Slowing down is the key to designing life on your terms, here’s why
Since the beginning of last year, I’ve felt a deep call to slow down. It’s been an urge I’ve fought off for a year and at the end of 2022 I finally gave in. Having experienced a catastrophic episode of burnout in 2016, I know the signs and I’ve been able to stave off a full out emotional breakdown, but I’ve been on the brink for 12 months. Doing too much, overcommitting, people pleasing and saying ‘yes’ to things just for the money have been happening way too often in my life and in December last year I decided ‘enough is enough’.
You see, for anything to change or improve there has to be space for transformation. My best creative ideas have come at the end of a yoga class, when I’m about to fall asleep (this I find to be particularly inconvenient) or in the shower, not when I’m frazzled, overwhelmed and fed up. If this isn’t a sign that less is more, I don’t know what is.
So, I’ve made a very conscious decision to slow things down. In fact it’s safe to say that me and life as I’ve known it thus far are on a break in order for me to apply some self care and discover how I want to live my life. I’m far happier if I meditate every morning, I feel better if I do some exercise a few times a week and by exercise I mean yoga, I only run if I’m being chased. I’m a better human if I’m not worn out and I’m able to show up and serve both my photography and coaching clients more effectively when I don’t cram too much work in. Reducing my stressors is my current priority.
Now, let’s apply a dose of reality here. I run two businesses and I have expenses to meet each month so I can’t grind to a halt, open an ashram for one and rely on money falling out of the sky. I still have to work, BUT I have changed the way in which I work.
Here are the action steps I’ve taken to help me slow down without the aid of an 80 year old wealthy husband whose money I plan to inherit:
- Created a morning routine which involves writing down my goals (thanks Denise Duffield-Thomas for this) and meditating for 15 minutes along with calmly eating breakfast.
- Scheduled in a yoga class three times a week at 4pm in the afternoon. To make life easier for myself I use the Alo Moves app so I don’t have to leave the house.
- Said no to small jobs and pro bono photography jobs that I might have ordinarily done to help someone out (do I feel guilty for saying no? Initially yes, then the guilt is replaced by relief).
- Started to eat cleaner. I’m a 2 minute noodles for lunch kind of a gal, I have however swapped out the MSG laden bad boys for carrot and cucumber sticks. I feel better.
- Mapped out my week ahead of time and slotted in specific tasks on allotted days.
- Put less on my daily to-do list so I actually accomplish all the tasks I write down.
- Allowed myself to dip into my financial buffer so I can take a break, which is really what it was created for. I highly recommend taking a good hard look at your finances and creating at least one savings pot so you always have some cash in reserve (if you need help with creating this, please shout).
- Stopped comparing myself and my ‘success’ to other people’s. I’m exactly where I need to be and where I need to be is on a break.
- Evaluated my time spent to money earned ratio. Yes I ‘should’ be creating a bajillion reels to grow my Instagram account, however I’m not here to provide free entertainment for people in the hopes they might buy from me, a far more structured marketing approach with measurable results is what I’m concentrating on. I’ve been looking at which marketing activities generate the most income and it’s not a reel of me lip syncing to Kim Kardashian.
- Restructured my pricing for both my photography and coaching businesses so I can work fewer hours, have fewer clients but show up far more effectively for them. I’m all about quality over quantity when it comes to the work I do in the world.
Has it been easy making these changes? Not really. It’s taken every fibre of my being to stop myself from creating a ‘special’ offer to generate some quick cash rather than dipping into my money buffer, but I know in the long run the retrograding I do now will pay off in a bigger way in the future. In order for new ideas, clients, money and ‘insert whatever it is you’re wanting here’ to show up, there needs to be room and that’s exactly what I’ve created.
Feeling stuck spinning your wheels like I was? Know you need a change but don’t know where to start? I’m here to help. Please get in touch with me here or book an exploratory call here and let’s chat.