Friday, August 26, 2011

Take a Breath. It's Important!

When I began feeling a "burn out" coming on a couple of weeks ago, I knew I had to stop and pay attention.  Those of you who are crafting your own business (literally and figuratively) know what I mean.  You get weepy.  You're exhausted.  Your spouse/loved ones can't say or do anything right.  You're tense and the slightest thing will make you want to throw a plate against the wall.

Yup.  You know what I'm talkin' about.  It's time to take a break; maybe even analyze how you got here and what kind of changes need to be made.  In my case, I have a husband who is building his own business at the same time so to think we could have two people experiencing burn out at the same time is not a pretty picture.  I knew it was a situation I needed to grab hold of and handle quickly.

Some family circumstances found me actually taking almost three days off last weekend.  Merely by coincidence we had family in town from California ~ a Saturday lunch and a little field trip to my local gallery.  Sunday my beloved daughter-in-law was presented her Master's Degree and graduated from Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine (complete with after-party, of course!).  Monday was my son's (her husband's) 32nd birthday and we enjoyed a relaxing lunch at funky "Hamburger Mary's" in Denver.  Not that I could do that every weekend, but it proved to be a much needed break!  By last Tuesday I was refreshed, re-energized and ready to return to a full schedule of work.

So, yes, a three day weekend every week is out of the question.  But I did think about what I could do to incorporate some time every day to step away from work, out of the studio and renew.

The answer was right in front of me.  I have walked my dog every day (well, with few exceptions anyway) for the 14 years she has been with us.  Up until the last couple of years (duh - when I started my business) we walked in the 880 acre State Park that borders our neighborhood.  I couldn't remember the last time I did that.

[In an effort to fully disclose - I also had recently taken a break from my daily step onto the scale.  Just to see what would happen.  Two weeks without weighing in was an eye-opener.  Five lbs. of an eye-opener!  That's how crazy fast things can happen when I - literally - take my eye off the scale.  So I am once again indentured to the scale, back to recording every morsel that passes my mouth on SparkPeople and amping up the exercise.]

So the other day I packed water, my camera, the lens of the day (they vary) and my Boo and headed to the park.  It was early ~ about 6:45 am.  Our summer days in Colorado are still running in the high 90's, but early morning is still cool enough to warrant a hoodie.  So just as the sun was breaking the horizon, we headed down the path.

We fell right back into the wonder of nature we had been missing.  I stopped to take the occasional shot - framing it just so.  Boo stopped to smell almost every weed and blade of prairie grass along the way.  Patience is not my strong suit; but she's 14 now (that's 98 in people years) so I showed a little more patience with her.  She seemed to appreciate that.

And I have to admit, I found myself really being in the moment.  Oh, alright, at points I was writing this post in my head; but for the most part there were no thoughts of work, no thoughts of any personal situations ~ I didn't look at my phone once ~ we just enjoyed the beautiful Colorado scenery and a lightly cool breeze coming off the lake.

So, if I may be so bold, don't wait till you feel that burn out just minutes away.  Devise a plan to take time - every day - to step away and just be.  It has made me a better wife, a better pet-mama and a better producer in my own little studio.

Do it.  You deserve it.


  1. Beautifully put. Thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts. ♥♥♥

  2. Glad you took a break before you crashed and burned. I've been so crazy into etsy that my weight has slipped back on just a bit, which means back to sparkpeople for me too.

    Breathing is such a simple thing and taking care of ourselves should be simple, too, but it's not.

    Building that plan and using it before you are about to crash is so important. Sometimes we have to learn that over and over again.

  3. Thanks, ladies. {hugs} to you Lauren and Kim - you are so right about sometimes having to learn things a couple of times. :)