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The Art of Taking Time for Ourselves

May 9, 2017

Yes, it really is an art.

At first I was going to title this post “The Art of Crashing and Burning,” but… that’s what we are trying to avoid by taking time for ourselves.

I have learned some tips and tricks over the years on how to slow down, tune in, and take time for myself so that I can be the most productive and creatively stimulated version of myself.

So that I can be the balanced blonde & share every little ounce of that balance with you guys.

Truth be told, on the inside I am the queen of crashing and burning. I have this unbelievable drive and what feels like limitless sources of energy that can sometimes propel me forward for days, weeks or even full months at a time. I have been this way for as long as I can remember.

But there is ALWAYS a crash after the limitless forward movement. Always, always. It’s part of being a human.

So for the most part, I have learned to take it easy after expending a lot of energy even when I feel like I can keep going.

Yet sometimes I still need this unbounded energy and drive, like a few weeks ago when I taught four yoga events back to back on the east coast! So I can appreciate it for what it is, but now I will need more downtime afterward to balance it back out.

I Have Been This Way For EVER!

I remember being this way when I was a little kid. I’d go to school, beg to have friends over, try to get my friends to stay up all night with me, go back to school in the morning, and do the same thing all over again. Every day. I claimed I didn’t know what it felt like to “get tired.” I really, truly don’t think I felt an ounce of tiredness until high school.

This mentality followed me into college and beyond. If there was a lot to be done (socially AND academically), I just cast aside any potential exhaustion or need for rest and plowed through all of it. School work, internships, sorority commitments, parties, birthdays, writing, travel, all of it.

As a blogger, I’ve found that this type of motivation and energy serves me well. Sometimes I wake up and go so hard all day long teaching, podcasting, blogging, taking photos, going to events, meeting with people, teaching again, and suddenly it’s 11 p.m. and I have no idea where the day went.

But I am not saying that’s a good habit to get into! That is what I am learning to work against, these days… because pushing so hard comes so naturally to me. I bet I am not the only #overcommitter who has decided to be a full-time blogger.

Crashing & Burning //

Here’s the difference between me as a little kid and me now: this go HARD lifestyle has caught up with me. A few years ago is actually when it started catching up with me… when it became clear that I could no longer drink alcohol on the weekends and feel sane during the week, or stay up super late one night per weekend the way I used to because it would throw me out of whack for DAYS upon days if I did.

It was also a few years ago that I realized my energy wasn’t limitless. It was more like I had this well or reserve of energy and life force, and once I ran out — I crashed. Hard. Just as hard as I’d been going when I was pushing myself.

Now, the crash and burn is REAL.

I will legitimately get sick with a terrible cold or the flu if I push myself too hard for too many days or weeks in a row now. There was a period of time during the winter where I got sick three or four times because no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t stop overcommitting myself.

Even a few weeks ago when I got back from my super hectic east coast trip, ALL I wanted was a few days to myself to recollect. But when I got back there was so much to catch up on, events to host, things to do… that it wasn’t until this week that I’ve actually been able to have a few days of downtime to just BE.

What is the benefit of slowing down?

Oh my. There are so many benefits.

When I slow down and take time to myself… that is when everything in my life starts to feel so much more manageable. Things that absolutely crush my soul when I’m overworked and exhausted, like a bad podcast review or a difficulty with a brand partnership, become easy to deal with because I know in the long run they just aren’t a big deal.

Other, deeper, more lasting and REAL things matter and I can focus my energy on those things.

The little stuff just isn’t worth stressing over.

My physical body gets a rest so all of the sudden I not only feel more sane but I look more well-rested and more myself. Hormones are easier to balance and manage when we are well-rested. And it is impossible to be creative when you’re moving ten million miles a minute and unable to sit down and chill.

When I take time for myself, I am able to READ (and learn!!), take baths (so good for muscles and recovery, on top of mental health benefits), keep my space organized, stay on top of my morning routine, meal prep, check in with myself about what I need, come up with new ideas for blog posts and business plans, catch up with friends and family who are so deserving of my attention, and most importantly… feel grounded.

I also have time to do my actual work as a blogger when I have down time… writing new blog posts, editing photos, keeping in touch with brands and getting back to long-awaited emails, and more.

ALSO, no great thing has ever been created from a stressful environment. So my podcast, ebook, book, and even this blog have all been born out of me taking time to THINK and check in with myself.

Tips & Tricks for Making Downtime Happen

I know it’s easier said than done. Trust me, if I see an open space in my schedule… my first inclination is to fill it. Especially when there is so much that it could be filled with!

My first tip is: get support!!!! I recently hired Christina full-time and she knows how incredibly important it is for me to have down time, and how when I am left to my own devices I just fill my schedule to the brim. She has done an amazing job managing my schedule so that I don’t overbook myself every day and so I keep pockets of downtime to get things done that really matter to me.

Even if it doesn’t mean hiring someone full-time (I get it, that’s not the realistic go-to for many of us, and wasn’t for me until recently!), it DOES mean surrounding yourself with people who get it. Who get you. Who won’t push things to do things that won’t fill your soul, and who will understand when  you need time to yourself even if it means missing out on doing something with them once in a while.

Tip number two is… have a mindfulness practice! My morning meditation, yoga, intuitive movement and crystal meditations all help ground me and make me feel so zen. Even burning sage and palo santo throughout the day and using essential oils bring me back down to earth when I feel like anxiety or stress is taking over. Anything that helps keep me grounded, zen and mindful helps so much with reminding myself to take downtime.

This might sound like a funny one, but getting a pet rocked my world and helps me to stay so much more grounded and mindful on a daily basis. Taking care of someone who depends on me and also looking into Huddy’s little eyes and seeing the world from his perspective reminds me that so many petty things that could normally get stressful simply DON’T matter in the grand scheme of things. Pets remind us that above all else, loving and being loved is the root of all happiness.

Number four: know that you’re worth it. Your TIME is valuable. Giving it away all of the time is not valuable. Filling your time with meaningful experiences and meaningful people is what it’s all about. You are NOT selfish for wanting to take some time to yourself in the evening to exercise, get a massage, or relax on the couch. This could definitely mean saying no to a friend who wants to get dinner or go out to a bar. Nothing wrong with knowing that your time is yours and you get to decide what to do with it.

I have so many more tips but I am going to stop here for now!!! I am feeling so, so, so refreshed from having the last couple of days to myself to unwind and tap back into myself. I am already bummed that the end of my week is slightly overbooked, but… it’s a balancing act. No one is perfect. Our perfect schedule is within our reach though and so attainable, we just have to dedicate ourselves to making it happen!

Any other tips & tricks that I missed?! Would love to hear! XO