The importance of infrastructure
When worry takes over, step back and care for yourself
This previously unpublished post was written five years ago. It is the reminder I need right now. Perhaps, you too.
When you are self-employed there is less of a framework in place. No one is paying me vacation time, I’m not accruing sick leave, and if I’m physically not able to work everything grinds to a halt! I’m perfectly willing to live with this, because there are so many benefits from being self-employed that I really enjoy.
Indeed, I feel fortunate that after all these years I have a relatively steady group of clients. Actually, they are beyond simply my clients, I consider them my friends, family and community. We’ve been through a lot together, and I hope my presence in their lives has buoyed them as much as their presence in my life has enriched me.
But as we all know, life will always present some twists and turns when you least expect it. One aspect of my work that I don’t count on is a steady schedule because I’ve learned over the years that it will never be constant. Just when I think that I’m pretty busy and my schedule might almost be too full, something will happen to remind me otherwise. A client leaves town for the winter, someone gets really sick, another client takes a break, someone else cuts back on sessions, and it all happens at the same time! Next thing I know I’m sitting here thinking “Oh my god, I need more clients!” This happens periodically.
Back when my husband Dan was alive and we were responsible for the overhead on a 3,000 sq foot training facility and filling it with athletes, clients and members who would come and go; renting space to other trainers who would come and go; also dealing with cancer (which never seemed to go only come); I would panic in the inevitable downturns like these. I am no stranger to worry.
But Dan would always say, “Infrastructure, babe! Focus on your infrastructure.”
So that’s what I finally learned to do.
And that’s what I try to continue doing.
It goes without saying that exercise falls into the never-stop-doing-especially-when-you-are-stressed-out category. But there’s something very powerful about caring for your infrastructure. By infrastructure, Dan meant your surroundings, your living space, the very existence in which you reside every single day. Turning your attention to those tasks that we usually perceive as mundane and “have to do” is surprisingly very grounding and calming when everything else seems overwhelming.
So, when I find that worry is crowding out all else, I still heed Dan’s advice by turning my attention to my surroundings. Tidy up the kitchen. Clean the house. Organize the office. Donate some stuff to Goodwill. Work in the yard. Tackle a home improvement project. Deep clean. Iron that months-old stack of clothing. Make a nice meal.
In a life that so often seems out of control, there’s always some small aspect we can control. Oftentimes we’re so busy taking care of everything and everyone else that we forget about ourselves. You are worth that time, energy and care that you are putting into yourself. Ultimately, there is no one that can take better care of yourself than YOU.
And eventually, as it always happens, things pick up and life continues on.
“Infrastructure, babe. Infrastructure.”
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