How to Get Off the Treadmill and Enjoy Your Life Again

A lot of the recurring fights that Ken and I have revolve around the myriad obligations that come with our married-with-children life. Between work, the kids, the house and now a new puppy, there’s just so much to be done. Many days, it’s hard to keep up, and what often ends up slipping is our self-care.

But here’s the thing: when our self-care slips, things just get yuckier in our house, not to mention our relationship. We get stuck on that seemingly-endless treadmill—breakfast, take the kids to school, work, pick up the kids, after-school kids activities, homework, make dinner, wash the dishes, go to bed, wake up and do it again—but without the emotional and physical resources we need to make it through. And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of surviving, folks. I’m ready to thrive, people. I want to enjoy my life day in and day out, not just on the weekends or when I happen to have a spare hour to myself.

That’s why self-care is so important. It enables us to fill our well so that we have the emotional, mental and physical resilience to not only get through our day, but (gasp) actually enjoy it. It’s the difference between snapping at my kids to finish their dinner (like I did last night after working too late and walking away from my computer with one remaining synapsis intact) and taking that extra 30 seconds to really slow down and transition to the current moment so that I could see my family and enjoy my interactions with them.

But there’s another reason self-care is so important, and it’s a big one. When we don’t give our mind, body and soul the basic care they need, we hit the wall. Hard. So hard that we end up in rebellion or revolt. Meaning we end up feeling like we have to drastically change our lives.

Here’s what that looks like:

  • My life sucks. I wish I could run away and join the circus.
  • Everyone is driving me nuts! I wish I could just move to a farm in the middle of nowhere, where everyone would. Just. Leave. Me. Alone.
  • I need to divorce my spouse.
  • I need to quit my job and go back to school.

We know something big is out of whack, but we don’t know what and we sure as hell don’t know how to fix it. So we go for the big picture, the most obvious thing we can think of. It has to change, we think.

Something has to give.

But that big, drastic change isn’t usually what we need at all.

What we really need is in the details—and it often revolves around the level of self-care that we’ve been giving ourselves. Because the littlest stuff in our lives can make the biggest difference.

Like taking time to meet your friends once a week instead of watching that same damn TV show (the one you don’t even like). Or maybe it’s unplugging and reading a book so that your introverted self can recharge. Or going for a walk around the block instead of checking your phone for the umpteenth time. Taking a deep breath instead of diving into that carton of ice cream. Eating yummy, nourishing food that makes you feel good instead of sucking down that giant bag of Doritos. Not answering your work emails on nights or weekends.

And when I say self-care, I mean self-care in the most basic sense. I’m talking about the stuff you have to do to keep yourself healthy and happy on a daily basis, like taking a shower or brushing your teeth. I’m not talking about getting a massage every week or spending $350 on a pair of boots because you “deserve” it. (That’s just another way we get trapped.)

For me, that level of self-care means writing, meditating and dancing on a regular basis. Plus having enough alone time so that my introverted self can recharge. Being outside in nature is also a biggie.

What does your basic self-care look like for you?

Maybe it’s going for a hike, or being by the water. Connecting with a beloved friend. Painting something just for fun. Or cooking your favorite dish. Drinking a yummy cup of coffee. Listening to your favorite band. Playing guitar imperfectly, like my friend Cameron. 

Or maybe it’s going to see a band every few weeks or so. Supporting your extroverted self by meeting friends for lunch instead of sitting in your home office, alone. Taking the time to get to know your neighbors. Or maybe it’s taking the time to get to know yourself.

Whatever it is, it’s important. When we don’t take care of our basic self-care needs, our lives start to swirl out of control. And when that happens, we tend to start blaming everyone and everything around us. (Argument with your spouse or child? Check. Pissed off at your coworker? Check.)

30 Day YES ChallengeThat’s why I’m so excited to let you know about a new course I’m leading called the 30 Day YES Challenge. The challenge is 30 days worth of daily prompts and supported discussions that I created in December after realizing how rarely I ever said YES anymore to anything new or challenging or fun (!) in my life. It was also a way to help me get back on track with my own self-care. But I didn’t want to do it alone, so I put out a call to my Facebook friends asking who else was interested, and 47 of us ending up spending the next 30 days challenging ourselves to say YES to more of what really mattered in our lives. And it was a blast!

For some folks, that 30 Day Challenge meant saying YES to their children by being more present. For others, it meant saying YES to themselves. One woman used it to start painting again. Another, to challenge himself to live more fully. One friend wanted to open up to life again after suffering multiple losses. Another wanted to pursue new business opportunities.

I did it because I wanted to have more fun in my life. After having spent the past few years hunkered down writing my grief memoir, I was ready to stretch again (which is probably how we ended up with a new puppy on Christmas Eve!).

But the thing that connected all of us was that we were following our own YES. Excavating and clarifying what was right for us. Not what someone else wanted for us, but what we wanted for ourselves.

It was powerful, friends.

And now I’m ready to do it again. Wanna join me?

The new 30 Day YES Challenge starts on Wednesday, March 15th, and includes 30 days of prompts, discussion threads and community support to help you say YES to whatever YES means to you.

And it’s only $30. Yup, that’s $1/day. I’m trying to make this as fun and as easy as possible, folks, because I think we could all use a little extra possibility in our lives. I know I could. And this is a discounted program because it’s a pilot. So what do you say? Would you like to join us? Is there some aspect of your life that you’d like to start saying YES to?

If so, please join us! We’ll have a safe, supportive community in a private, easy-to-use forum (not Facebook), and I’ll send out daily prompts and discussion threads for each of the 30 days—delivered straight to your inbox. Plus I’ll be there to cheer you on every step of the way! But there won’t be any advice. Nope, no advice. Just support as well as different ideas for ways to bring more YES into your life. Cause you know what you need, not me. I’m just here to support you.

If this resonates with you, I hope you’ll consider joining us. The 30 Day YES Challenge is fun, it’s easy and it’s cheap. There’s absolutely no pressure, and there’s nothing to lose.

If you’re ready to join us, you can register here, or else you can cut and paste the following link into your browser:

And you can always email me at if you have any questions, or just hit “reply” to this email.

As always, lots of love, folks. Cause we all need it!


I would love to hear what self-care means to you. Leave a comment below and I’ll enter you into a drawing to win a FREE membership in our 30 Day YES Challenge! 

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