You may have noticed that things have been quiet on the blog the past few weeks. As summer winded down and we entered September, I hit a wall with my blogging and photography. Maybe you can relate to hitting walls in your life where things that normally give you energy and excite you fail to do so at some point. I carried around some guilt for a little bit about not doing enough creative work. If we’re being honest, if I’m not busy or chasing a goal, I’m often feel guilt that I am “wasting time.”
During these past few weeks with my low creative drive and general low energy, I decided to embrace it and take few weeks to focus on reseting and resting my mind and body. During this time, I gave myself much more grace to do whatever felt right rather than being rigid with my hurried to do list. At first, I felt the guilt of not hustling enough or maximizing my day. Something interesting started to happen though as I started to pay attention to the thoughts in my mind around my busy-ness: I realized that I have a lot of automatic negative thoughts! (ewww!)
As someone who believes they are pretty positive and optimistic, I was a bit shocked at what I noticed. My new found mindfulness of really tuning into my thoughts and body shed light on a dark place that I didn’t know was there. I will admit I sometimes do feel an underlying “unease,” but I didn’t know what was causing it until I was in this mindful “rest/reset” period.
These negative thoughts all centered around labels that I was putting on myself as it relates to my goals. For example, if I went didn’t go to the gym and do my scheduled workout, I would label that as “bad.” If I ate a doughnut to celebrate someone’s birthday, I would be “hurting/cheating” on my normal food regime. If I scrolled through my Instagram account and saw lean, muscular women, I’d think “you’re not there yet.” These negative associations were on repeat in my mind and a lot of time they were happening without me even realizing it. Do you see the problem yet? Without realizing it, I was having some pretty negative stories on repeat in my mind that are not serving me well. No wonder I wasn’t feeling 100% and my energy for life was low!
Turning off these thoughts is not like flipping a switch. These thoughts are habitual brain patterns but the good news is that they can be reworked and your mind can be rewired with the right focus and effort. Mindfulness, meditation and self reflection are great ways to turn your focus inward and dig deep into what makes you tick. I believe in our society we undervalue rest and we glorify busy. By not resting and saying busy, we end up like a hamster on a wheel doing, saying and thinking the same things over and over again. Schedule a reset time, take a break from your goals and reevaluate why your goals are your goals in the first place. You may find your goals that you’ve been chasing for the past few years isn’t actually what you want and it needs to shift. You won’t know unless you slow down, rest and reflect.