fbpx
Coach Carlene

Let’s face it. Disappointment can be crushing.  And as hard as it can be to pull yourself up from your bootstraps and march onward, you’ve just got to do it.

But how?

Spoiler alert:  it has everything to do with your mindset.

You’ve got to have the right mindset to recover from disappointment in a relationship, in others, in yourself, or anything you put effort into, and it didn’t go as planned. You’re human so you’ve already experienced disappointment several times. I know. I’ve been there. 

Disappointment makes you feel defeated, like you’re a failure, or sad or frustrated or angry.. I don’t want to put words in your mouth—you feel however you feel. But it’s worth acknowledging that you’re having these feelings and the disappointment that started the entire spiral of feelings is painful.

Yes, disappointment hurts. 

Why Disappointment Hurts So Much

Disappointment hurts both physically and mentally. No matter how much you experience it, the pain doesn’t seem to hurt any less. You could feel tired, heavy, and numb, while others feel like the world is going too fast around them. But why does this happen? Why does it hurt?

This is really fascinating. When we’re in physical pain our body steps up and shows up for us to relieve the hurt we’re feeling by releasing endorphins. Our bodies do this instantly in response to a physical injury. 

But darn it anyway, when it comes to psychological pain, like disappointment, our bodies don’t deal with it at all. 

Neuroscientists discovered something obvious recently. That a neuronal “jolt” happens before every disappointment. There’s a sudden decrease in serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. 

Those feel good neurotransmitters responsible for your well-being, ditch you, leaving you to deal with the pain on your own.

Instead of the relief we crave during such occasions, many of us end up with stress symptoms such as migraines and muscular tension.

5 Ways to Move On From Disappointment

#1. Feel the Feels

Give yourself a good twenty-four hours to be sad, to be frustrated, to feel defeated. Acknowledge the disappointment, by naming and validating it. 

This can help you ride the wave of disappointment, which will pass with time.

According to neuroscientist, Jill Bolte-Taylor, the lifespan of an emotion in the body and brain is 90 seconds.

This means that in 90 seconds or less, the disappointment you’re experiencing will shift and morph into something else. So, sit with that disappointment. Feel it. You are safe. It’s only 90 seconds of your life. 

Now, once you’re past that 90 seconds, you’re still feeling sad or frustrated or like you got duped or any other feelings you might have. So, if you need a little pity party, you got twenty-four hours, my friend. Go there and do whatever you need to do—sleep a little extra, call a friend, cry, whatever that looks like to you—have your moment because we’re going to be moving on. But before we do, we’re not going to ignore all the emotions that are coming up for you. 

#2. Ask better questions

Don’t beat yourself up and ask, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why can’t I do anything right?” “Why do I always push people away?”

Instead ask:

What can I do differently next time?

What are the facts… what really happened here?

What can I learn from this?

This allows  you to get creative based on the lessons you learned, and that way, you will always strive to do bigger and better things based on the lessons you learned in that experience. You’re not trying to live in the past, and you’re not ignoring it. You’re just saying, “All right. What can I do better next time?”

#3. Normalize it

Simply, disappointment is part of life.  

Oftentimes, the build-up to disappointment is the same for all of us. Hope is great; it’s a wonderful thing that keeps us going. But it comes with a similarly great downside: disappointment. For instance, the more time we spend fantasizing about how amazing it would be to win the lottery, the greater our disappointment is when we lose.

Don’t stop dreaming, thinking that will get you out of feeling disappointment down the road. I guarantee, you’ll be disappointed years from now that you were too afraid to dream. Disappointment will find you. You can’t feel hope without knowing the flipside of disappointment. Remember, it’s what you do with the disappointment that matters. 

#4. Check yourself

Manage your expectations.

When you take a good look at your expectations, you will be getting closer to a true understanding of the event. Perhaps your expectations were unrealistic. Perhaps they could be adjusted a little to cope with this new reality. Either way, now is the time to question whether these expectations actually serve you.

#5. Move Forward

The beauty of life is that there’s always tomorrow to look forward to. If an event brings you disappointment, it doesn’t mean that you should shy away from it forever. If you can, try again. Identify your next opportunity and work your way to reach it.

Start small. Remind yourself of all the great things you can accomplish.

If what you’re doing isn’t working and failure seems to be a constant in your life, perhaps it’s time to create a different game plan. 

