Years ago, when I was a brand-new mother, I saw a book titled something along the lines of: Don’t Just Survive! Thrive!!!
This rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe I had endured a string of sleepless nights or maybe it was when I was going through my epic morning sickness while pregnant with Levi. Either way, I categorically disregarded that book based on the title alone. I was in survival mode and didn’t need any pressure to start “thriving”.
I’ve thought a lot about the concepts of thriving and surviving lately and realized that it’s often helpful for me to categorize my days in one of two ways.
Sometimes I open my eyes in the morning and want nothing more than to curl up under the covers and shrug off any and all responsibilities.
Other days I’m a powerhouse of productivity and energy.
Both days are perfectly natural states and deserve their own place. But it helps to set the stage for “success” when I label the day how I see it.
Can a Surive Day turn out spectacularly well? Absolutely. Can a Thrive Day end up getting torpedoed by an unexpected catastrophe? Been there, done that.
But on a survival day, I aim for different things. On survival days I know that taking the time to get out of my pajamas and put on a bit of mascara will make me feel so much better. On survival days I know that starting a load of laundry will make me feel like I’ve done something productive. On survival days I can try to prioritize only the most necessary work tasks and leave the hard e-mails or calls for another day. On survival days I know I don’t have to take the kids sledding or make homemade meals. They can have cereal for lunch and watch movies all day. Because it’s all about surviving.
For too many years I’ve tried to force Survive Days into a Thrive Day mold. And sure, sometimes I do well to push myself harder. But more often than not – for me at least – this backfires. Better to say my goal for today is just to Survive. To take care of the basic necessities and view anything else as a major win.
There will be days to Thrive. One of those days might come tomorrow. But today? Today I just get to survive…and that’s enough.
Your turn. Do you think you’d find it helpful to label a day as a Survival Day? Would it take some pressure off feeling a need to be productive?
Header photo by Denny Ryanto on Unsplash