Updated: Feb 8, 2020
These past few months I haven't been writing as much as I used to. The honest truth is, I've been suffering from major writer's block! And I've decided not to force it.
Sometimes we all need just to let things "be" and take a break. I learned that lesson this past summer when I hit an internal wall with myself and realized I was suffering from major burnout. As a high achiever, and I know you can relate, sometimes we're so focused on our goals that we become like a machine. So focused on the output, on delivering, on getting it all done.
But we're not machines. And my wake-up call was when my body was screaming at me! My chronic back pain hit an all-time high. I was also super stressed and on edge. And it was a sign to look at my priorities and make some shifts.
So I did. And one of those shifts, which was tough for me to get used to, was just to be. To go with the flow.
If you know me personally, I rarely just go with the flow. I'm a planner, a doer, and busy-body. And I typically only reserve going with the flow for those times when it's expected, like on the occasional Saturday when I have no plans (a rarity!). or when I'm at a beach in the Caribbean for a vacation with a pina colada in hand. But otherwise, there's not much going with the flow for me.
Until I made a decision to do that back in the summer, and accept that it would look and feel different and that I wasn't any less of myself for it.
So that's what I've been doing these past months. I've been going with the flow, a new flow, which includes more time focused on my health, and fewer demands on myself to "produce."
And the results have been solid. My back pain has dwindled significantly, my stress levels have lowered, and I feel more balanced.
Could you get some of this flow of just being into your life? If so, here are a few ways I was able to get to this place of more harmony inside and out:
1. Ask yourself: Will this matter in 5 years?
If whatever you're stressing about that causing you to burn out or feel overwhelmed, try to stop and ask yourself if it's going to matter down the road. When I was pushing myself too much, I thought about what mattered down the road. Some of the things I was working on wouldn't make a huge impact for the long term, so I decided to step away.
2. Say "No" more often.
To feel more balanced, the truth is you need to say no to more things so you can say yes to the right things. For instance, I said no to working on more video content for my business. By doing this, I freed up time to spend my mornings at the gym versus in front of my computer.
3. Make self-care a priority.
I was so busy working on all my professional goals that I had very little time to focus on my health. So I decided to cut back on some career goals, so I could spend more time on taking care of me. This made such a huge impact, and now I'm in a great routine that feels really good.
4. Accept where you are in your path.
Part of the reason I was so burnout is that I was trying to do a million things at once to grow professionally. But it was too much. I realized I had unrealistic expectations. I realized that where I am right now in my life and career is awesome! I'm right where I need to be, and enjoying the journey versus rushing to get to a finish line (that I realize doesn't exist!).
5. Schedule "whatever" time.
Get your calendar out, and literally plan blocks of time, or even certain days, where you don't make any specific plans. For instance, I purposely don't make any plans or commit to anything at all a few days a month (for me, Saturdays or Sundays). That way, I can just flow with the day, which might be on couch all day enjoying rom coms or catching impromptu brunch with a friend. It's made such a difference to not have set plans all the time!
6. Switch up your routine.
Try doing something new with your various routines. Drive or walk a new route to work, read a different type of book, or try a new exercise class you've never done. By changing things up, it's like a zing of energy or breath of fresh air. For months I was reading really heady psychology books, as these types of books help me with my work. It started to get tiring. My fiance realized it too, and gave me a lighthearted memoir for the holidays. When I read it, I laughed, I cried, and it was the perfect way to enjoy reading in a new way and enjoy something not focused on work!
7. Have some fun already!
I've always been of the mindset to work first, play later. This way of being stems from many places, and for me, it has a lot to do with growing up in a difficult financial situation and thinking working and earning were the most important thing to do. The truth is, life is short, and work is indeed an important part of it. But so is living! Enjoying! And I realize I show up so much better for my work when I'm also having fun and enjoying my life outside of it.
What other ideas do you have to slow down, go with the flow more, or just be? Share them here!