Have you ever had this happen to you: you're motoring along just fine, feeling good about who you are, what you're doing and what you'll stand for (or not) and then seemingly all of a sudden, the wheels fall off your trolley? It's not a pretty sight!
This scenario has pretty much been my reality for the past three weeks and it's been really scary. Since January, I've been totally serious about my commitment to get the first draft of my mystery novel done prior to October. I've been proud of my discipline of producing a certain daily word count and have finished the first seven chapters, and done a tonne more writing that I can start weaving into the story.
I'd been meditating and walking daily with my dog, going to Pilates and even started incorporating green smoothies into my diet. Everything was going just hunky-dory. That was until —wait for it — it's astounding: my elderly auntie came to visit! As she occasionally reads my columns, let me assure you (and her) that it was not her visit that threw me for a loop, it was the four-day interruption in my routine that served me and commitments to the dogs.
Here's the deal: the fallout isn't just the obvious – that you've deviated from your plan; it's much deeper than that. In my experience, I've found that when I'm no longer grounded or centered, I start making errors in judgment. Some of them are just little things like not eating properly or exercising, but some of them are really big.
My biggies were that I missed a critical deadline for an opportunity to have a free half-hour meeting with an editor to look at what I've written so far. Next, I sent an email to what I thought was one person who was in charge of a distribution list, to all the list members, voicing my concern that the list might be being used inappropriately. As always I was polite but had I done more research, I would have realized that it was going to an entire group of people. Additionally, I hurt the person whose email appropriateness I was questioning and ruffled a lot of his supporters' feathers. Of course, those and many other incidents made me feel worse about myself, sending me into a funk (truthfully, a bit of a depression) and the cycle went on.
I won't give you the ugly details of my meltdown in the mall because I had let my blood sugar get so low that I verbally attacked my husband, who had just bought me an iPad. It was hideous. Not a side of me I want to see again anytime soon!
Watch For the Danger Zones
With many of us pining for spring, we're embarking on early vacations to get a little pre-summer sunshine. I'm looking forward to leaving soon for three weeks in Hawaii and upon my return I don't want to go through what I did after just four days of being out of whack!
While it's wonderful to get away from the daily pressures and sometimes tedious routine, it's very important that you stick to doing the things that make you, you. Whether it's running, walking, working out at the gym, meditating, eating a certain way – try to stick to that as much as possible so that when you return from your vacation, you're centered and feel ready to jump back into your work.
If you have children who were on spring break, you may have noticed that you played catch-up after having been away or spending more time with them at home. Playing catch-up can burn through an entire week before you feel that you're able to jump back into the fray of your day-to-day business.
Finally, if you're a writer, painter or other type of creator (and we all are), try to do a little of your craft while you're gone. Will I write my usual word count every day when I'm in Hawaii? No, but I will continue writing in my journal, doing some research while I'm there (that I can use in my novel) and do what I call "doodle-writing." It just helps keep you stay tuned in to your creative genius.
Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept It
1. Make a note of three or four core (I call them "slight edge") habits that you do every day or week that you know keep you sane and centered.
2. Post them where you'll see them (your mirror, computer screen, your car) or put them in your journal or iPad and take them with you when you're travelling.
3. While you're taking a break from your business, look for opportunities to engage in your core activities: read, write something, go for a walking meditation on the beach, join a drop-in yoga or Pilates class…you get the idea.
As with all our slight edge decisions, they're easy to do but they're also easy not to do. Practice some self-observation and you'll start to know what you need to keep feeling your best, inside and out. For me, going to my meditation group last night after a three-week absence was all it took to snap me out of my doldrums and bring me back to my true self.
Until next time, remember to be authentically YOU and be mindful of tapping into the gentle, loving, compassionate and marvelous person that you are!