February was nuts. Of my own doing. It has been equal parts exciting, fun, exhausting, and stressful. And it has been kicking my ass, teaching me a lesson. Here’s a quick peek of things for my side hustle (Pretty Prints & Paper) I found myself committing to for February:
This is not me showing off – this is me honestly facing my own problems. Because it did not end up well.
As someone who works at a very full time job and trying to grow and develop a side hustle, this thing happens. It was so exciting to have all these opportunities come through and to fruition, and in order to not have people wait “too long” in the calendar I would just try to maximize the time I did have by booking myself to capacity, and then try to see friends and maintain a long distance relationship. And like, sleep and stuff.
See where this is going?
In hindsight, it is so clear. The last two weeks I have struggled sleeping, woken up with my heart racing and mind buzzing, cycling through terrible scenarios and bad outcomes, and struggling to concentrate. I managed it, and things were getting done. This culminated to Friday in this fourth week where, between PPP and the things I was already handling at work and personally, I started having an anxiety attack at work.
Maybe your variables are different, but you can relate to the desire or compulsion to try to do all these things. To be a fully engaged mom that decorates Cookie Monster cookies with matching favors AND a thought leader and project manager in a high-powered career. And to look good doing it. But not like you’re trying that hard.
I’ve talked about anxiety before, but I still have to remind myself that it does NOT always look like someone breathing frantically into a paper bag. But regardless, it was a reminder that I need to recommit to planning for rest and controlling my pace.
As if the Universe is watching, I was feeling all of this just as I was also listening to my latest audiobook, Quiet by Susan Cain, about Introversion. A lot of people read me as a very extroverted person, but as I dived into the book I realized I am more of an “ambivert,” which is someone who has qualities of both pretty evenly.
Of course it meant that I had to create a spread for it.
By looking at this spread, my tiredness hit me. I think I had been trying to extrovert myself through the busy-ness and it was almost like solidifying what my body knew – that I had been able to push myself this long, but I needed much more time to recharge, to do different kinds of activities to get me back to a good place. To get me to a place where I can give from abundance, rather than depletion.
So, the last two months have taught me a lot about the edge of my capacity for a variety of things. Because it’s not just my time commitments but also coincides with a lot of other things fluctuating in my life, like figuring out some complex logistics of where I’m going to live or move, pressures of various things at work, the pain of our world, and battling negative self-talk through all of it.
In light of that, I am reminded of self-care being an overall pace of life. That it’s not indulgence and hiding, or getting to the point of needing to shut down – but rather a cultivation of a habit and way of being that promotes continual wellness. I will be reclaiming control in a few ways.
It’s not easy. It means I have to let go of “hustling” all the time, that I let go of “risking” people losing interest in me and my work, and going a little slower than other full-time creatives out there. That is really freaking hard for me. But I have seen what pushing has done. So I am pivoting my strategy.
I am grateful for the ability and access to some of these things, and the love and flexibility of work, friends, and family for supporting me through whatever comes my way. It is something I don’t take lightly. I hope you have the same, or can be that for someone else.
Want to incorporate more self-care into your planning routine?
How do you practice self-care?