything ourselves” (No we can’t pay someone to do what we can do” – and do better?)
There are trust issues: “No I can’t let someone know how much money I have, they may steal from me”. There are self-worth challenges: “I am not worthy enough to have help, I can endure, it is what I deserve”. Or we believe we can’t afford it; yet we are spending money on extraneous things because we desperately want to feed ourselves something. There are many “neurotic” reasons we balk at getting support and freeing up time.
As I mentioned, busyness is a defense emanating from our fear of coming out into the world and being seen. One can prioritize compulsive tasks as a way hide from challenge. One can live for others, including family, to annihilate Self and hide one’s feelings of inadequacy by serving others. We can comply with our significant other’s “needs” because we feel anxious to disappoint if we differentiate.
What do I mean by coming out? To come forward with what we enjoy doing, what we always wanted to succeed in: riding horses, writing poetry, going on a retreat, training in a new career, volunteering or running for office. What is important and meaningful for you to engage with?
I am suggesting you free-up your time and energy. Take your laundry to the wash and fold, buy take-out meals some of the time or sign-up for one of the food services that offer delicious meal ingredients and recipes in a box delivered to your door. Find a personal assistant either for administrative help or housekeeping functions (some do both). He or she can help you with all kinds of tasks, paperwork, technological challenges, do errands, grocery shop and laundry — free you from bondage. Hire a bookkeeper, a housecleaner — create a community that supports you.
Do you deserve it? Yes! Can you afford it? Yes! Because, as you free-up time and energy, your ability to earn is enhanced; your creativity can blossom, your rest and relaxation increases and that gives you more spaciousness to manifest. Your stress level drops and your satisfaction increases. If you feel resistant to this idea, study your reactions, your beliefs, and observe. What do you learn? Please comment on my blog site.
Challenge yourself to move past your resistance and feel your life change before your eyes.