We get drained and exhausted, and this was what I did when I found myself in this position.
There was a lot more to both of these things than I thought there would be.
Of course, there’s designing the content, figuring out how I want to present it, then I have to figure out the tech and marketing side of both of these things…yet that isn’t the part that drained me.
It was the stress of it. The pressure of it.
It left me hitting a wall on Monday morning after I did my part to tell everyone about this podcast, and I felt so drained that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t have a creative or logical, or motivated bone in my body at the end of it.
Because I’ve been all work and very little introspection, I decided to participate in a daily tarot draw through August. Owl and Bones Tarot on Instagram has a set of daily questions that I decided to take part in.
In my exhaustion, I drew a few cards for the week ahead, as prompted: Energy/Let In/Keep Out/Mantra.
I drew the 4 of Cups, the Wheel of Fortune, and the Emperor. From those, I developed the following Mantra:
By moving with the flow, I open myself to fill my offered cup, unapologetically.
I gave in and flipped the fourth card anyway, to see what it had to offer: the King of Wands.
The King of Wands is a master of his craft, of the thing that lights him up. He’s also the master of Fire. This means that he knows when to fan the flames, and when they need to be tampered. He can find steadiness through his knowledge of how to balance his passions and desires.
That is the wisdom of my week ahead.
So I took the day off. I gave myself time to play.
I let the day move me and guide me and allowed myself the space to nourish myself.
While I’ve been diving head-first into building my business, I’ve left little to no time at all for my own personal enjoyments. I haven’t given myself space to be creative in the ways I feel most creative. I certainly haven’t looked after my body (seriously, I joined a gym three weeks ago and haven’t been once).
I have been in Fire and Air energy for all of July and so I took yesterday, August 2, to nourish the rest of my elements.
Since it was Lughnasadh (many pagans celebrate on the 1st, but I have always celebrated it on the 2nd), I decided to take the day and celebrate it. It’s a day of the first summer harvests, and a day of gratitude.
I went to the Co-op and bought as locally and ethically as I could, gathering vegetables, fresh herbs, edible flowers, local beers and a cider, getting myself excited to get home and bake some bread and make some stew.
I spent the afternoon cleaning the house, taking care of those chores that get put to the side when you’re too busy. I did those chores not out of necessity. They absolutely could have waited. But I wanted to do them. I wanted to take part in tending the hearth of my home, of honoring my personal patron, Hestia.
Then my evening was spent on the back porch, enjoying the evening, eating my cheddar and herb bread (made with chives, Herbs de Provence, local blond ale, and fresh edible flowers) and summer vegetable stew (with added stout to give it some power), while drinking Washington local, Finnriver lavender black current cider.
Responding to Goal-Setting & Celebrations
Why am I sharing all of this with you?
Because it is so easy to burn yourself out with doing what you feel must be done. We set goals, hard goals, ambitious goals, and we are determined to make them happen. We put a lot of energy into those goals.
But how often do we give ourselves time to rest after we’ve reached our goals?
Releasing the workbook and launching the podcast were two goals of mine, but they weren’t the end goal. They were steps I felt were necessary to reach the end goal. And they were worth celebrating when I reached those goals.
Sometimes celebrating looks like going out for a drink. Sometimes it looks like giving yourself a present. Sometimes it looks like skydiving. And sometimes it looks like rest.
While baking bread and making stew might not look like rest to many, it was rest to me. It was putting down business and making time for what I love to do, and how I nourish myself.
The key question then to ask yourself is what are you doing to nourish yourself? How are you filling your cup when you’ve completed a step? How are you taking time to honor yourself?
Take a moment to ask yourself this, and answer yourself before moving on.
What It Means to Celebrate
You might have noticed that I didn’t have a dinner party. I made dinner for me. Because it was about me being able to rest.
In coaching sessions, I often ask my clients to set goals, since that’s the nature of what we’re doing, but also to determine different levels of celebration when they hit key markers. What will they do when they get their wordcount for the day? For the week? How about when they finish their first draft? Their revision? Send out their manuscript for beta reading?
