Good morning everyone! I’m getting back into my normal schedule again after a two week vacation to France.
It was much needed for many reasons, some personal, some much bigger than that, but it did my body + soul some serious good.
I’ll be honest, though. It wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows for me leading up to the trip. During some of the days right before we left for vacation, I started to become a giant ball of stress.
This used to be my norm, but it really isn’t anymore. Of course, I still get stressed at times, but I don’t operate from this place 24/7 like I used to. I even started to become stressed about being stressed. (Helpful, I know.)
I was really, really nervous about leaving my work for two whole weeks because I felt there was SO much that had to be done. I hadn’t been away from my business for this long since I started, and I didn’t know what to expect.
This uncertainty, and the fear that came with it, left me feeling torn and seeing just two possible outcomes, that I would either:
1) have to work constantly throughout my vacation, leaving my boyfriend to explore by himself for two weeks and basically paying a lot of money just to work in a fancy AirBnB abroad OR
2) (lizard brain going straight to worst-case-scenario and letting fear take over) that I wouldn’t work at all, which meant that I would completely lose all momentum, my business would cease to exist, and I would come back feeling lost, powerless, and some awful combination of guilt and remorse for indulging in that time off.
I’m sure many of you reading this have had similar situations that feel like a catch-22, where it feels like there is no good way to go forward. Maybe it’s about a relationship. Your job. A friend or relative you’re constantly arguing with. Your body. Your money situation. Where to live. How to handle a disrespectful co-worker. Political activism and how much to do, what to focus on, etc…
Any of these can make you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious, and wanting to just hide until it all passes over. That’s exactly how I felt as the vacation came up. (Not exactly the countdown excitement and planning I was used to when vacations meant escaping my usual 12+ hour work days.)
BUT here’s the other thing. I’m also guessing many of you may be able to see pretty clearly that I had more than just the two options I listed above.
That, my friends, is because we are given this beautiful gift of being able to see things more objectively from a distance. Meaning, when you aren’t in the thick of it and don’t have any (or at least as many) personal ties to the outcome and what is happening, you can more clearly see the situation for what it is and think more expansively about what outcomes are possible.
Now, this isn’t to say that our emotions aren’t valuable, because I think ALL of them (anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, you name it…) are incredibly useful indicators of what we need to pay attention to in our lives and are often signals from our mind + body of any course corrections (major or minor) that need to happen. However, when we identify AS our emotions and let them take over, it can be pretty darn hard to think clearly.
All that being said. After talking it through with some other coach friends, I realized those weren’t my only options. (I’m not immune to needing support, too 😉 – I’ve learned to always ‘live it to give it’)
So I went on vacation and took my laptop and a few notebooks with me. Any calls that I would have during the trip were on my schedule, but other than that, I decided to give myself permission to make a decision in each present moment of that trip of what to do and to trust that I would know what was best for myself.
This could be through sitting in meditation. Or conversely, this could involve getting out and about and exploring new cities, including meeting new people, practicing my broken, elementary French, eating tasty food, walking over 10 miles a day, seeing famous art I had only before seen in textbooks, getting out in the mountains and being with nature through one of my all-time favorite hobbies of skiing, taking pictures – all contributing to many memories that will last me a lifetime.
The outcome ended up being some combination of sorts. I spent a good deal of my down time writing when I felt inspired to as well as processing the political chaos I was both consuming in bits and observing from afar.
But I mostly spent my time being on vacation, doing as I love to do, and being a student of life. Learning much more from getting out there and shaking things up a bit to reset myself.
And I will tell you, that what I gained from this experience, including the coaching, the self-trust, and the willingness to take (what felt like) a risk and go on this adventure…it was incredible.
I have come back completely rejuvenated and refreshed. So ready and so eager to get back into things. And above all, with a greater sense of peace and clarity about what I need to focus on next.
Best-case scenario outcome, rather than the doomsday scenario I originally painted for myself, largely due to the fact that I created distance for myself and focused on remaining present. So that I, like you, could see my own challenge more objectively. I gave myself permission to see other options, doing a little bit of ‘yoga for the brain’, living in perpetual creative response to life.
Through coaching and traveling and trusting myself, I created distance both in time + physical distance from my source of stress but also space in my mind from the beliefs I was so attached to. I gave myself the option to see things differently, which meant doing things I hadn’t tried before.
You might be thinking – ‘well, that’s nice, but I don’t have the money for two weeks in France.’ And to that I say ‘that’s. totally. OK.”
By no means am I saying you need to pick up and go fly across the ocean to make yourself feel better and figure out some of your life’s challenges. (That certainly wasn’t the original intent when I booked the vacation, anyway.) What I am saying, is that I’ve witnessed personally and with others, that creating SPACE for yourself and being PRESENT can be incredibly useful to moving forward when you otherwise feel stuck or stressed or uncertain.
It may be created through meditation or talking it out with a friend, coach, or therapist. Or perhaps journaling or writing or making some art. Maybe it’s a walk to your local park or at a local hiking trail. Or it could be changing up the physical location you do your work each day. Possibly it’s taking that dance class you’ve been putting off or cooking up your favorite meal that you don’t normally make because it takes too long…or some combination of many of these things.
What matters is the intention with which you do it. Any of these things done with the intention of helping you create some space for yourself and be present can help you to take your brain off repeat, where whatever you’re stressing about just continues to play and play and play in your mind, never REALLY changing, and leaving you more and more restless, anxious, and unsure than before. I used to always do this. It turned me into an insomniac and a 15-year-old with adrenal fatigue. I OBSESSED over things, and I believed the only way through was to PUSH.
However, as the years have gone by, what I’ve come to know is that the truth is that you already know what you need to know; we all know what’s best for ourselves deep down. It’s just the noise that gets in the way of us hearing and then listening to that voice. Taking a pause away from the stress, and even just ‘pretending’ that you believe (if you can’t truly believe) that not putting all of your mental, physical, and emotional energy into determining the solution and instead that creating some space will help you…it probably will.
It’s not always about ‘logic’ and writing out pros and cons lists. I’ve come to learn that decisions can also be made in more of a flowing, intuitive ‘art’ way than a forced, exacting ‘science’ way. Also, the answers aren’t always lightbulb realization moments, but they certainly can be. Sometimes they are gradual knowings that build up inside of you.
All in all, give your brain some space to breathe so that your body + soul can share with you whatever it is you may need.
I’m curious how creating space has helped some of you through your challenges if you’ve ever tried to do so. And if not, I would love to hear how this inspires you to try something different next time.
And as always, know that I am here if you feel like you could use some personalized, one-on-one support with a coach. Feel free to check out my ‘Work With Me’ pages or send me an email to learn more!
Sending you love on this Monday <3