I took a long break this summer. I didn't write, post, read or even exercise that much. For most of the hot months, I felt unmotivated, unfocused and a bit “blah.” I was mentally and physically exhausted. And while yes, I was able to work and put the energy into that, I really wasn’t able to do a lot more. I just didn’t have the energy for it.
In the beginning, I started analyzing, asking the Why's - Why aren't I motivated to pick up that book and start diving into the world that so inspired me before? Why am I not picking up that pen and writing away at what's going on in my mind? Why aren’t I posting on my business Facebook/IG/Twitter page?
I had a few possible reasons: I was feeling a bit conflicted and overwhelmed in my business. There were many different directions I could take and I wasn't sure what to do. Physically, I was having reactions to food that I couldn't really understand and I was having physical pain in places I hadn't experienced before.
But in the end, it didn’t really matter why - it wouldn’t have changed anything. I just wasn’t feeling it.
And as I'm preparing for the fall and reflecting back on my summer, I realized that even though I wasn't outwardly changing, I was still learning. I was deepening and developing self-care awareness.
These are the 3 biggest things I learned from my inward retreat:
1. I acknowledged and accepted
In the beginning, I ignored. I tried to push through it. I worked 10 hour days (hey, I was doing it before - why couldn't I continue?) and scheduled workouts/activities that that kept me distracted and busy.
But then I couldn't ignore or avoid anymore. I acknowledged the conflicting thoughts, the confusion, and the resistance. I started to accept where I was and where my body was during that time. I didn't push or force anything to happen. I acknowledged the physical reactions and my limitations.
2. I went back to basics
Food, energy and sleep. The sustenance of life.
I went back to them. Focused on eating 3 meals a day, the best way I could at the time and getting as much sleep as I could. If I lost either of those things, I wasn’t able to function at my highest level. So along with that acceptance, I worked with my energy levels. I acknowledged when I had more and did more. I accepted when I had less and allowed myself to rest.
I did activities that allowed me to sustain. I went back to receiving Reiki, I got a few massages and laid on my couch more than I’d like to admit. It was what I needed. No pushing, just comfort and nurturing.
3. I listened
So simple yet so difficult at times. We want to push through, ignore. But when our body is telling us something and we ignore, it will come back and a lot stronger. So I began to listen.
And it turns out my body was telling me something. By slowing down, I came to find that I wasn’t eating as well as I could have. I wrote down my meals, realizing food had a lot to do with my energy levels. I changed some of my diet in order to work on the physical reactions but I didn't force myself to make any drastic changes.
I started to slow down, retreat inward and become silent. During a meditation, while listening, I heard “Be humble. Be true. Be there for you.” I needed to be there for myself. I was being too critical, too pushy. I stopped working 10 hour days, I took breaks, brought lunch to work, and stopped taking new clients.
And by allowing myself the time, energy, slowing down and retreating inward I'm able to come into the light, my light of self-care. I am entering the Fall with new eyes and new awareness.
I know that working with my modifications isn't weakness, it's wisdom.
So what did you learn this summer?
How does it feel to heal your inner wounds? What does it mean to be fully alive?