In Conclusion

Learning how to get over disappointment is a key skill in life, and will make things much easier to accept and move on.

But remember, disappointment isn’t all that bad. In fact, it provides information about the way you view yourself, the world, and the people around you. It also helps you better understand what’s important to you.

I see loneliness all over.

  • For the 20 something year olds, just starting out in their jobs working remotely.
  • For the elderly lady who lost the love of her life after more than 50 years of marriage.
  • For the parents becoming empty-nesters.
  • For the recently divorced Mom.
  • For the over-booked busy people who can’t find time to grab a coffee with someone.
  • For the retired, relocating to a new community.
  • For the awkward but oh so lovable middle-schoolers who can’t find their place at the lunch table.
  • For the college students. wanting desperately to find their people.
  • Or anyone, for any reason who is suffering from loneliness.

Feeling lonely every now and then is normal. But sometimes that loneliness can grow until we feel it more often than not.

It’s normal to be alone. Loneliness, however, is a state of mind. It can leave people feeling unwanted, unloved and left out. 

When we’re lonely we still want human interaction, but sometimes our mental state can make it challenging to manage. 

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that feeling lonely blows, but this goes deeper.

Feeling lonely changes the chemistry of your brain, and according to research, it can make mental health issues feel worse.

Loneliness can put you more at risk for developing coronary heart disease and dementia and puts you at a higher risk of stroke.

The good news is that loneliness is something we can all take steps to manage. 

If you are naturally more introverted ( me too) simply pushing yourself out the door can feel surprisingly hard, but it makes a huge difference.

Consider this the push you need.

It’s time to start putting yourself out there again.

And don’t limit yourself to only meeting people your age. Everyone needs younger and older friends.

So how do you do it?

I asked my clients and friends how they meet new people and I learned so much.

We put together the top 10 tips for you here:

#1: Check out phone apps.

Some favorites are Bumble BFF (which helps you meet new friends) and Peanut (which connects moms). I have never heard of these, but I love that this kind of connection has evolved past the romantic dating apps. 

#2: Every community has a Facebook group. 

Join it so you know more about what’s going on. Even if you don’t like facebook, give it a shot.  

#3: Throw a party, start a group, or host a book club. 

Don’t know anyone? Post a flier at the library or your local coffee shop. 

#4: If your town has an events page, check it out. 

I get weekly emails from a mortgage broker that tells me what’s happening in Nashville TN. I don’t live there full-time but I bet he is getting his info from the town event page.

#5: Sign up for a class.

There must be something you’ve wanted to learn; cooking, quilting, sewing, pickle ball or heck if you’re up for something more academic go for it. The point is to be with like-minded people. It will help you boost your connections and stave off those feelings of loneliness. 

#6: Join a gym. 

Over time you start to see the same people. I did this more than a year ago. Not only did I make new friends, but I reconnected with people from my old gym before the pandemic. 

#7: Volunteer. 

It feels good AND you’ll meet people who have the same passions as you. 

#8 Develop existing relationships.

Reach out to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Tell them you’ve been thinking about them and you miss them. Apologize for anything you need to (or heck, even just for letting life get too busy). Finally, suggest a time and date to get together and plan something to do. Don’t dump the planning on them. Follow-through, (make the reservation, order the tickets) it shows you’re serious about reconnecting. 

#9 Try therapy.

You may find that talking through your loneliness with a professional helps you uncover an underlying cause. You may find a way to combat any social anxiety and feelings of sadness. 

#10 Reach out to someone else who is lonely.

When you focus on making someone else feel better, it allows you to stop thinking about your loneliness. And you always feel better after helping someone out. 

Final Thoughts

Take it slow. Don’t expect to go from feeling lonely to suddenly having a jam-packed social calendar. You’ll risk burning yourself out and isolating yourself once more. Take small steps to increase your connections slowly.

Remember, loneliness is a sign that something needs to change. It’s not a sign that something is wrong with you. It’s a sign that you need to seek more connection, so banissh the self-criticism and get yourself out the door and spend meaningful time with others. 

You think managing time is the struggle. But what if I told you that’s only one piece of the puzzle?

I know. You wan’t a quick time management trick.

But, there isn’t one.

I work with people who all too often think they have a time management problem… They say, ” Carlene, if I could just learn to block my time better then I would be a SUPERSTAR at what I do.”

And yes, that will probably work in the short term.

