Tag Archives: business stuff

give yourself some slow

Good morning – it’s slow here where I am, slow in my belly and bones, slow in the opening eyes, slow in the water boiling, slow in the release of night to sun. It’s Friday, when things should be moving toward break and weekend, but not for the self-employed. Where do you find breaktime? How does Friday slow itself to greet you? Are you rushing headlong into this day, just ready to just get it over with?

This week I am thinking a lot about workaholism and stress, I am thinking about the cultural messages I get as an American to work harder work harder — if you’re tired or anxious or there’s too much to do: work harder. Don’t stop. Push through the tired. Yes, you’re overwhelmed — just keep working. You can get through it. I am thinking about how I have internalized these messages: just keep going, Jen. You can do this. Don’t stop. You just gotta power through.

And how, when I’m overwhelmed, those sorts of messages just drive me right into shutdown. Everything in me slows down, whether I want it to or not. It’s as though my body knows something it doesn’t want to tell me. Or, no, wait: my body  is telling me all the time: more and more and faster and faster isn’t better. Working harder isn’t the way to get more done. Working slower is.

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one thing everyday (again, again)

photo of a swimming pool taken through the windows above, looking down on the water and "8ft" marker on the side

time to jump in!

Happy Friday, all!  It’s kind of loud here in San Rafael today, comparatively at least — lots of truck or engine noise since about 5am, but can’t tell what’s going on. Why am I telling you this? I just like to share where I am.

Spent the first part of my writing time doing some journaling in the notebook, which feels good to have time for. I like the more organic, integrating kind of writing that I do in the notebook, with a pen. My horoscopes keep telling me to make time to integrate all that’s been happening (and, being a Pisces, it’s imperative that I pay attention to my horoscopes.)

It’s been a full, admin-y week here; what about for you? Are you ready for your weekend?

It’s a challenging thing, determining what weekend means when you’ve got your own business — or, at least, that’s true for me. I spend 8 hours a day, three days a week, at a day-job, and then I spend the rest of my time, hours before and after work at the day job, the other two days of the work week, and often, weekend time, too) focusing on writing ourselves whole. The workshops are always on my mind — I’m returning emails, making phone calls, dealing with money stuff, researching grants, prepping for workshops,  facilitating workshops, getting the word out about upcoiming workshops, and making lists of what else needs doing. So many of you know this already: when you’re starting a business/organization, you do all the jobs. You’re the admin person and the outreach person and the fund-raising/grants person and the programs person. All those jobs have to find their place in your time somewhere, and often that means in the evenings or weekends. The workshops become what I think about, almost all the time. In the back of my mind, continually, is a running list, this inside voice, asking: did I call that person back yet? did I return that inquiry? when’s the deadline for that proposal?  have I heard back from that organization yet?

It’s easy to get somewhat (!) overwhelmed. And so it is that my downtime can look really down, really quiet, really dis-engaged: some tv or a bad movie, time to spend some hours reading a novel, or even applesauce-making. These sorts of activities let my brain go quiet, let some other sorts of thinking happen, let new solutions and ideas bubble up and around without my trying to force them out or onto a list or into structure before they’re ready. Time when I’m not racing from one appointment to the next is so necessary — time to really slow down, time to break, integrate, even play.

What I’m grateful for is all the conversation now about self care, about making space for rest and rejuvenation, for integration and replenishment. When I don’t make that space for myself, I get manic, overwhelmed, and soon decide that the real next best ting for me to do is leave everything and go off to an isolated house on the coast of Mexico and just write and fish. Someday maybe that’ll be what I do — but I’d prefer to have it be intentional rather than an extreme reaction to being on people-overload and just needing some downtime.

The place where I still struggle is in the ways that I take care of my body. I don’t exercise enough, and so I make intentions about yoga or jogging or swimming, and then I get frantic (or realistic, depending) about money and/or time, and then I don’t sign up for classes and I don’t do what I know would be so good for my mental health: moving. this. body.

And so I make a commitment here to go swimming once next week. I can write to you next Friday and tell you how it was. (I’ve added a reminder on my Google calendar!)

Fresh! and I were talking last night about that wonderful encouragement from Eleanor Roosevelt, that we ought to do one thing every day that scares us. And Fresh! has been working with folks on a daily-practice coaching program, where folks get witness and regular coaching as they take on a new task, a new daily practice, or start doing regularly something that’s scared them. Joining a gym or taking a yoga or dance class or swimming: these things can be scary for me! As much as I know I will feel so good after, I get scared about doing the moves wrong or not being limber enough or looking bad in my swim suit or whatever other thing is fizzling against my desire and drive to try and put it out and keep me in my inertia.

One thing, everyday: I’ve used that phrase to continue to commit to and grow writing ourselves whole.  And I can use it, too, to continue to commit to and grow my own self care.

A prompt, of sorts: Is there something that really has been scaring you that you also really want to do or try? Could you give yourself about 10 minutes today to write about that?

Thank you for your writing, for the ways you’ll be kind to folks today, for being there.