I’ve been trying hard to get my businesses ready to go for September, spending all of my personal time working on it. It’s value-based and extremely inline with my goal of creating the life I want to live. Yet, it’s still work. Still pressure. It’s time that I’m not spending meditating, hiking, dancing, or writing (as I’m sure some of you have noticed).
By putting all of my efforts into making my dreams come true, trying to become the me I want to be, I’ve somehow also lost myself.
Designating all time not at my 9-5 as potential “business time”, I’ve been in the constant state of “on”. Not only is it draining me personally, it’s becoming inefficient and unproductive on the business side of things too.
Revving up to be a full time entrepreneur and I’m already learning valuable lessons about this lifestyle. Things I thought I already knew, but apparently didn’t “know” on that deeper, personal, “I’ve lived it and truly get it” level. I have come to realize that I need to schedule “off” time (and specific “on” time too- but for now as my only business time relies on “after-work” hours, I’ll be doing well to at least give myself dedicated nights off).
The problem is when I leave it to “I’ll work away at it on evenings and weekends” it’s ALWAYS something I’m supposed to be doing. By making it clearer when I’m ‘on’ and ‘off’ I’m hoping it will give me time to take care of myself, lessen the overwhelming feeling and heaviness I’ve been carrying, and make me more productive with business stuff.
But first, back to me. Self-care overhaul. After reflecting on just how shitty I was feeling and how exhausted, overwhelmed, and frustratingly unproductive I was becoming, I realized I needed to do something – now. I realized how much I had abandoned some of my values in the name of building an even more value-based life. It’s funny to me when I look at this and see what I was doing. I wonder how I ever thought that it would be possible to get there by neglecting self-care. Of course, on the day to day it felt much more innocent. What’s the big deal with deciding to work on your website for an afternoon, instead of meditating or hiking? My website, after all, is value-based.
This is the danger of not taking the time to reflect. Because, even for people who strongly believe (as I do) that self care is the foundation for everything else, it’s difficult to see it fade in the moment. I mean, of course we wouldn’t neglect such a vital part of our beliefs! It’s difficult to understand the true impact of those “just missing one day” thoughts when we don’t listen for the feedback, or pay attention to how many of those thoughts and choices add up before they turn into neglect.
I have found this failure to see the importance of reflection especially true at times when the winner of our choices is another value-based activity. I may have been neglecting my down time and self-care activities, but I still felt like I was living in a very intentional, value-based, way. It may be easy to identify that we need to shift our gears when our time is being spent binge-watching tv, but when we are busy creating businesses we love, training for a marathon, or being there for someone we love, it’s harder to see that something is off-kilter.
This experience, along with my Life Coach reflex, has convinced me that the most important thing we can protect is time to reflect. When things feel bad and when things feel good. Time for reflection brings more awareness to any feedback that our minds or bodies are giving us. Regular check in’s with ourselves can help us identify areas that we need to focus on, before we get to our breaking point. A few questions I like to ask myself when reflecting are..
- How has my body been feeling? What do I think has contributed to this?
- How is my state of mind? Am I being overly negative or irritable? Am I calm or experiencing a lot of anxiety and fear-based thoughts?
- What am I yearning for?
- What do I feel deprived of?
- Reflecting on how I’ve spent my time, what needs am I meeting and which ones am I not?
- Are there any actions that need to happen? Am I ready to move forward with them? If not, can I try to bring my attention to how it’s making me feel, and be willing to sit in the uncomfortableness?
Now, I wish I could tell you I had regular check-in time scheduled and that this is how I realized I needed to refocus on self care and give myself a break from constantly working. But it didn’t go down like that. After a couple weeks of truly feeling shitty physically, living in a state of heightened anxiety, and becoming more and more agitated and frustrated with my lack of energy and productivity, I finally realized I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing.
That being said, I will say that the increased awareness I have developed about how it feels when I’m ‘feeling off’ did help me get there quicker. The biggest clue for me is when I get increasingly afraid of sickness, for no apparent reason (It’s not like I was around someone with Norovirus). I now know that when my brain constantly plays all of the times I’ve been sick, or witnessed others being sick on a constant loop (even in my dreams), I am not in a good state of mind. It’s my telltale sign for being stressed out. I used to think it was just the way it was (because I was always stressed out), but I have found that this doesn’t happen when I’m feeling strong and healthy. So now this distressing occurrence is my wake up call that I need to do something. And I owe this insight to lots of intentional reflection. Do you know what your telltale signs are?
It might not always be comfortable to reflect on things, especially when you aren’t feeling the best, but the price of not reflecting is much higher. Needless to say, another lesson I’m taking out of this experience is to literally schedule reflection time in my agenda. And I’m going to try my damndest not to blow it off. 😛
The last week of July was my breaking point. I got uncomfortable and frustrated enough to wake up and focus on what I could do to change things. Enter the August Challenge! I decided my self-care overhaul was going to be in the form of a healthy challenge I would create for myself (Did I mention I was a Life Coach? 😛). The challenge consists of meditating daily, drinking healthy smoothies and more water, yoga, walking, doing an abs/squats and arms challenge, eating less junk, and practicing gratitude.
Did I feel like doing these things? Fuck no. I felt like hiding in my bed and continuing to eat chips and complain about feeling fat. But I knew that wasn’t an option if I wanted to feel better. Once you know something you can’t unlearn it, so I knew I had to act before I would feel better, I couldn’t wait to feel like doing those things. And if you haven’t heard that before, consider yourself taught (You’re welcome, and I’m sorry.)
It’s been a week and I feel so much better already. I feel more grounded, healthier, stronger, more like myself again. My best self. The benefits of this extend beyond a calmer mind and tighter ass, I actually feel more inspired, creative, and determined. Hence this blog post.
I have a renewed sense of possibility and commitment to myself, my values, and my dreams. And if that wasn’t enough, I have actually been more productive and more inspired to develop my businesses.
Clearly focusing on self care and giving myself time to be me, isn’t a diversion from work, it is the path to creating the business (and life) I want.
Turns out the best way to spread my wings is by staying grounded, who would have thought?