how to live a less stressful life in 2023

Mental Health Lessons From a Year of Self Work

Welcome back to Creatives Crushing Anxiety! It is January 2023, and this is the first episode I am recording, probably in six months. I will dig into what I’ve been doing this last year because even last year, I didn’t record a lot of episodes in the first half of the year, but I am just so excited to be back here with you guys, and I want to talk about so many different things. So let’s jump right into it.

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So this past year, I got quiet. In 2020 I was very like I was like the rest of the year. I was in a new normal, but it allowed me to put my head down and start saving because I knew I wanted to buy a house in 2021. So in 2021, I worked like a dog, saved money, paid off debt, and built a house. And then last year, I was still in that mindset of “make more money”, which is not bad. A lot of things in my life have been easier the more money I make. It’s just, you know, how it is in this world that we live in.

I was working so hard. And I remember in the spring of last year, I was so enamored with client work. I have a good friend; she’s one of my work wives, that I worked with on several accounts over 2022 and even before that, we had like these intense simultaneous launches together.

So it was stressful. We would get up early, we’d be up really late. That’s how we became so close. But having that experience of just like the exhaustion and being so focused on client work, I didn’t make time, I’m not going to say I didn’t have time, because that’s one of the things that I’m being very mindful about is saying I don’t have time, versus I didn’t make time. Because yes, time is a limited resource, but we choose how we spend it, and having the wherewithal to acknowledge that is big.

Back to my original thought, when you’re in that phase and you’re just exhausted, I hit a level of burnout that I had not hit in years because I’ve been so careful not to hit it. I’m not sure if I took on too much or too much that was chaotic. As a project manager and a person with high anxiety, being in a job where I’m constantly in reaction mode versus preparation, and following a plan is very draining for me. So I hit this level of burnout.

The last launch ended at the beginning of March. And I said I’m going to take a vacation. I don’t think that I’d taken a full 7 days in a row off since I was still at my day job. I took a trip to California with one of my best friends, and we had a wonderful time. I got to meet another work wife that I’ve only known online, who lives there. So that was great. It was just like a little trip and reset I needed to keep moving forward. So after that vacation, I returned to work, things were still busy but not as bad. And then, of course, different periods were busier than others.

I realized over the Christmas holiday that I was still very burnt out. I wasn’t taking care of myself in the way I knew to do. And in between learning that I was burned out and taking that vacation in April and November I realized that I spent much of that time on client work and nesting.

I realized looking back I didn’t nest when I first got my house.. Most of the stuff was set up within a week because I’m that person, but I hadn’t just let myself make it home. Even though it felt like home, I wanted to be here, to experience what I liked and what we didn’t like, and make this place my place. So I was doing all of that. After giving myself some space I was finding myself [having] more ideas and creativity just coming to me. Things that I wanted to talk about on the podcast. Before that I’d sat down several times last year after I produced the series all about my methodology to buy my house after that episode, I’d set down a few times over those couple of months, and said, Okay, this is going to be the new podcast that was as we’re going to start in August….. We’re going to start in September….We’re going to start in November….. Oh, we’re just going to start next year. And even this episode that I’m recording right now is January 10.

I’m excited about it [to be recording again]. It doesn’t feel like a drain; it doesn’t feel like a box I’m checking, and that’s what’s important to me. I always tell my clients that consistency is best. And I agree with that. I agree with getting yourself out there, but I have decided to give myself the grace. I already have 100 episodes of this show.

Yes, I want to keep doing solo episodes; yes, I want to keep doing interviews and yes, I want to keep doing the series. But I don’t know if this will be weekly or bi-weekly. I may come in when I have something to say, which can be frustrating, and it may look like this year, I have the stuff to say every week, but I’m giving myself that grace. When I create, it’s coming from a place where this is stuff I want to share. It is stuff that you will find valuable. It is stuff that will help you versus me just coming on here and being like “ten tips for blah, blah, blah,” because I should do something. So that’s where I’ve been; I have been healing.

I’ve been quiet, making moves, and thinking. So often, in this world, we feel like if no one sees it, it doesn’t happen. And I am living proof that some of the most magical things happen when no one notices, and that’s why many people think that people have overnight success stories. And it’s like, no, you just didn’t see the work.

I always hear different gurus say, don’t tell, don’t tell everybody your goals, don’t tell everybody what you’re working on, like have maybe one or two people, people that you trust, that you can talk to you about things but do not feel the need to just because that can hinder it when there are other people involved. I’ve been doing a lot of of that and working on myself.

On the personal side, I decided in August, but I would wait to date for the rest of 2023. And that was amazing. It took so much pressure off of me, and not that I felt like I was trying to beat some timeline or get married. But just even going out with my friends. It was like, I can go, and I’m looking cute, but I’m looking cute for me and for the pictures we’re going to take. But I’m not worried about meaning and dude, so that was nice. And even now, it’s only ten days in, but I’m coming back, technically, onto the dating scene. It’s so fun and light-hearted, and I’m also less stressed. I can’t go. Maybe I’ll do a solo episode about the dating thing, what I’ve discovered, and some of the books I’ve been reading, but I’m just working on myself. I’ve heard many things physically and emotionally that have made it hard for me to show up in a way I always thought I was supposed to, and not that I want to do what I’m supposed to. But sometimes I would have these ideas of things I wanted to talk about on the show, like the idea was the end of it. I didn’t have it in me to record the episode or make notes so that I could go through the different points of the thing and go into depth. So because I didn’t have the energy and hadn’t done the healing.

