I’ve been staring at my screen for ten minutes.

Staring. Staring. Staring.

What I want to do is take a nap. A long, slow, snore-infused trip to la-la-land. On my couch, in the middle of the day, mummified by the twenty-year-old blanket that should probably be burned but I can’t bear to part with. Maybe my old-lady dog would snooze on the floor next to me. Synchronized snoring.

Instead, I have a million “shoulds” bouncing around in my head, telling me I should write a blog post, run a few errands, catch up on those emails, make dinner, squeeze in a workout …

Work. I need to work. Not sleep. The pile on my desk is ecclipsing the surface. When I catch sight of it, I start to hyperventilate. Not literally. But I feel my heart jump, the pressure creeping up my spine to curl around my neck.

(A paper bag. Where is my paper bag?!)

The only way to find a measure of calm is get it all—ALL—done.


Not so much. After years of chasing my to-do list, I’ve learned (the hard way) that rest rarely waits on the other side of all my activity. Instead, more to-do’s. More shoulds and oughts and lists of things that demand my attention. It never ends. Never.

I’ve also learned (the hard way) that when I feel exhaustion drape me like a heavy blanket, I should probably take a nap. The body speaks to us, through the tense muscles and bleary eyes, signs that too often we plow through and ignore. It tells me that I need time, quiet, and space to recover and breathe. My body reminds me, again and again …

This is not the way to live. 

Sure, I have contracts to fulfill and promises to keep. I have projects that I’ve committed to and friends I promised to help. But the majority of my lists and have-to’s are things I’ve created. It’s a game I play in my head, where I fear disappointing people and failing and letting my family down. But the “letting down” that matters the most isn’t the uncrossed items on my list. It’s when I push myself so hard I’m not able to be plain ‘ole me anymore.

This is not the way to live. 

Earlier this week, I received Crystal Paine’s new book in the mail: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. Providential? Yes, I think so. Overcommitting and overworking and overstressing aren’t new to me. I’m a Type-A, first-born achiever. About every 4-6 months I find myself back in this swamped place, where I realize I’ve somehow given away all my margin. The good news is that over all these years of tough lessons, I’ve learned to recognize the warning signs before it turns into an all out breakdown.

So here I am again. Taking inventory of my life, deciding what needs to stay and what needs to go. And Crystal Paine is helping me along the way.

All that to say, I started this post on TUESDAY. It’s now FRIDAY. You know why?

I took a nap.

And the world didn’t stop spinning.

Friends, I know the powerful draw of “do-it-all” and “be-it-all.” I’ve been sucked into its vortex more times than I can count.

But life isn’t on the other side of your list. And making everyone happy isn’t even in the realm of possibility. Instead, live with intentionality. Wisdom. Discernment. Focus. The kind of life you and I dream of is found in knowing both your abilities and your limits, and how to enjoy each day in absolute respect of both.

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Today I’m giving away TWO AUTOGRAPHED COPIES of Crystal Paine’s life-changing book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment answering the question below and post a link on either Twitter or Facebook. (And don’t forget to check out Crystal’s wildly popular blog at www.MoneySavingMom.com!)

Are you in survival mode? How could Crystal’s new book help you find the life you really want? 

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