But life will happen and you will start to notice that you have another problem.

So what’s the answer????

You need to shift your focus from managing your time to expanding your capacity – in other words – your energy, be it physical, emotional, or mental energy.

This is the secret sauce to getting stuff done – focus on expanding your energy instead of managing your time.

Here are 4 Key Shifts to Make

Shift #1:

From: Time Management
What you plan to do within a certain amount to time.

To: Expanding Your Energy
The energy you use within a certain amount of time.

Shift #2:

From: Time Management
Deciding what priority requires your attention.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Choosing when each priority gets your attention based on your energy.

Shift #3:

From: Time Management
Using a structured process for completing tasks in controlled environment.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Being adaptable to complete tasks, even in unpredictable circumstances.

Shift #4:

From: Time Management
Working for efficiency.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Working for effectiveness.

If you want to expand your energy to be more productive with your time, you need to ask yourself:

Where do I have limited energy?
Where do I have a limited ability to handle situations?
Is it emotionally, physically, or mentally?

While time is a finite resource, energy works differently.

Every one of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors has an energy consequence.

Energy diminishes with both overuse and underuse, so it’s important to balance energy use with energy renewal.

Energy is a renewable resource, but only up to a certain point.

Scheduling every minute of free time to increase productivity may seem like a good use of time, but it doesn’t account for the need to replenish energy.

Some tasks also require more energy than others. High-energy tasks can’t be done productively when your energy is already eaten up by an already over scheduled day.

Have you ever had more than enough time to get your stuff done but because you lacked the energy to be effectively productive, you never finished?

That’s exactly why time management is not enough.

3 Specific Steps You Can Take to Expand Your Energy So You’re Performing at Your Best.

Step 1: Start by setting your boundaries

No one knows your energy limits better than you. By setting boundaries for yourself, you simultaneously protect your energy levels and motivate yourself to achieve your goals.

Create boundaries for how little or how much you want to accomplish in a specific day, depending on your priorities.

For example, let’s say you’re a therapist and your priority on a given day is to meet with patients. You get to decide how many therapy sessions to conduct in a single workday.

You may say it has to at least be one, but no more than six in a single workday.

Or, you could decide that you never hold sessions with patients on Fridays – you hold that day to get administrative work done.

Setting these boundaries for yourself can help you stay on-track while helping prevent burnout.

Keep in mind that you may need to adjust those boundaries over time.

For instance, you may find that only one or two therapy sessions a day is too little time to keep up with your patient-load, and you’ve found that you’re capable of increasing your maximum number of sessions per day without feeling burnt out.

On the other hand, if you set your boundary to eight sessions a day you may find it necessary to decrease your numbers.

Step 2: Include Rest and Recovery in Your Plans

When managing your energy, it’s important to thing about downtime. It shouldn’t be an afterthought. Instead, rest and recovery should be planned out so that they’re part of of your schedule.

While it’s true that recovery takes up valuable time that could be otherwise used to work, it’s an invaluable part of a routine for expanding your energy.

For example, I end my day with meditation. This is very new for me. But I’ve found that taking time to be still and intentional with my thoughts improves my sleep and gives me the energy I need to have a productive day tomorrow.

When you give yourself time to rest, you’ll renew your energy levels and become more productive when you’re back at work. You’ll also experience more positive emotions if you’re rested.

Be sure to add this rest and recovery time directly into your schedule. This is important if you tend to get distracted by work.

Treat your rest and recovery time just like you would a doctor’s appointment. Even if you’re running behind on other tasks, resist the temptation to work during your scheduled recovery time.

Step 3: Keep a journal of your energy levels.

Unlike time, energy isn’t a constant. Everyone has 24 hours in a singe day. But energy levels will vary from person to person and from day to dy. This true for emotional, physical and mental energy.

There are several factors that will influence how much energy you have. To help you better manage your energy and get more done, keep a journal of what energizes you and drains you. You can track the elements in your work and personal life. These can include:

  • How much sleep you get.
  • Your diet.
  • The frequency and length of your breaks
  • Who you spend your time with (some people suck the energy right out of us, others expand our energy)
  • Physical activity or lack thereof
  • Types of tasks you perform.
  • What gives you negative emotions. (managing negative emotions is a huge energy drain)

Keeping a journal will serve several purposes to help you manage your energy.

First, you’ll become more aware of what you can realistically accomplish, depending on what your day looks like.