I had a slipped disc over Thanksgiving break. I’ve been going to a chiropractor regularly and started seeing a nutritionist. Obviously, I’m still in therapy. You know, I’m a huge proponent of therapy if you’ve listened to the show before. I got back into meditating, I used to meditate every day, and for the past couple of weeks I’ve been getting back into it.

I want to take a minute. I have started using this app called Habit Tracker, where you put in the things you want to do regularly, check them off, and get reminders. And, my things are simple:

  • Eat Four Servings Of Veggies
  • Eat 2 Pieces Of Fruit, Or 2 Servings Of Fruit.
  • Don’t Drink Four Days Out Of The Week.
  • Meditating Every Day,
  • Working Out 4 Times A Week

I’m sharing this app with you because I’ve tried different apps like this in the past, and many of them are so strict on what’s in there. You can only use templates, but I was able to create my own goals, and that is important to me. I’ve always expressed that one size fits all is not the way to go for most things in this life, especially in business. Now all my goals here are personal, like physical, mental, and spiritual goals that I’ve set for myself, and they’re in my app. But not doing a one-size-fits-all where I have to do things like I can decide what I want to do, and I put them in there. It’s like clockwork every day, and it’s been easy for me to stay on track since the new year started. But yeah, I’ve just been healing, I’ve been making, I’ve been making moves.

I had a successful year last year, stressful but successful. And I’ve also started leaning into other services that I desire to offer and have been doing for years but not officially. I’m excited to announce some of that stuff to you guys, so keep an eye out for that. And one thing I thought about was the fact that we only get one life. I’m just going to share this story with you.

I have a friend whose husband is a perfectly nice guy. We’ve always gotten along. But he always asks me, “How’s the business going?” It feels different whenever he asks. Anytime someone else asked, I feel like they genuinely wanted to know. For some reason, with him I have this feeling he’s never bought into the whole working for yourself thing. So anytime I’ll be like, “oh, you know, it’s good, It’s busy,” or “I’m so tired this week, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And he’s like, “Well, that’s good. Because you know what happens when it’s slow?

That feels so toxic to me. I am sure it’s not with mal intent coming from him. It’s his preconceived notions, or I’m just interpreting something that’s not there, maybe some insecurities I have. (You’ll see the self-awareness that I’ve been working on perfecting, not perfecting. Ooh, no lets not even go down the perfectionism street. I’ve been working on being more in tune with why I react to certain things, respond to certain things, and take things a certain way, which has helped me in stressful situations.)

It feels like what my friend’s husband is saying, “Well, if things aren’t busy, if you’re not stressed out, you’re not doing well.” In his defense that’s how we’re taught, and you must work hard. Yes, you will have to work hard, but that doesn’t mean you must be stressed. That doesn’t mean that you must be breaking out in hives constantly. (That’s happened to me.) It doesn’t mean that you need to be laid up with the flu to slow down (also, happened to me). You can choose what it is that you’re working hard on, and I think that’s where the exhaustion and the burnout come when you’re doing things outside of your zone of excellence and genius, or you’re doing something that doesn’t light you up and you have to put in so much. It’s distracting you from doing what you like to have.

It’s all about finding that balance. It’s all about saying, Okay, this is my job, and I am good at it. This job isn’t necessarily my favorite thing in the world, it’s still work, but it’s something that I can do. And I enjoy doing it to an extent. But I leave that job at the end of the day. Even if you work from home as I do, I stopped working at 5 pm every day. And then I spend time doing the things that I love. I spend time making art, hanging out with friends, spending time writing, whatever it may be, and just giving myself that space. Because when you’re working in a space where everything is just bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, it’s a stressful situation.

You don’t give yourself that time to recover. I’m very protective of my weekends, but when you work like that during the week, you’re not enjoying your weekends.  You’re sleeping in, you’re taking naps. You’re not experiencing the stuff that lights you up, granted, a good rest can light me up. But with that, I want to break through that notion and help people realize that you have to do hard work. But only some things require hard work, and only some are worth your time and effort. And getting clear on what’s important to you, what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at doing, and what you may not want to do anymore. Creating a plan to how you can stop doing those things or do them less lets you have more space to do the things you enjoy doing. Because we only get one life.

I lost a lot of people in my life from various things, but we only get one life in the sense there will be days when you want to give up and quit, and you can’t. And I don’t mean that to be toxic, to say you can never take a break, switch directions or  rest. I’m telling you can’t give up just being here.

I’m sorry. It is an emotional topic for me. But life is so short, and you have to put in what you want out of it. You have to do things that you enjoy. You have to do things from a place of love and allow yourself to feel joy even when things are hard. Being able to sit in your feelings and say, ”I hate this client today.” Then I may be sitting there asking myself, “What is it about them that I’m saying that I hate? Is it the person or something they just said to me? Okay, it’s something they just said to me. Okay, well, what exactly did they say? What am I reading into it? What was their intention?” If I take away my perception and focus on how I can move forward.

We don’t have enough reflection in this world. I think so often we just go, go, go. And we don’t get to sit and feel our feelings, our emotions, or even face some of the things that we’re afraid to face, and we don’t get to process, so then it just piles on.

So yeah, that is all I wanted to tell you. I have a few more episodes I would like to record. So we will see how it goes. If you are listening to this episode and have gotten this far, thank you so much for joining me. If you are new here, check out some of the older episodes. You may notice a change in me from then to now. So this year, I may go back and revisit some of my favorite episodes from a new point of view because we’re all changing. We’re all growing. We’re all learning.Thank you again for being here, and I will catch you next time. Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai (Forgive any typos or errors)

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Mentioned In This Episode: 

Daily Habit Tracker App

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