Over the past two weeks, I stepped away from my usual routines, activities, and digital life. It meant stepping away from social media, this blog, my newsletter, and pretty much the entire internet. When I took a moment to think about how I’d been spending my time and energy, I quickly realized why I was feeling burnt out and overwhelmed lately. The truth? I’d begun to question things like: why wasn’t I making any progress on my life and business goals, why did I lack clarity and focus, and it even went so far as doubting whether I could follow through on my dreams.
When questions like these come up, you know its time to take a step back to figure out why you’re in that kind of headspace.
What became clear was I spent my time and energy on a lot of the wrong things. It was affecting my quality of life.
I announced I was taking a blogging break and walked away from everything at the beginning of May.
I took back my time and energy.
Using your time wisely and creating boundaries is the highest form of self-love you can give yourself.
Time is precious, we only have so much of it, and we should be using it on things that energize and benefit us.
After all, if I don’t have the time and energy to take care of myself, what can I offer to others, and how can I create things that are meaningful?
As an example, what do you focus your thoughts on most days? Are you focused on the lack or the abundance in your life? If you spend your time and energy obsessing over the fact that you only have $25 in your bank account and your life is so unfulfilling, well, guess what? You’ll continue to have only $25 in your bank account, and you’ll have zero energy to create the joy-filled life you want.
The simple solution? Be extremely picky about how you use your time and energy. Remember, less is more!
In my two weeks off, I set out to understand what was serving me and what was no longer serving me. I worked to remove the things that were time sucks and depleted my energy and replaced them with activities that expanded my creativity, maximized my time and made me feel energized. I focused on loving activities. Self-love is the key to achieving your best life.
Here’s what I found was no longer worth my time and energy.
1. Spending way too many hours on social media and the internet looking for “something.”
I’ll admit it; I have low points when I Google “how to start over at 40”, or “how to start over.” And there are moments when I mindlessly scroll Instagram peeking into other people’s virtual lives. But here’s the thing, searching Google, social media or someone else’s blog for how to live your life is NOT going to help you live your life. While I was away, I realized I was scrolling way too much and reading other blogs way too much.
Now? My approach to social is “quick and simple,” and I achieve this by organizing and scheduling my social media time. If there are blogs and websites I enjoy, I first ask myself, are these worthy of my valuable time and inbox space? If yes, I’ll sign up for their newsletter, buy a paper book, or read a physical magazine.
2. Listening to everyone else’s voice but my own.
Ever feel as if you’re living someone else’s life? And that you’ve become disconnected from your intuition? That’s what happens when you’re reading and absorbing what everyone else has to say too much. You become disconnected from YOUR life. I was spinning my wheels because I was listening to everyone else’s advice on how to be a better blogger and creative entrepreneur. Overwhelming, right? I was ignoring my gut and following what other people said was the right thing to do. *eyeroll* *facepalm*
So, I spent two weeks purging email newsletter subscriptions from clothing retailers, bloggers, and whatever else I deemed as unnecessary mind clutter. I left only what I felt was uplifting, inspiring and what I needed for my life RIGHT NOW.
3. Saying sorry for my uniqueness.
We’ve all been here, haven’t we? Women have been taught to be people pleasers. Giving up your uniqueness to others? No Bueno. If someone doesn’t like you or something that you happen to love? TOO BAD. When I’m a little low in the confidence and self-esteem department, this habit of apologizing for who I am likes to sneak up on me. We all have these cycles in life. There are times when we’re vibrant and confident, and there are times when we don’t always feel confident, and that’s okay. But…and here’s the but…do your very best to never give up your power or who you are to anyone. Don’t bend over backwards apologizing for who you are as a person.
Over the two weeks, I watched my behaviour. I began focusing attention on when I said I’m sorry and did an audit of when it was necessary and when I was apologizing for who I was.