Here’s an example. Let’s say teamwork takes up a lot of energy for you compared to working alone. After too long in a team meeting, you begin to have difficulty focusing.

If you have several tasks that require teamwork in your day, you’ll know that you need to schedule more breaks and take it easy for the rest of the day. This will make sure that you can be productive during your teamwork time.

Second, you can make lifestyle changes to maximize your energy levels. For example, if you find that doing exercise energizes you, then you can schedule more time to get a workout in every morning.

And if you discover that long. and infrequent breaks don’t work for you, you can take shorter, regular breaks instead.

Finally, keeping a journal can also help you keep a pulse on your core values. What do you really value and want to spend your energy on?

Wrapping it Up

When you start incorporating ways of expanding your energy into your day, you’ll be amazed at how well all those time management hacks that have had you so frustrated in the past will actually start working for you!

Is your planning system working for you? If not, check out my mini-course,

The Fail Proof Planning System

Busy, busy, busy – mindlessly doing whatever pops up next.

This is how so many of us move through our day. We are constantly in reaction mode, pleasing everyone but ourselves. It doesn’t have to be this way.

You can choose to run your day instead of letting your day run you.

Let’s face it. Left to its own devices, your day can run you into the ground leaving you feeling like a failure at the end of every day.

Here are a few things that I avoid to stay on top of my game, especially when I start to feel a little burnout.

These things help me stay organized, on task and also give me a little bit of time and space to just breathe. What a concept, right?

#1 Avoid ending the workday without a plan for the next day.

I preach this over and over because it’s that big of a deal.

To stay on top of my game, I end the workday with a plan for the next day, and it’s in my calendar.

If I’m going to plan for five tasks tomorrow, five things that I’m going to get done tomorrow, like record a podcast, get on a call with my ads team, troubleshoot my quiz, whatever it might be, then I actually have time slots on my calendar for each of those tasks.

It’s called scheduling it. Give every task a time slot.

Have you ever sat down and wrote a list of all the things you’re going to get done that day, and then you only get half of them done?

Oh yes, I’ve done that and I’d look at that list and realize I never had the time to do all of it. There weren’t enough hours in the day to get all of this stuff done. And I was sick of feeling defeated every day, that I had a list of ten things, and only five got done. I felt like a loser at the end of the day.

The lesson here is don’t set yourself up to feel like a failure.

One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is a reality check of “What’s really possible today?”

It’s not about lowering our expectations, or going easy on ourselves. It’s about setting small, daily, attainable goals.

And when we accomplish these things every day it boosts our productivity, our confidence and our motivation. It creates momentum.

I always, always, always look at my calendar the day before. I’m never surprised in the morning about what’s to come. When I’m shutting things down at, let’s say 5p.m., I take time to look at tomorrow’s calendar and make sure I’m very clear about how the day is going to go. If anything isn’t sitting well, I’ll figure it out in advance, because I love to hit the ground running in the morning.

When you fiercely manage your calendar (and yourself), you win the day. When I’m done at the end of the day, I feel very accomplished and that hasn’t always been the case.

If you’re ending your workday feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, overworked, just mad that you didn’t get all the stuff done, try what I laid out for you here. You have to be really diligent and intentional, but you will win the day. I promise you that.

#2 Avoid hitting the snooze button.

How we set-up our day determines how we end our day.

It’s so common for many of us to hit the snooze button everyday. The amount of sleep you get never feels like enough, so you use your snooze button to tack on an extra 10,20, 30 minutes… whatever you can squeeze in.

Those stolen minutes – as delicious as they seem – aren’t worth it.

I’ve heard you should get up as soon as your alarm rings – but why is hitting that snooze button bad for your?

Turns our this habit is counterintuitive; instead of giving us a little more rest, it makes us more tired during the day.

The body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go back to sleep, your body thinks, “False alarm! I guess I didn’t need to do anything, because we’re not getting up after all,” and settles in.

When that buzzer goes off a second time, your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in the groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain get (“So are we going back to sleep or not?!”), so you’ll probably feel more out of it even though you spent extra time in bed.

What’s more, this groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling can persist for up to two to four hours.

This sleep inertia ads to difficulty getting our day started. It’s harder to get in the zone and focus. Our attention span is shorter throughout the day. We get cranky more easily and we give up on ourselves.

