How To Know When You Need A Break
I’ve only recently begun to realize that I am some strange combination of extrovert and introvert. Is ambivert the proper term? I know- I’m not the only one writing about this phenomenon these days but I think there is something to it. We are often told we fit into one category or another, but both?!? Are you crazy? (Don’t answer that.)
There are a lot of reasons why I am relieved to know this about myself, but the main one is that I understand how to take care of myself so I can be productive and nurture my relationships in a way that works for me. You see, I get a serious high from social or work situations that require me to be “on”. Talking to new people and being the center of attention is really fun for me in the moment. But afterwards? Afterwards, I am exhausted and need a day or two to recover before doing it all over again. I’m still figuring out how to keep this from hindering me when it comes to my work, but it has been beneficial for me to acknowledge that I am in both baskets at once.
I’m learning, very slowly, to allow myself some recovery time the way athletes do after a grueling workout. In fact, I try to schedule my photo sessions and other work with some intentional time to do things that help me recuperate. Sometimes, that means staying home to clean my house and get my home life organized. Other times, that means going out for lunch with my sons and spending the afternoon at the park. And then, on the really difficult days, it means relaxing our screen time limitations and giving us all a day of rest and laziness. Because when you’re a mom, you have to give everyone the day off if you want one for yourself.
Today, I’m taking time to reflect and brainstorm and clean. I can recognize the signs of overstimulation taking a toll on me, my parenting, and my ability to slow down and breathe. So, I’m putting the brakes on and giving myself a little time. I’m throwing on a baseball cap and yoga pants and hiding a little bit, but allowing myself to have some space to be mentally productive and to think about how I can do more with my business. I need some quiet time that doesn’t require me to be “on”. Because as much as I love it in the moment, being an extrovert can suck me dry. I’ve hit what my dad calls the “terminally full point”. Granted, he's typically referring to food. But I think this applies to social situations as well.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because if you feel any of the things I mentioned above, I want you to feel empowered to learn why that is. What causes you to feel this way? How can you work with those feelings rather than have them work against you? What small step can you take today to make tomorrow better? You have to start somewhere, so you might as well start with something small right now. Make yourself a cup of tea and cuddle up under your favorite blanket. Write down how you're feeling, along with some ideas for managing those feelings. Do you need to block off time for exercise? Or maybe you need so spend some time in complete quiet to recharge? Everyone is different and only you know what you need. So start small and see what happens.
Don’t be afraid to keep learning about yourself because we humans never stop changing. And how can we be our best selves if we don’t know what makes us tick and keep ticking?