Hey, it’s July! How’s your summer going? I’m a couple weeks out from taking about a month off to travel with the fam, so my To Do list feels rather oppressive at the moment. Right now it’s heavy with Things I Feel I Must Do Before I Go, which kind of fills me with doom. But I also know there will be a moment shortly before we leave where I’ll reach a point that I no longer give a fuck and I’ll magically be able to shed the stress and anxiety and shift into vacation mode.
Here’s what typically happens next: I’ll enjoy that feeling for a hot minute until our flights get cancelled, or I get a call from our rental that the drains are clogged, or I see a reminder in my calendar that I forgot to call a client as promised, or my kid comes down with the sicks. What a drag, right? I think we call these types of annoyances a “drag” because they drag us back into that beleaguered feeling where we don’t want to be.
Truth is, I have had a spate of challenges big and small come at me fast and furious this summer (seriously, just a slew ever since my new editions party in May), and I’ve had to remind myself to breathe and flow through it and do my best and not angst out. Sometimes it’s as easy as acknowledging these are almost all First World Problems. Other times that doesn’t cut it (despite knowing it’s mostly true). For the times when I have to work harder to banish worry and overwhelm, here’s what I’ve been doing:
- I’ve been running a lot which has been crucial.
- I’ve been reminding myself to “leave something in the tank” for the end of my workday when I’m with my family, so I can really relax and enjoy our time together in these long summer days that I always crave. (I’m also trying to cook more and make fancy iced tea and do craft projects and stuff. Only marginal success on this front.)
- I’ve been taking note of when I feel anxious, and stopping to listen to whatever it is that is knocking at my consciousness asking to be felt, and letting myself feel it which really helps banish the angst. I regularly practice sitting with feelings that are uncomfortable (guilt sadness and fear are some of my classic hits), and in doing so I keep developing more mental and emotional strength and flexibility which is empowering.
- I’ve been playing a lot of music in a few bands which is a massively critical factor in my happiness and well-being.
- I have been staying politically engaged and doing what I can to support a range of causes I care about, including fighting fascism in the US and ending the horrors of the migrant detention camps.
- I’ve been relentlessly tackling important business tasks and being diligent about focusing on the ones that will most efficiently get me to my goals (which I keep reviewing and refining), because there is nothing better to banish my angst and worry than getting shit done. For several months now I have been busy with “back-end” and administrative work that needed to get done before I launched some new services and products, and because I’m a small operation it has not only taken a lot of time and work, but it has forced me to be systematic with my project management and patient with my progress.
All of the above are essential wellness habits for me. The last one — doing my “work” work — is a tricky beast, since as a self-employed person my list of things to do to keep my business afloat is basically never-ending and can trigger its own cascade of stressors. Being my own boss means taking care of All The Things, some that I don’t always enjoy doing, like Googling and solving tech problems, battling with service providers who keep putting me on hold, or planning and executing my own marketing.
BUT while it is sometimes overwhelming and tiring to be the captain of my own ship, getting to make my own decisions and exercise creative and business control gives me energy and life. It’s a privilege and a blessing, and the difficult bits are just part of the package. Sometimes, like the last few months, I just need to remind myself of this.
The good news is that for the last month or so I am finally transitioning from doing all that back-end and platform building, and returning to what I love to do which is writing and creating information products. Just last week I released a new download at my bookstore — the DIY Strategic Plan Kit — and I have a couple more on deck (stay tuned!). Getting these launched, and getting back into my content development groove is a super welcome state of affairs after so much tedious system-building work.
What are the parts of your work world that energize you, and which feel like they suck you dry, or push you into a pit of worry? Do tell. 🙂