Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson Column: Give yourself a break today, you’ve accomplished more than you think

I was riding my bike the other morning feeling crummy about how tired I was and how fatigued my body was so early into the ride.

Why? I thought to myself. Why am I so tired? What the heck is wrong with me?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with me.

Absolutely nothing.

I had actually been sitting on a spin bike and it wasn’t just the morning, it was 5:30 in the morning and I was being led by my friend and favourite trainer Monni Savory who was on the other side of the Zoom call. It was most definitely not a leisurely ride in the park. No wonder I was tired.

What was wrong with me!? What was wrong with me was that I wasn’t giving myself enough credit.

Over the winter, the workout space I’ve carved out at home has shifted from the garage to the basement, where I can at least turn a heater on in the early mornings if I need to. That’s where I was on that morning because that’s where my spin bike lives.

Lining the walls on the way down to the basement, are the university degrees earned by me and my husband, along with some industry journalism awards we’ve received over the years.

It was an intentional choice for us to put our accolades on the way down to the basement. It’s the least used space in the house so we don’t have to descend the stairs and look at them very often, thus comparing what little we believe we’ve accomplished recently with how well we did in years past.

It’s fine if our guests that are headed down to the spare room see the awards and certificates and degrees once in a blue moon when they visit (which hasn’t happened in more than a year now thanks to COVID-19) but we didn’t want to have to see them all the time and be reminded how we haven’t earned anything lately.

What is wrong with us!? What is wrong with us is that we don’t give ourselves enough credit. That’s what.

The other day I stopped on the way downstairs to work out, and I looked at the walls. There were awards from our coverage of the big flood back in November of 2009, there were photography and writing awards from 2009, and more from 2010.

There are awards sitting in the stairwell that I haven’t even hung yet and honestly, I don’t even know what date they’re from.

There’ll be another frame to hang soon, as I’m working on another credential at school that’s nearing completion.

But, quite notably, to me anyway, there was nothing on the wall from 2011 to 2017.

Man, I thought to myself, we must have really sucked those years. Did we do NOTHING noteworthy for five entire years?

But then I got to thinking. That isn’t right at all. In fact, our most noteworthy accomplishments to date occurred during that span. Sure they weren’t work-related, but they were even more important:

We got married in 2013.

We had our first child in 2014.

We bought a house in 2015.

We had our second child in 2016.

The biggest awards of all time, I’d say. But you can’t hang those on a wall. The kids anyway, they’d be too wiggly.

What is wrong with me!? What is wrong with me is that I simply don’t give myself enough credit. I know that I’m far from the only one.

Why do we do that? Why do we downplay our achievements like that? It’s not just the big ones either. It’s all day, everyday life stuff. Why are we so hard on ourselves?

Earlier this week I was upset that I’d gotten nothing done so far in the day. I thought to myself, OK self, well if I can get three house-related chores done, three work-related things done and three self-related things done I can feel like I’ve done something with my day.

I tried to make a list: I’d already unloaded the dishwasher, so that was one. Oh. And I forgot I’d cleaned two toilets and started the laundry, which was now tumbling around in the drier. I’d vacuumed and made and cleaned up breakfast, packed a school lunch, got the kids fed, dressed, and one off to school. I’d checked my work email and started a story. I’d worked out and showered and dinner was planned, albeit not prepped.

It was only 11 a.m.

What was wrong with me!?

What was wrong with me was that I wasn’t giving myself enough credit.

Why, why, why, do we do this to ourselves? I know so many of us push and push and push to get things done and never feel truly accomplished. But have you ever really sat down and dissected what you’ve managed to get done in a day? In your life? It’s mind boggling. Life is stressful enough these days, especially during this worldwide pandemic. Let’s make a deal to be more gentle with ourselves. And hey, let’s be more gentle with one another, too. OK, except maybe my friend Monni, she can keep kicking my butt over Zoom. (No doubt, she’d be happy to kick yours too. Check her out at MonniSavoryFitness.com)

ColumnistComedy and Humour