One of the most productive, unproductive weekends I’ve ever had in my life was in May a few years ago right around this time. After racing through April like my panties were on fire, I finally took a break. Well, not a break like I used to think of them – the kind where I’m so exhausted I fall face first into bed and only get up for the bathroom and the dog. No, this was a kind of mental break.
I had to fly to Southern California with my son. He was attending graduate school there in the fall, and it was admit weekend. I decided that while he took care of business, I’d find a serene spot to soak up some sun and write. On a whim I also threw a book in my bag, thinking I’d read a little on takeoff and landing.
Well, a funny thing happened once I got there. I didn’t feel like writing. I mean not one word. It was as if I had contacted some strange strand of the lazy virus, and my mind and body were out of sync.
Normally in those circumstances I’d try to power my way through. You see I’m big on being productive and checking things off my list. But it occurred to me that in the past I’d spent whole seasons of my life ignoring what my mind and body were telling me, usually with less than ideal results.
So I decided to put aside my list of things to do and let the days go where they would. For two precious days, I indulged in all the things I love. I read, I swam, and I connected with people. I listened, actively. I exercised, ate good food, and explored quaint little shops. I rested.
Can you guess what happened? By the end of the second day, my mind exploded with ideas. In a couple of hours, I sat down and wrote a whole plan for the Loving on Me product line. I saw it in my head, clear as day. It was like manna from heaven, and I didn’t have to run around like a loony tune to get it. All I had to do was sit still.
Turns out, I didn’t have the lazy virus. I was just sitting on empty, not physically but mentally. I forgot that for as much as I pour out, I need moments to refill. Because one thing is for sure – water doesn’t flow from an empty vessel.
Have you had symptoms of sitting on empty lately? Let’s see if any of this sounds familiar:
- Can’t remember the last time you had a complete thought
- Creativity seems stalled, and no new ideas are flowing
- The energy you used to have around a project seems lacking
- Have the urge to nest and read a really good book, draw, color or anything to fire up some other part of your brain
Yep! Sounds like you need to refuel your mental muscle.
Listen, we all have busy lives. I get that. But if we’re going to be in this for the long haul, we’ve got to put our self-care at the top of the list. Not just physically, but mentally, spiritually and emotionally too. Because unless we take care of our whole selves, there’s no way we’re doing our best work.
So here’s my challenge for you and I – every day take a mental break. Give yourself a few precious moments to think about something other than the crisis of the day.
In Choose Yourself, James Altucher suggests that we do that in part by reading 2 hours a day. Wow, I love the sound of that but I’m thinking that’s an aspirational goal for me.
But – I can do 30 minutes. A half-hour each day to step away from the problems I’m trying to solve, the brand I’m working to build, and all of life’s other responsibilities and just recharge. Rest my brain, renew my spirit and allow myself to absorb some new energy for the road ahead.
Who’s up for joining me? If not 30 minutes, then start with 10. Don’t let yourself say no, and use time as an excuse. All you’re saying is that YOU are not important enough to put on YOUR to-do list. And we both know that’s not true!
Drop me a line sharing your ideas for recharging your mental muscle. And as you get ready to work on your to-do list for tomorrow, remember to include you.
Hugs and Blessings ❤
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