I Slowed The Heck Down And This Is What Happened
Does it feel like you’re just peeling your eyes open to the possibility of what this year has in store for you? In case you’ve just woken up from your post Christmas nap – we’re well and truly at the mid-year mark of 2017. Pretty crazy, hey?!
When I reflect on the first six months of the year, it kinda’ feels like I’ve been shuffling my way through the night, eyes half open, trying to find the light switch on the way to the toilet. I’ve been ‘busting’ to go, and yet it’s taken me ages to reach for the light and flick that switch ON. Alright, I’ll cut to the chase but let’s just say the light switch is well and truly on now.
After a gloriously wonderful year in 2016, I’m coming out the other side of what I like to call a combination of adrenal, burnout, anxiety, decision fatigue.
I felt healthy, happy and sane throughout the duration of some big life changes last year;
+ Starting a new job and working from home.
+ Buying our first home.
+ Planning a wedding and getting married.
All of these lifelong dreams had come to fruition and yet when I finally stopped to catch my breath – waves of discomfort washed over me.
First it was this weird anxiety that would seem to creep in throughout the Sunday grocery shop.
Then it was the overwhelming feeling of never being able to stay on top of the washing and chores (seriously, WTF!)
And then the final straw was trying to answer emails and feeling like I couldn’t string a coherent sentence together.
It didn’t matter what lovely, nourishing things I prioritised for myself – I felt like I had lost all motivation and my self-belief was at an all-time low (a scary thought for a life coach who had plenty of tools in her self-care kit).
I thought that I would be ready to move on to this exciting next phase of life and settle into a routine – you know, plan more exciting things for my life and biz (ha!) until I realised I had some processing to do.
As much as I wanted to, I didn’t need to create more goals for myself.
I didn’t need to pile more stuff onto my plate – no matter how exciting or fulfilling the ideas seemed to be.
And most importantly, I didn’t need to keep going down the vicious cycle of berating myself for not doing ‘enough’.
My mind, body and soul needed some serious R + R and deep down, I knew it wasn’t going to be a quick fix either.
Seeing a psychologist seemed a bit drastic at first but as soon as I sat down on the couch, cup of tea in hand – I knew it was exactly what I needed. It was a safe space for me to talk through all the changes that had occurred and really sit with my feelings. Feelings that I had no idea I had shoved to the side whilst I was busy ‘getting shit done’.
After each session I would look to the psychologist, anticipating action steps to take so that I could get back into ‘doing’. She looked at me and we laughed. Oh… this is about slowing the heck down.
Tears would stream down my face – not because I was sad. I was and am the happiest that I have ever been, but the tears were a release of the pressure that I was continually placing on myself. I needed to learn to not be so darn hard on myself! A lesson that I am forever learning and is exactly what I support my coaching clients with. We teach what we most have to learn, right?!
The first step was to tread ever so gently and soothe my nervous system and it started with music. My first love! Whenever I got the chance, I would put on some tunes and just listen. I played tunes whilst I was in the shower, I listened to music before bed and I went on more walks with headphones in, just listening to every beat. I had forgotten how powerful and healing music really is.
I walked and spent more time in nature (thank goodness for Brisbane winters!) And slowly but surely, the fogginess started to subside. I cried and journaled some more. I kept going to the psychologist. I set boundaries and structure in my day to ease the amount of decisions that I had to make. My energy started to come back and I decluttered the house, creating some much needed headspace. I felt a strong pull to use my phone less and honour my precious time more. I said no. I spoke up instead of feeling like I had to push on and be ‘superwoman’ or Miss ‘Perfect’. I started reading again and finally got more sleep. I got vulnerable and leaned on my husband, my loved ones and close friends. I even started to read and finish books that had been sitting on my shelf for a long, long time.
And throughout all this slowing down and unravelling – I found myself again.
The inspiration has flooded back
Completing tasks or chores no longer feels like a huge weight on my shoulders
And I feel lighter, more grounded and rested than I’ve felt in a long while
All this time – I knew how important it was to slow down, rest and take care of myself but those little taps on the shoulder become louder and louder, until I couldn’t ignore them anymore.
When we slow the heck down – clarity, energy and a true sense of inner peace can be restored again. This isn’t something we do just once or twice a year. It’s a continual practice that we recommit to again, and again. And again.
If the beginning of 2017 has felt a little turbulent for you too, please know that you can start anew. But before you do, take some time out and allow yourself to slow down and feel whatever it is you need to feel. Your dreams and plans aren’t going anywhere. And believe it or not, there’s no rush or race to the ‘finish line’. I know that it’s possible to go after what we truly want – gently, joyously and at our own pace and speed. Let’s keep coming back to the practices and rituals that make us feel whole again (I have so much more to share on this, but I’ll save it for another time!)
Now over to you: Have you felt the need to slow down this year? What are some of the big lessons that keep tapping you on the shoulder? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Ps. No matter where you’re at right now, please don’t hesitate to reach out to gain the support that you need. Whether it’s a life coach (come say hello), a psychologist, or someone you deeply trust – we’re not meant to do this thing called ‘life’ alone.