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Wearing out my Sponges

I have OCD. I realize that it’s no joking matter and so please know that when I say I have OCD, I’m not just saying that I like to stay organized. I have struggled with compulsions of varying types and severities throughout my life. In my current life season, my OCD shows up as anxiety management in the form of obsessive cleaning. When I get overwhelmed or overstressed, I start to freakishly clean. I mean ‘freakishly’ because this past summer when I came home from a business trip to a long list of overdue tasks, I very honestly threatened to demolish my bathroom. The drawers weren’t closing right on the vanity. It was sticky and the paint was chipping. If my husband had not caught me on the way out the door for the sledge hammer, I don’t know what could have happened that day.

I kid. Kind of.

I am an achiever. I am a three on the enneagram if that means anything to you. I strive to hit high goals. Although I wasn’t always so bold, the more I accomplish in my life the braver I tend to be. This is great except for the fact that my ambition is NOT equally matched with grace. I can be incredibly demanding of myself.

What I’ve come to realize is when I start to wear out my cleaning sponges, it’s time for some reflection and some relaxation. Do you ever give yourself permission to take a down day?

As an entrepreneur who works from home, I can work as much as I like. Sometimes that’s too much and sometimes it’s too little. Consistency is key, and it’s hard to master. I don’t believe in balance. I think that in order to achieve long-term goals, you’ve got to find the beautiful rhythm of taking life by the horns and giving yourself grace both when you push too hard and when you fall just shy.

Take it from a control freak who likes to tackle long to-do lists: The best thing you can do for your long game is to give yourself grace in the short game!

When you start to max out on the overwhelm scale, it’s high time to unplug. For me, that looks like a movie night with my kids, or something as simple as a bath and a book. It looks like watching Grey’s Anatomy and giving myself permission to not get it all done. This is hard for me, but it’s necessary if I’m going to continue towards my biggest goals. Lack of grace creates fatigue and let’s be honest, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

I’m a work in progress. I’m still learning how to stay focused and chase down my goals, while keeping myself from coming apart at the compulsive seams. It can’t be all or nothing. It does have to be a little bit of both.

Written By Wendy Cunningham

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