Towards the end of last year, I woke up feeling deeply tired. I'd gotten plenty of sleep. In fact, I'd had more than enough sleep in the last week. But I was tired... so very tired.
Being the introvert I am, I figured I just needed to "shut down" for a bit. Relax, avoid any unnecessary interaction, and go inside myself. But even after shutting down, I still felt so very tired. It was a tired that ran deep into my bones to the very core of my being. I couldn't muster up the energy to deal with much of anything.
It took some time for me to realize the last several years were finally catching up to me. The years of being in an unhealthy relationship, struggling to start a business with the wrong partner and in the wrong field, fighting to find myself, obsessing over my body, never having enough money, and always feeling overwhelmed. The years of many moves, new relationships, a new business, accruing debt, and struggle.
There were also times of amazing love, huge influxes of income, peace, joy, creativity, and so much fulfillment. The years weren't all bad by any means. But when the years were hard, I was always so strong. Sure, I would cry my eyes out from time to time, because falling apart is necessary for growth... but I powered through, made things happen, and always took the next needed step forward.
But here's a truth we all need to understand:
No matter how strong you are, everything that happens leaves an imprint on your soul that will catch up to you eventually.
And that's exactly what happened, despite the self care practices I have in place.
Rather than be strong and power through, I listened to the cry of my soul. Rest she said, and rest I did. I closed my consultation and coaching calendar completely, pushed back some projects I was working on internally, slept a ton, took bubble baths, had TV marathons, and stopped striving to move my life or business forward.
I took a serious time out.
Since this time out, I've healed a lot of old wounds, shifted my relationship completely, had a burst of creativity and momentum, and have a clear vision of what I want to create in my life and business. I'm training for a half marathon, taking on new clients in a way that feels awesome, and generally feeling energized, happy, and rested.
What to do when you need a serious time out:
1) Listen to your body and the needs of your spirit.
Take some time to get really still and back inside your body. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. When you're ready, ask your soul what it needs from you most right now. If you're being asked to rest, rest. If you're being asked to play, play. Whatever's being asked of you, honor it. Whatever your body craves, feed it. Movement, rest, play, pleasure, fun, pampering, etc. Listen, listen, listen.
2) Do the work you need to heal.
During this time out, I did a lot of journal writing, really focused on my meditation practice, and worked to get out on walks when I felt up to it. I talked it out with the people I love, spent lots of time staring at the ceiling and just processing, processing, processing. If you're as introverted as I am, you'll know this isn't "thinking." It's just processing, which is incredibly rejuvenating.
3) Create the space you need to refill your tank.
One thing I knew for certain was that I needed space. Space to breathe, think, and just be. I took space in my relationship (which I'll share more on soon), I took space from my businesses (which lead to awesome learning and growth opportunities), I took space from my calendar and clients, and I took space from the things that stressed me out most (like hiring a personal assistant to deal with the laundry and housework). Space promotes healing, processing, rest, and recovery, so make the space you need where you can.
4) Take a new approach going forward.
While I was able to power through at the time, I was unaware of how big of an imprint those years were making on my soul. When things finally began to settle, my body said all right, now we need to rest and recover, basically shutting down my energy and forcing me to rest. As I move forward, I'm really paying attention to my needs in each moment. Whether or not you're the "power through" kind of person, raise your awareness and keep your self care routines prioritized at all times.
The more space you create, rest you take, self care your practice, and healing you do on an ongoing basis, the less likely you are to crash out in the future from everything you're dealing with now.
Take action now!
Where are you powering through or being strong when maybe you need to just take a time out? How can you create the space in your life now to regularly rest, take care of yourself, and heal in real time? What will you prioritize right now?
Stephenie Zamora is the founder of www.stepheniezamora.com, a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique. Through her Mastery program, she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help men and women build passion-based lives and businesses they love. Click here to access her free Foundations for Unshakable Joy™ video training series and learn the unexpected trick to transforming your life with one single question!
For more by Stephenie Zamora, click here.