Do you ever have days when you just can't seem to focus? Times when your 100% isn't as powerful as you feel you need it to be? Periods of your life when you have so much you need to do, but you don't have the energy to begin let alone complete all of it?
Yeah, me too. In fact, I'm in one of those right now. I've gone through this often during and before recovery. In truth, I think everyone goes through something like this whether they are recovery from addiction, living with mental illness or simply moving through the human experience. I reckon it's all part of it; though, that doesn't seem to make it any easier.
These times are bound to happen. Sometimes they last for a day, sometimes a week, sometimes a seemingly endless season. Sure we can say "This too shall pass" and of course it will, but what about all that time in between when we are expected to continue showing up in the world?
Today I'll share with you the top three things I do during these times to help stay above water long enough for this time to, indeed, pass. Let me start by saying these times are just as significant on the growth journey as those that feel really energetic and productive. Even in Winter growth is happening under the surface - that is how Spring can burst forth so vibrantly. So don't get down on yourself during this time or think that your healing is being delayed. It is all part of it and it is happening at the perfect time to aid in your highest good. Yes, I know it doesn't feel that way - believe me, I know - but after years of this going on and being able to witness it openly, I can say with complete confidence that it is all part of the same process. All that to say, don't stress out during these times with fear that you're falling behind. You are right where you are meant to be and being provided for perfectly.
#1 Give yourself extra TLC
My first desire during these times is to push harder. I fear I am not where I'm supposed to be, not doing what I'm supposed to be doing, not doing it fast enough - so I crank up the pressure on myself. This doesn't help the situation any, I never actually get more done and I miss out on the healing and growth that is intended for this time. When you're in this time it is important to offer yourself lots of grace, patience, gentleness and care. Make sure your basic needs are met, like food, water, sleep, bathing, community and connection. Then ensure that your softer needs are met, like offerings to yourself of comfort and love. This is the time to really cherish yourself not to add the extra weight of pressure.
#2 Prioritize Realistically
During these "Winter times" we are not able to operate with the steam and energy of other seasons. We just don't have it in us. That is completely okay. It doesn't mean something is wrong with us or that we're doing it wrong. Every season has its place and purpose. When you are in this season, whether that is a day, week or year, take an objective assessment of what needs to get done and prioritize realistically. If you have a To Do list of 38 things, it is likely that many of them don't actually need to get done right now. You may be thinking, "but Jace, you don't understand, they ALL need to get done." I do understand that feeling, but I promise it isn't accurate for any of us. Many things are nice to get done because they make us feel a certain way or feed into an identity we've accepted for ourselves. Some things feel important because they elicit positive or negative consequences from others, but sometimes we've just got to let people know where we're at and invite them to alter their expectations temporarily. Really in any given day only a few things truly need to get done right then and there. This is different for each of us. Do you best to look over your list objectively and decide what must be done now, what can wait until later and what can be deleted all together. This will be uncomfortable but it is necessary during these times.
#3 Accept Help
As humans we are designed to live, work and grow with other humans. It isn't a weakness; it is built right into our DNA and evolutionary makeup. No one person has every trait necessary for ultimate success. No one person can do it all on our own - though we are certainly sold the opposite notion (especially in the US). We all need help from time to time. It is a strength and tool to be able to receive it - and a superpower to be able to ask for it! When you're in your "Winter season" you don't have the energy or bandwidth to carry your normal load. That is absolutely all right. We're not meant to do it alone. Ask your support team and community for help. It could be asking your trusted neighbor for help with watching the kids for the afternoon so you can care for yourself. It could be asking your spouse to do the grocery shopping this week so you can put your limited energy to your income-generating tasks. It could be asking your friend to come over and sit with you or take you out for a yummy meal. Here is a little secret: People LOVE to help others. That is also built into our genetic wiring. We get a chemical reward for being in service. Don't you feel good when you get to help someone you love? Give them the same gift by asking for and accepting their help when you need it most.
If you're like me, all three of these things can feel uncomfortable - especially at first. In time, their rewards are so big and plentiful that it becomes easy to follow these tips. Just get started and allow yourself to be uncomfortable. It will be worth it!
With grace and gratitude,
"I have gained a better understanding of problems I have and the solutions for them.
After applying the tools that Jace presented to me I am now getting the
results I was looking for in my journey."
- John R, 3 years in recovery