At day’s end, we feel like garbage because we didn’t get our stuff and then we repeat the snooze button habit all over agin.

The answer here is simple.

Set your alarm for the time you really want to get up. When your alarm goes off, GET UP!

#3 Avoid jamming your schedule so tight that you can’t breathe.

I have full days, like head down, 8:30 to 6p.m.

But I also have cushion built in my calendar.

You’ll see 15-30 minute or one-hour chunks of time with literally the name cushion on them. That means that between coaching sessions, meetings, recording podcasts or writing blogs, I give myself a buffer where I have space to breathe, go walk or cuddle with Kipp, refill my water bottle, grab some lunch, whatever it might be.

I always have a built-in cushion because I don’t want things to be so tight that one coaching session runs into the next or other tasks that take me longer than planned screw up my entire day. It’s like a domino effect everything falls apart.

If you can start to get into the practice of adding a little cushion to your calendar, I promise you, you will not feel so depleted and tired at the end of the day.

Wrapping It Up

Again, here’s the three things I avoid to stay on top of my day.

The first is that I avoid ending the work day without a plan for the next day.

Second, I avoid hitting the snooze button. Now that you know how it kills your focus during the day, I hope you avoid it too.

Third, I avoid packing my day so tight that I can’t breathe.

It’s one day at a time. Avoiding these three things helps me stay on top of my game and get a lot done throughout the day, throughout the weeks, throughout the months, throughout the quarters, and throughout the year.

I hope they help you too!

Looking for more support on taking charge of your days? Check out

THE FAIL PROOF PLANNING SYSTEM

Giving you all the coaching and tools you need to tackle every day with confidence.

When I was growing up I kept a pretty, pink diary hidden under my mattress. And of course, it had a lock on it. OMG, I would’ve died if anyone read my deepest thoughts, dreams, and worries. And I’m sure there were some secret crushes in there that absolutely had to remain secret.

Keeping that diary was so good for me and I wish I would have never stopped “paper-thinking” – or today it’s called journaling.

The last few years have taken its toll on me (and I’m sure you can relate) so I started journaling and it’s brought me so much clarity, and reduced my stress and anxiety.

So I want to share with you the 5 Step Technique that makes journaling easy – that won’t leave you staring at a blank page.

All of my fellow journalers already know this.

Getting your thoughts out of your brain and onto a piece of paper is often all the relief you need. Thinking about what you are thinking about on paper is sometimes just enough to allow you to stop the spinning thoughts in your head.

Now, you might think that journaling is just figuring out the garbage that you are thinking about during the day. Yes, that is one way to journal. But there’s more.

Journaling can basically be broken down into 7 categories.

  1. Your past
  2. Other people
  3. Things in the world
  4. Yourself
  5. Your future
  6. Gratitude
  7. Goals

All of these are things you can journal and write about.

So many of us sit around thinking all kinds of garbage about journaling. When you hear, “you need to journal,” do you think…

Ugh, journaling takes too long,

I don’t know what to write about,

This aint gonna help me do the darn thing,

I’m scared of what I might uncover,

I’m so ashamed of what I think so I’d rather not do it,

I don’t seem to go deep enough?

Here’s the problem. If you don’t change your attitude about journaling, you’ll be denying yourself major breakthroughs, a path to finally doing the things you’ve been too afraid to do.

We all got mental baggage that we can’t see throughout the day. But, the problem isn’t the baggage. The problem is leaving our baggage unchecked and unsupervised each day.

When you don’t see your default thinking on paper that means you get to see your default thinking coming true in your life in the form of self-sabotage, overthinking, or worrying.

And when I say paper, I mean actual paper that you write on with a pen or pencil. I don’t want you to type on your computer. I want you to write it with your hand. I mean, call me old school, but there is something powerful about sitting in a quiet room with a notebook on your lap and physically writing it down. Studies have shown your are having a deeper experience than when you’re just typing it. I’m not going to quote the studies, but I promise they’re out there.

So, here’s how I set up my routine. It’s very simple. I’m committed to ten minutes of journaling 3-4 days a week. I’m working up to 5 days. Yes, I absolutely could do longer than 10 minutes, and sometimes I do. But you have to set yourself up for success. So for me, 10 minutes is something I know I can do and a short-enough period of time that I will not let myself make any excuses not to do it.

Here’s the 5-Step Journaling Technique I use.

