I have been plugging away on this blog. When I am not working my day job, I am likely on my phone or on my laptop writing, editing, creating images, watching webinars, at events to network or inspire me for content but do you know what I am not doing? Taking care of myself and my well-being the way I should.
Most of the time, this doesn’t feel like work. I love doing this blog, and the idea of this brand growing one day to help and inspire like-minded people fills me with so much drive that I can research, write, and work hours on end. But there has to be limits. There has to be a point where even if you love something so much that you have to disconnect from it in order to truly appreciate and love it but also so you don’t grow to resent that thing you love. I think this is true of relationships; I think this is true of parenting; I think this is true of work; I think this is true of hobbies; I think this is true of anything we choose to love and invest ourselves in.
This is definitely true for me and this blog. I came to this (not so) shocking revelation when I had an extra day off from my day job. You would think I would take the extra day to sleep in, reconnect with my friends and my animals, get a good workout in, and just relax but that’s not what I did. Actually, that’s the opposite of what I did. I woke up at 4:30 am which is my usual wake up time most days and started working on the blog only stopping to drive to and from the dog park where I also continued to work. Yes, I was that girl on her cell phone working from the dog park. By 2:30 pm, I had put in a full work day, and when I realized this, I noticed that I was exhausted, hungry, and frustrated. I hadn’t eaten; I hadn’t engaged in any of the activities that recharge me; hell, I hadn’t even showered. I felt depleted from engaging in something I love doing, and for a brief second, I resented the blog. I had to check myself so I could go back to a healthy place of love for this thing I created.
This is how I did it:
- Recognize your behavior. You can’t change a negative behavior until you recognize it. For me, I was prompted to recognize how I was feeling and the cause because of just how damn grumpy I felt. Once I recognized my mood, I had to filter my negative emotions through the acronym H.A.L.T.; for the non-therapists out there, H.A.L.T. stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. These four things are recognized as core triggers of negative behavior, and in order to get back to center, the needs have to be addressed. In my case, I was hangry and tired, and once I ate and took some time to engage in something mindless to rest, I felt a lot better and was able to come back to the blog with love.
- Do absolutely ANYTHING else. In order to reconnect with my creativity, I had to refocus on doing absolutely anything else that was not related to the blog, social media, or mental health. So what did I do? I binged watched Bachelor in Paradise and BH 90210, perused the latest issue of Us Magazine, and began reading my book club’s book of the month. I engaged in my not-so-guilty pleasures, and it felt FABULOUS! While I don’t expect any body to follow suit on engaging in what I like to do to disconnect, I know everybody has their own ways whether it is working out or bad reality TV or going out with friends; just do something, ANYTHING else but the thing that is making you feel annoyed and frustrated. Sometimes you have to refocus to regain perspective.
- Get support. Sometimes to get out of your own head, you have to use somebody else’s so for me when I turned all negative Nancy, I knew I had to reach out to my support system. When I mean support, I am not talking about the friends who are there to baby you, join the pity party with you, or co-sign your bullshit because I hate to tell you, those aren’t your real friends. I am talking about the friends who are going to process your thoughts, ideas, and feelings with you, ground you, and are going to keep it 100 with you even if it isn’t what you want to hear. I am lucky to be going through the creative process with two of my closest friends, Belle and Stacy, and to have my best friend-thapist, Lindsey, to check me and my bad decisions when I need checking. They are my sounding boards in my creative process and life in general. Each has their own approach in handling my ego but the one thing I know for sure is that all three girls have my best interest at heart and are going to tell me what I need to hear even if I want to hear it or not.
- Get some damn boundaries.Here’s the universal secret about happiness: you make time for what’s important; so I hope to God that your health and happiness is on the list of your priorities. I love writing, and I love this blog so yes it does take up a lot of my time. However, my health, my personal happiness, and my relationships are important too so I really try to make a concerted effort in finding the balance so that all things exist in my world. Honestly, that balance can’t exist without boundaries. Boundaries mean being okay saying “no” to things I don’t want to do; boundaries mean putting time limits on things in order to respect the other things in my life; boundaries mean accepting that I am not going to be able make everyone happy; boundaries mean having realistic expectations and awareness of what is fueling me versus depleting me and being willing to respond accordingly. Boundaries are not just self-care; it is survival. And sometimes, you do have to create boundaries with the things and people you love just so you can continue loving them more fully in the long-run. The blog will be there when I am done recharging, and so will your man, woman, child, job, and whatever it is you are neglecting yourself for.