Often, what they come up with are treats for themselves, which is perfectly fine. It acts as a prize to strive toward. I would be lying if I said I didn’t do the same.
However, the best rewards aren’t necessarily what we set for ourselves ahead of time. Instead, it’s checking in with yourself when you meet that marker and seeing what you need at that point. Do you need a few days to just do nothing? Do you need some fun? Do you need to dance? To eat better? To move more? Do you need to clean? Do you need to just lay in the grass and watch the wind through tree branches?
Checking in with yourself at the time of your success is a great way to reward yourself. Consider which of your elements is running low, and do what you can to find that balance before you move on to the next check point.
What this doesn’t mean is using rest as a reward. It doesn’t mean neglecting yourself and using selfcare something you can let yourself have one you do the thing.
You should always be participating in selfcare.
What this does mean is that you’re then breaking down your tasks and goals into small, bite-sized chunks, and checking in with yourself when you complete each mouthful.
What do you need after you write 2,000 words in a day?
What can fan your flames after you’ve revised your 85,000-word novel?
What do you deserve after you’ve had the bravery to send your piece out to 8 beta readers?
How to Determine What You Need
Think about how you feel after you’ve completed a small task. Think about how you feel after you’ve completed a big task.
Most of us feel pretty accomplished when we complete something, and that’s the predominant feeling. However, there are sometimes undercurrents of other things: exhaustion, anxiety about what comes next, sadness that the task is over, etc.
There are ways to nourish all of those feelings and sensations.
There is no bad response to completing a task. Feelings area always valid. They are expressing a part of yourself, and the healthiest thing you can do for those expressions is to give them a voice at the table, and ask what they are there to really communicate to you.
For example, after my podcast and workbook releases, my brain had enough. My energy was low. What those were both telling me, my Air and Fire, was that I needed to do something that wasn’t mentally taxing. I needed to do something where I was feeling rather than expressing.
A good way to see where your energy is low is to spend some time—you guessed it—journaling on where you’re feeling drained.
This is effective if you have a deck of tarot cards that you can lay out for the following questions, without turning them over. Journal on the questions, then flip the cards and see where your perception and understanding of your situation lines up with your intuition and subconscious.
- In what area of life do I feel drained?
- What area of life lights me up?
- What is nourishing my passions?
- What is taking me away from my passions?
- What is taking away from my drive?
- What thoughts are inspiring me?
- What thoughts are holding me back?
- What inspires me in general?
- How do I feel about the relationships in my immediate circle?
- What can I do to be more compassionate toward myself?
- How can I nourish myself more spiritually?
- Where am I physically over-extending myself?
- What am I doing to support my body?
- How does my physical space affect me?
- What is the best piece of advice I can give myself?
If you do use the Tarot, pay attention to what suits come up the most, and which come up the least. That can give you a sign as to what might be in or out of balance.
Based on what you find here, you can see what you might need that would nourish you.
For example, if you find that maybe you are giving too much to your social life, then spending some alone time might be good for you. In which case, what is something fun, something that’s a treat that you can give yourself that will also nourish the part of you that needs to be replenished regarding your social life? Maybe going to see a movie on your own, a road trip on your own, or letting your friends do something for you so you don’t have to worry about it, but can still have fun.
Yes, you can absolutely celebrate your accomplishments, big or small, by treating yourself to a cupcake, a drink, a night out, a trip, and so on. These are wonderful things to be able to indulge in. But when you are taking time to honor the small steps you’ve done each day? That’s a good way to either go broke or develop some less than desirable, productive, or healthy habits.
By looking at celebration as ways to replenish what has been depleted, and enjoying the process, then you can work toward keeping up momentum and burnout.
Check in with yourself regularly, stay present within yourself, and see where your energy is starting to get low and do what you can to keep yourself topped up.
Get to Know Yourself
Want to see exactly what you need as a writer? I’ve got a free workbook just for you, using the Celtic Cross as a structure.
In this workbook, you’ll have over 75 pages of Tarot and journal prompts to see what is supporting your writing journey, and what might be hindering you.
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