Step 1: Observe

The whole point of journaling is to just notice what you’re thinking about in any give situation. You want to ask questions that will get your brain willing to respond, like;

What problem am I trying to solve? What are the things I’m worried about today?

Another great way to get your thoughts going and get words on the page is to make a gratitude list because you want to explore some of the great things that are happening in your life, too.

You could also start with your to-do list for the day. Then ask yourself, “What are my thoughts about getting this done today? What are the easiest things to do? What are the most important things I could do from this list?

Remember, journaling for today can literally be three sentences about what you’re thinking. You just want to notice what’s coming up for you.

Step 2: Accept

A lot of people are judgmental of their thinking. I am one of them. When they observe their own thoughts, they start saying judgmental things to themselves like, “I’m ridiculous,” or “What’s wrong with me?” “Okay, listen. This is terrible. But I was thinking…”

Listen here. It’s not terrible.

Everyone has thoughts that don’t necessarily serve them. It’s not weird and it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Give yourself some grace. And when you do this, it takes the pressure off of journaling, meaning no thought is “bad”, anything goes, and it allows you to start taking some authority over this process of getting your thoughts and feelings onto paper.

Step 3: Neutralize

This is when you take all the inflammatory language out of your thoughts.

Instead of thinking and writing.

“Ill never be able to grow my business,” you instead want to write something like, “I’m in the process of trying to grow my business.”

You want to take everything down a notch. Take a look at the thoughts that you have that are highly charged with emotion and highly triggering.

I’ll go over my notes at the end. I’ll look for adjectives and adverbs and descriptors, and literally cross them out.

The goal is to strip your thinking down to a neutral place because it allows you to see more of the facts.

When the emotional charge is removed, you’re able to start thinking from a clean slate, which is way more productive and so much better for your mental health.

Step 4: Recalibrate

Ask yourself, “What’s my next best thought?

If you’re thinking something like, “I’ll never be able to build my business,” and then you neutralize that to “I’m building a business,” your next best thought might be, “I am doing all the things I need to do to build my business right now.” So your next best thought is, “I’m in it. I’m doing it. This is happening.”

Step 5: Activate

Ask yourself, “What’s the next move I can make?”

It could be, to just let it go and stop worrying about things you can’t control. Or it could be, I’m going to call that person I’ve always wanted to collaborate with for my business.

Answer it. No excuses. And do it!

Your Next Steps

That’s it, friend!

I don’t want you to get to the end of your journaling practice where you just feel bad. I’ve been there. It’s like I just literally threw up on the page and I’m journaling all the challenges I’m worried and frustrated about. I don’t feel like it was cathartic. I feel like I just complained for ten minutes.

That’s why I make sure I do this 5-Step Technique, especially when I’m having a really hard time, and I put a lot of negativity on the page. I know I’m going to gently massage these thoughts into something factual, honest, and actionable.

If journaling isn’t part of your daily practice right now, I want you to look at your calendar and schedule 10 minutes – that’s it – 10 minutes to work through the process.

It takes some time to get used to, and you don’t have to do it for every journaling session. But I really do believe that it makes a huge difference.

Now, there is one final thing I’d love for you to do, whether you’re new to journaling or not. Take out your journal and write down the 5 steps on the inside cover or somewhere so you’ll see them. (Observe, Accept, Neutralize, Recalibrate, and Activate)

Being introverted is hard – especially when the world is set up for extroverts. The expectation is that you be an extrovert, and if you’re not, well, be one anyway.

It’s crazy because they’ve found that the most effective leaders are introverts. That introverts are creative and change the world. Some of these introverts include Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Isaac Newton, and Van Gogh.

People think being introverted means you are shy, anti-social and boring.

Not true. Being introverted doesn’t mean we’re not outgoing, it means we focus more on inner thoughts and ideas.

Extroverts get energized by others, whereas we recharge through solitude.

Yes, the truth is that introverts are misunderstood. It’s up to us, to clear up this confusion.

Did you know that only 1 out of 3 people are introverts? Shout out to all my fellow introverts.

Research has found that introverts have a thicker prefrontal cortex than extroverts, which is linked to deeper thought, problem-solving and planning.

Introverts have more thoughtful and meaningful relationships than extroverts do. While extroverts love conversations, introverts think before they speak, leading to slower, more thoughtful communication.

