We live in a society where we are praised for doing more. Complete more projects. Work longer hours. Be an artist and a teacher and a podcaster and a dj. The more you do, the more success you will, or could, have. But what happens when we burn out?
I fall victim to this need for “more” often. I am a yoga teacher, and a blogger, and a photographer, and a student, and (hopefully) an author. Oh yeah, and I’m also a 27 year old that would sometimes like to have a social life. I have a lot of passion and interests, which often requires me to branch out in various directions. But, occasionally, I stretch myself too thin.
A couple of weeks ago, I took on the title of blogger head on. I redesigned this site (albeit, partially accidentally), wrote down blog post ideas, did some research, focused a lot on photography for specific content, while I was also still wearing my yoga teacher hat and teaching my full schedule of classes. And on top of that, I wanted to make sure I reached my writing goal for the month. I was starting work as soon as I got up, before 7am. I worked on my site for a couple hours before I had to hop in the shower, get dressed, and then run straight off to classes. In any breaks between classes, I continued to work on my site, on content, etc. Then I would head back out, come home after 9pm some days, and decide to make one last tweak. Before I knew it, I had spent at least another hour working. It was a busy week to say the least.
I pushed through, but once my site was in good standing, I completely crashed. I started my long days on Sunday, and by Friday afternoon I had nothing left in me to give. I ended up ditching anything I had previously planned for the day and went to see a movie instead. Initially, I felt so bad. There were still plenty of things on my to do list I should have been doing, but I knew deep down I needed a break. The movie was fantastic and I spent the rest of the afternoon living in the feelings it left me with.
And then Saturday came around and everything picked back up. I had another crazy week, and again, crashed by the weekend.
I try to make it to one public yoga class a week, on top of my home practice, but I missed it both weeks. I saw the teacher at the studio before one of my classes and I apologized and told her I wish I had been there. And then she said something I needed to hear. She told me she understands that I’m an introvert like her and need time to myself to recharge. Sometimes that means staying in and opting to do my practice at home.
I know I’m an introvert, and I 100% embrace it, so it was a nice reminder to meet myself where I am, and that other people understand. I love my work, all the many layers of it. I love my friends and spending time with them. But sometimes, I have to tune everything out and do something to fill my cup back up. So after that I began to have “introverted time.” I turned my phone to silent and did whatever I felt like doing. I had to take a step back. And afterwards I felt so much better. When the next work week came, I was more productive, along with some help from my new morning routine. And when it was the weekend again, I was more present with my friends. A different, better kind of more.
It’s hard to slow down, but it’s even harder to not feel bad about doing nothing. But do it. It’s good for you. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, we all need time for ourself. It is nothing to apologize for.
So, here are a few things that I enjoy doing when I slow down:
Read a book. This is almost always my top choice. Reading grants me a full escape and that is usually exactly what I need when I slow down. I just finished a book I had had on my shelf for at least over a year. It felt like it was calling to me, and I am so glad I listened. It was not what I was expecting, but I loved it. Bonus points for reading in bed 😉
Catch up on my favorite blogs. I look at a lot of blogs and Instagram feeds for research/inspiration, but it’s nice to read new and different blogs purely for pleasure. I love looking at blogs that have nothing to do with the type of content I post, like food!
Watch a movie. I don’t watch much TV, so it feels like such a treat to grab a blanket and a snack and sit down to watch a movie. Sometimes I do this in the comfort of my own home, but taking myself to see Call Me by Your Name was exactly what I needed that day.
Practice yoga. Public classes are great for me because I can turn off my teacher brain and just enjoy it. That can be harder to find at home, but lately I have found some online sources that are incredible. If I want something relaxing, I head straight to Yoga with Adriene. When I’m up for a challenge, I’ve been exploring my teacher, Noah’s, videos on Yoga International.
Cook or bake. When I’m busy, taking time to prepare hearty meals is one of the first things to go. So when I slow down, I like to make something good. I’m super into roasted veggies right now and they are perfect thrown on top of my favorite comfort food – pasta. This weekend I made Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars with chickpeas and they were surprisingly delicious!
The most important thing when taking time for yourself is to do whatever relaxes you and brings you joy. And again, do not feel bad about it. As Jim Kwik says, “self care and self love are not selfish.”