Reading is very difficult without spaces between the letters and reading a novel would be exhausting without white space in the margins. It seems unnecessary, but without the white space we can’t concentrate on the writing on the page.
Your life needs white space too.
White space is the part of your life that is an overflow. Dr. Richard A. Swenson in his book Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives calls this overflow “margin”. He defines margin as “the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits.”
When you are constantly stretching the limits of your life rather than living within them, you become exhausted and set yourself up for problems in all areas of your life.
Let’s look at some areas that need white space.
Financial- Do you have extra money in your bank account in the event of an emergency? Do you save money from each paycheck? (Guilty!) Are you living off credit cards?
Physical- Do you have extra space in your day for rest? Are you getting at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night? Do you have days that you stay at home rather than running errands or working? Do you exercise on a regular basis?
Emotional- Are you in a constant state of drama? Do you always have a crisis in your life or in the lives of those you are close too? Do you take regular breaks from your iPhone, BlackBerry, computer and other electronic devices?
Scheduling- Do you leave extra time when going to an appointment in the event of traffic? Do you schedule dates with your husband or friends? Do you spend individual time each week with each of your children? Do you go to bed at a time that allows you to get enough sleep?
Basic Necessities-Do you have extra food in your pantry and freezer? Do you have an emergency supply of water in case of a natural disaster? Do you have extra hairspray on hand in case you run out on your way to work?
The truth is that our resources are finite. We only have a certain amount of emotional energy that we can give out before becoming depleted. We have a limited about of money to use for the things we need. We have physical limits as well.
Take time now to examine where you are pushing the limits in your life and begin to get the white space that you need. Start saving a little each week. Take the weekend off from your typical duties and rest. Buy some extra canned goods this week. White space means being prepared so you can enjoy life rather than suffering from burn out.
Oh, and don’t forget the extra hairspray!
You may also enjoy The Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live Within Your Limits (Guidebook).
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©2010 The Peaceful Mom-No material on this website may be reprinted in any form without the express written consent of the author. Please note that this post is not intended as professional advice but simply the author’s personal opinion. You should seek professional advice if your circumstances require it.