The Why and How of Letting Go

Over the holidays I took about a week of vacation from my business. This was very hard to do coming on the heels of what felt like a wasted November... a month where I had my gallbladder out followed by immediately getting sick with the death flu everyone was passing around. I swear I was in my bed more than I wasn't.

Needless to say, taking time off from my business was HARD after already feeling a bit behind. But I did and I don't regret it at all. In fact, even though my task list was growing, I was able to ignore (most) of what I often feel obligated to do. It was wonderful!

Why Let Go

Break Bad Habits
Before my holiday break I was in a go-go-go mentality. While times of putting our heads down and plowing through work is needed, it can lead to stress and skipping meals and forgetting to take the dogs for a walk (did I do that?). But we can just naturally accumulate bad habits over time when we have too much going on and aren't present.

After the break, bad patterns I had were much more easier to shift out of. That's because I wasn't in the habit any more. I broke the pattern with a break and could start habits (like walking more!) much more easily.

Reset Your Thinking
I was constantly thinking about certain things that were keeping me from refocusing on other parts of my business. My thought pattern was going down a hyperfocused path that wasn't letting other things in. And you know what really enforced the bad thinking??? Social media!

While my thoughts were mostly from a good place they weren't priority, but darn that social media making you feel like it is a priority with it's notifications and letting you feel like you are being "productive" by being on there.

Also, creative businesses MUST have time for thinking about things that can inspire, nurture and propel your creativity forward. 

Gain Focus
This goes along with resetting your thinking. Because I was able to clear out some space, I could start to see the things that I really need to focus on. I could see how waiting a couple days to respond to certain emails was totally fine because they weren't my focus. This can be VERY hard when you are task-oriented like me, but I promise when you let go of things you know aren't important or urgent, the things that are start to come into focus. 

HoW to Let Go

Prepare
I know that this sounds weird because "letting go" seems like it's supposed to be some completely unplanned catharsis. But why do we think letting go is like that? It can be ritual and it can be part of a pattern and prepared for!

During my manic/panic thoughts right before I was about to take a break, I kept getting overwhelmed by all the things I had to do before, after and during. So before my break I mapped out EVERYTHING I had to do and plotted the tasks over an eight-week period. This allowed me to see that not everything is due NOW and also I don't have to remember to do things because it is all written down. I felt a lot better on my break knowing I already had everything mapped out.

This may not be how you would prepare to let go, but think of what would help you let go. It could mean going through other rituals in your life (like when people in movies have a box of things from their ex and dump it in a fire... not sure how that applies, but that's letting go too!).

Brain Dump
I learned this from watching one of those Maria Forleo quick video things and I think it's brilliant. Basically grab a nice big pad of paper and spend 10 minutes (yes, a full 10!) and write down everything that comes into your mind. All the to do items, the worries and errand planning. All of it. 

Voila! Your brain is basically dumped onto that piece of paper. This itself is satisfying and helpful, but spend a few more minutes looking at what are things that are important and things you can control. You will start to notice if you are worrying about things that really don't deserve to take up so much precious space in your head.

Focus on the Present
As a Type-A worry wart this can be hard. I remember taking vacations when I had a 9-to-5 "normal" job and I really didn't think about work when I was on vacation. And if I did I wasn't really worried about it.

That's because someone else ran the company. I had my little section of the pie that was my responsibility, but I wasn't responsible for EVERYTHING. Now that it's all on me, I wonder about the future and all the "what ifs."

This isn't helpful for getting things done and having an organized mind. What takes us out of the present? Well, again social media is a big culprit, but so is our ego. Yes, just focusing on ourselves makes us anxious! Practice doing even little things like making dinner for someone (this could just be your family or significant other) gets our minds off of us and onto the now.

Learn to Be Kind to Yourself
Most of all, cut yourself some slack. You are probably judging yourself way more than anyone else is. Silence your inner critic in one of two ways. Think about how a stranger would actually judge you. Someone who just met you. Would they think you are failing? OR think of your situation and put someone else in it who is a friend or someone you respect. Would you be judging them this harshly (and if you would, well then you might be a mean person generally and should start being kinder to friends and strangers!)?

How do you let go? What does it help you with? Let us know in the comments below or on our Instagram.

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