Yesterday I listened to a podcast episode about the benefits of living an adventurous life. The entire episode was really interesting, but what stayed with me was this idea, which I’m paraphrasing:
When you spend time indoors, your thoughts, issues and problems are confined to the four walls of the room you’re in. But when you go outside, those things are no longer confined. You can let them go and give yourself the space needed to find clarity.
Those words hit me like a ton of bricks.
About a month ago, I did something a little crazy: I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. Not only that, but I also installed a Chrome extension on my computer that prevents my newsfeed from showing up when I visit the Facebook website.
So what inspired this Facebook fast? The truth is, my brain was tired. And overloaded with information. And sick of negativity. Despite having experienced those feelings for months (years?), I still found myself scrolling endlessly far too often, and I knew it had to stop.
Directionally challenged: that pretty much sums up how I’ve been feeling when it comes to this space lately.
I’m coming up on 10 years (!?!?) of writing here, and in that time span, a LOT has happened. I’ve grown from being a brand new professional to a relatively experienced music therapist, worked for 4 years as an employee and then left to expand my business, had two children, expanded my business some more, completely overhauled my workload…and those are just the BIG ones.
In the beginning, I didn’t overthink things. I just wrote about whatever I felt like, from my work, to my personal life, to the songs I was writing. But as my audience has grown, I’ve felt myself being tugged in many different directions…yet I’m afraid that going too far down one or more of those paths will alienate the people who are here for other reasons.
I left you hanging in my last blog post, which told the story of what happens when an introvert (me) stops practicing self-care. To summarize: I buried myself in my work, and while I was going through the motions of self-care activities, I wasn’t truly caring for my mind, body and soul. The outcome: I found myself headed down a scary path towards burnout.
Thankfully, I realized where I was headed before I actually got there, and I took action to correct course. Turning around at that point was no easy feat, but I knew that if I didn’t, all areas of my life would suffer even more than they already had.
I took a holistic approach to self-care, and I took it seriously. Here are the things I did to get back to a healthy place mentally, physically, and emotionally.
To tell this story, I need to take you back in time to last summer. I had just taken a HUGE step in my self-care journey by deciding to no longer teach lessons, so it seemed like I was on the right track. Add to that the mornings I dedicated to biking (my preferred choice of exercise) plus the personal development podcasts I listened to regularly, and I felt like a master of self-care.
I also felt like there was no better time to tackle one of my big goals: creating a course about how introverts can thrive in an extroverted career like music therapy. I sat down and created an editorial calendar — one that I thought was extremely reasonable and also allowed time for other pursuits.
As I dove into course creation mode, I realized just how big of an undertaking it really was. Since I was so passionate about the subject matter, I wanted to put 100% into every aspect of the course. Creating the outlines and writing the chapters were the most stressful tasks, though I loved every minute.
What I didn’t realize was the extent to which creating this course was taking priority over everything else in my life. I’ve let this happen in the past, so you’d think I would have noticed the signs…but I didn’t. I was going through the motions of riding my bike, taking care of my children, and attending to other work responsibilities, but my heart wasn’t in it. I wasn’t letting all of those things do what they should have done for me, which was to nourish my body and soul.
This year, instead of setting huge goals for myself, I came up with some habits I wanted to instill that are in line with my word for 2018 — JOY. None of these action items are brand new to my life, but the difference is that now I’m holding myself accountable.