Once we’ve determined how many lights on your dashboard are blinking, and you’ve established a baseline for self care, we can talk about ways to get your real life back. To get your energy back. To restore the peace you deserve, instead of running around like an iPhone-addicted-blinking-beeping-dinging maniac.
It’s time to actively reclaim all your energies.
Input, input, input. Make sure your active collection of inspiration is equal to all the work you’re putting into the world. Episode 5 of my That’s What She Said podcast covers this in detail.
Facebook groups. Quit ’em, leave ’em, give up the administration of ’em. I recently left all the groups I’d joined — even the ones I’d paid to be a part of — because I simply wasn’t using them. I felt a pang of anxiety each time one showed up in my newsfeed — but not ENOUGH anxiety to click over and see what was going on. Deleted. Left. Moved on.
Become a quitter. Protect your energy fiercely.
Unfollow. There are people you follow just so you’re ‘in the know’ about your industry or about trends, or to keep your finger on the pulse of the next big thing. Trouble is, you don’t actually like these people. Listening to them reeks of obligation. So quit ’em. Unfollow ’em. Stop giving them your precious freaking attention.
Unsubscribe. Those e-mails that end up in your inbox and you blink, stunned, before wondering, ‘How the eff did I get on this list?!?’ Take the two seconds to click unsubscribe. It’s like wiping the sink clean after you put on your make-up. You’ll feel better and it takes no time at all.
Ignore your favorite for a while. Yes, THAT favorite. Your guru, your mentor, the person you simply adore and would trade lives with if you could. It’s possible that you’re dulling your instincts in order to move more in the direction of that person, or choosing poorly for your own career in a dull attempt to mimic that individual. I’m not saying you’re doing this consciously, but it happens to the best of us. Leave, just for a little while, and come back when the voices in your head are once again your own.
Schedule nagging tasks. Those projects you see in your house and think, ‘Awh man, I should do that’ — every single time you pass them? Schedule ’em. Wallpaper the closets, rearrange the pantry, buy the organizing supplies, clean the floors. Whatever it is, schedule it. Treat it as you would a doctor’s appointment or a client meeting. Get it out of the way, whether by yourself or with the help of a professional.
Batch it. There’s no need to do tasks you find unpleasant every day. Schedule your social media. Blog once a month and schedule enough posts to last the whole time. Write for a whole day instead of for twenty minutes at a time. Make so many frozen meals that your freezer is overflowing with the crockpot dinners to come.
Acknowledge your limits. Yes, you have them. We all do. You can’t cook three healthy, organic, vegan meals a day whilst keeping your six-pack abs at the gym while single-handedly caring for your three children whilst running a full-time business whilst making sweet, sweet, daily love to your partner and running the local soup kitchen and volunteering to lead this year’s day camp at the YMCA. You can’t. This doesn’t make you a failure or a fraud. Just a human.
Get rid of the first thing you think of when I ask, ‘What needs to go?’ without guilt. (Really. Ditch it. Someone, somewhere will take money for doing it.)
Express yourself. No, really, I mean it — and we’re not talking about putting more photos on Instagram.
Self-expression is a form of wealth.
The more you stifle, tamp down, or alter your creative spirit in the name of fitting in, getting by, or earning dollars, the more likely you are to end up hating this endeavor you call a business. Where can you let your voice out, into the world, with less censoring? Where can you embrace the awkward moment, share the gorgeous experience, or turn the way things are done upside down? Start there.
Finally, ritualize it. Calling all your energy back to you — and thus resuming the status quo, non-dashboard-blinking-mayhem that is your true nature — means letting things go. Expectations, fears, old ways of being.
I burned this painting. For a year, I had put layer after dark layer on it as I moved through relationship issues, depression, doubt, fear, anger, isolation, and general stuckness. The time came to let that go, and so I blessed the fire and threw the painting on top. It smoked for a second before flames ripped through the middle, and it felt like I had lost twenty pounds as it burned. There’s power in letting go with ritual. Officially, and with ceremony.
There’s no app for letting go, for reclaiming your energies, for shifting focus to be more true to who you are in the world.
But it’s worth doing. Worth pursuing. Throw off the heavy stuff, and let the fire burn it all up. (And when you’re done, you can eat s’mores. Which may or may not be the best part.)