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Learning to listen to yourself

Through daily society noise, we women hear many voices telling us we should be doing better, doing more, or doing “it all.” Learning to listen to our own voice, and express it appropriately to create change, are vital skills to helping us better navigate and enjoy daily life.

Change the pace. Life moves fast, which means we are neck deep in it before we can recognize it’s too much. And while many things are must-dos, we can attempt a slower pace in the doing. When I visited France earlier this year, I was impressed by the mellow pace of the French countryside. Returning home, I couldn’t duplicate it, but I did notice that as I conserved my energy while doing busy things, I didn’t get as ramped up or ultimately exhausted. Instead of quickly unloading the washer, I merely unloaded it. Instead of hurrying to the next errand, I paused while putting my son in the car seat, and gave him a kiss and a smile.

These seconds seem inconsequential, but they truly made a difference in my overall mood and energy. Yet again I realized this important truth: there is no sticker for going quicker.

Validate a need. Often women wait for permission or for someone to notice that they're exhausted or need some joy. But in taking responsibility for our needs, we can address what isn’t working right now, then focus on a solution.

One of my good friends, Ingrid, who is a mother of nine, felt at one point she needed a personal boost. She signed up for a ballet class two days a week, and regained a bounce in her step (no pun intended). Even though she said the choreography to attend the class was a wonder to behold, it was worth the “smile that stayed on my face the whole day.”

Set a boundary. When we’re not listening to the messages from our body and soul, we can become unbalanced, which often means it’s time to set a new boundary. Religious leader Julie B. Beck shared that her father’s work required him to do one of three shifts. Later in life, when Julie Beck was a mother, she realized at one point she was working all three shifts. Instead, women can set boundaries on their time and energy during one of the shifts to save more for a later one when it’s crucial to be “on your game.” That might mean cutting out a project or a favorite community position for a season.

Ask for help. Women can have a hard time asking for help because they feel they should be able to take care of all that’s on their plate by themselves. But we can recognize that our situation changes, and that involving others means creating connection and opportunities with and for them too. Over the past few months our baby had ear infections and wasn’t sleeping well, which meant I was up many, many times a night. Thankfully, my husband took over the early shift, getting up with the first wave of kids going to school, ensuring they had breakfast, a hug and a prayer. I was able to sleep an extra hour and then take care of the second wave. Having that daily help allowed me to rest and gain energy that was needed for later.

As we listen to intuitive messages, we can evaluate our lives and look for ways to change the “norm.” Whether it's validate a need, set a boundary, or ask for help, we can adjust our life skills to match our situation right now.

Connie Sokol is an author, presenter, TV contributor and mother of seven. Contact her at www.conniesokol.com.