4. Spending all my time in the planning phase and making copious amounts of lists.
Being a planner has its advantages and its disadvantages — while it can keep me on track, I can often get stuck making copious amounts of “to-do” lists. Lately, I found to-do lists that were identical. Identical! I was writing the same to-do list over and over again, thinking I was being productive. What was really going on? I was afraid to get started! We all have the choice to make yet another list or to take action. The latter always leads to better results. Always.
5. Insisting that it be “just right” before I put something out in the world.
My new motto? Done is better than perfect. While working to build this blog and launch my creative business, perfectionism reared its ugly self again. It has held me prisoner one too many times, and I’m over it. Too many times, I insisted my websites be “just so.” While I’m all for excellence, taking it to the point of perfection leads to paralysis. Do your best and move on.
6. Letting other humans kill my joy and take out their miserableness on me.
While I love helping others, I do not enjoy having my joy ripped away from me because my fellow humans are having a bad day. Not cool. Now, here’s the tricky part – I’m an introvert and an empath which means I’m sensitive to other people’s energy – both positive and negative. It means if you interact with me and you’re miserable, I can go from happy and upbeat to miserable too if I don’t protect my energy.
So I invested time in discovering how I can protect my energy, so I’m less affected by others. Because the alternative of becoming a recluse and never leaving the house is not an option. I found Judith Orloff, MD and The Empath’s Survival Guide and hello helpful! If you think you may be an empath or sensitive person too, I highly recommend giving it a read. It’s a toolkit full of strategies for facing the world as a sensitive person.
7. Going tete-a-tete with myself when I realize I’ve wasted time or spent energy on something frivolous.
During my time off, I spent time meditating, taking long walks, on self-care, yoga and going out doing activities I enjoy. And you know what? I tried to beat myself up for it! My brain thought these were time wasters and that I should be spending my energy on building this blog and my business. I immediately stopped myself. Punishing myself for healing activities is the time waster. No self-punishment is necessary.
What is worth my time and energy?
During my two-week hiatus, I focused on activities that encouraged self-love and healing. I was able to quickly form a list of what was not worth my time and what was. These are all worth my time and energy.
Although I’ve always found meditating difficult, I gave it another try. One of my challenges is that I’ve been too much in my head, and it’s been giving me anxiety. It’s also affected me having clarity on important life decisions.
Sitting down for two five-minute guided meditation sessions each day? Totally worth it. I found that by using my laptop (instead of my phone), and noise-cancelling headphones, I was able to focus my mind and create stillness. Meditation increases endorphins and reduces stress hormones.
If I want a beautiful life full of creativity and helping others, I can’t expect to do that if I don’t take care of myself. Indulging in self-care for 10 minutes daily and a longer session weekly is worth your time if you want to create a fulfilling life filled with joy. And it’s doable! Work on substituting self-care for a time waster on your list, and you won’t regret it.
Believing in myself.
Nothing good has ever come out of hating yourself and not believing you can do something. No more pity parties for one. No more living in the past. Now it’s all about believing in myself and the beautiful life and the best version of myself I can create. The future is a blank slate we can write anything on if we believe.
Loving ways to move my body.
I am by no means a gym rat. I tried it and hated it. In fact, I’m usually first to chime in that I can’t stand being indoors running to nowhere whilst watching a TV suspended from the ceiling.
I spent time practicing gentle exercise and stretching to build up my energy and stamina. Yoga and long walks were all well worth it!
Making time and space for my intuition and genuinely listening to it.
Ignoring your intuition is like telling the Universe you don’t want to live a beautiful and loving life. Setting aside time and headspace to have a positive and productive ‘thinking day’ was so worth it. What does a ‘thinking day’ look like? It’s a life and mind-expanding day to dream, imagine, and set your ideals for what you want to achieve and have your life look like.
Eliminating the energy vampires in my life.
Toxic people? Yes, you can go ahead and leave now. You and your drama are not worth my time or energy. And if I can’t avoid you, then I’m setting limits and boundaries to keep you from trampling me and sapping me of energy.
What we spend our time on is a direct reflection of what our life looks like. If you want a beautiful life, find out what currently doesn’t align with that vision and make some changes.