Of course, this can be frustrating for our extrovert friends. And it can leave us introverts in the dust, never saying what we want to say because the conversation has moved on.

As an introvert, you can still be highly successful, no matter what field of work you’re in. Trust me on this one.

There’s tons of books out there on the differences between extroverts and introverts. But the goal of this post is to share with you 6 ways that I thrive as an introvert in this extroverted world. My hope is they will help you thrive too.

#1. Feel the feelings

Tell yourself, “I’m okay. This dread that I’m feeling is just because I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. But I know the rewards will far outweigh the dread.”

That’s the thing. You let yourself feel the dread, the worry, the uncomfortable awkwardness, the uncertainty, the feeling of being less than. Tell yourself, “I promise, it’s going to be so worth it.”

Are you willing to feel the feelings that are not the most desirable? The word that’s most important here is willing willing to feel icky feelings to get you to where you want to be? And if you just answered yes, my friend, you are golden.

#2. Manage your energy

You know you can only do so much of these types of things that zap your energy. Set boundaries about how often you do things that you know will leave you exhausted.

Also, after any event or interaction, really any situation where you’re putting yourself out there, you just need to block some time to be alone and just hide out for a few moments or a day afterwards, depending on the situation. Plan for it. Take some time for rest.

#3. Take a break in the middle of the overwhelm

When we’ve had large parties at our home, and I’m talking about with friends and family who I know really well and I’m super comfortable with, I take pockets of time to hide. I sound ridiculous saying that. I hide because I just need a little quiet downtime.

So that’s the weird thing about being an introvert, especially an introvert like me. I want to be a part of it. I get FOMO when I’m not invited. I want to be in the action, but I don’t. And that’s the battle of it all.

So when people are here or I’m at someone else’s house, I’ll go make myself busy cleaning up in the kitchen or just get a snuggle with my Sheltie Kipp. Then I come back in, and I’m good to go.

#4. Exit your comfort zone

Here’s what I know for sure about being an introvert in an extrovert world.

Unfortunately, there are times that I need to come out of my introvert tendencies.

There are moments where I must be an extrovert, meaning there are moments that I’ve got to show up. And the reason that’s important to me as a coach and entrepreneur is that I want to create a community and support people the best way I know how.

And hiding and not wanting to engage is not something that feels right for me. So I know how to be an extrovert when I need to be. I also know that when all is said and done, I’m still an introvert to my core.

#5. Acknowledge and use your strengths

It comes down to your mindset. Do you view your introverted personality as a downfall or as one of your strengths?

For example, one of my strengths is that I’m an expert (active) listener. I know without a doubt, that I absolutely would not be the coach I am, if I wasn’t an introvert.

In conversations, I like to sit back and let other people drive. I take things in and contribute when relevant. And if I want to be a supportive friend, I’m not there to jump in. I’m there to hear you, ask questions, and be a sounding board, and I’m pretty good at it.

What are your introverted strengths? Celebrate them and use them every single day!

#6. Tell people what you need.

It may sound something like:

  • I need to take a break
  • I’d rather go out to dinner with you and catch up instead of hanging out at a large party where I’ve got to make small talk with people.
  • I need you to be patient with me if I don’t respond right away. I’m very intentional with my words and don’t like rushed communication.
  • I need you to understand that I’m an empath and and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and I pick up on others emotions at a much higher intensity than others, causing anxiety and overwhelm. I’m okay. I just need a minute.

Wrapping It Up

Being an introvert doesn’t have to be a weakness, it can be a huge strength. Thriving in this world as an introvert is challenging. It’s a delicate dance. I don’t always get it right. And that’s okay.

Share this with other fellow introverts. We all need to know that we’re not alone, even if we mostly prefer some solitude.

No matter how much you love your work, how flexible its hours are, how much it allows you to balance work with life, eventually you’ll need to unplug and take a break to wash off the inevitable buildup of stress. On vacation you can relax in a way that a weekend simply doesn’t allow you to.

But all good things come to an end. It’s likely you’ll be dreading work toward the end of your vacation. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Here’s what to do before, during and after you vacation to get yourself back in the saddle as quickly and stress free as possible.

Before You Leave

Set up an Out-of-the-Office Message

This one is obvious but has to be mentioned. No matter if you plan to check messages or ignore them while you’re gone, this at least lets your co-workers and clients know to expect less or no communication. An auto-responder message will immediately respond to any emails you’ve received with your message letting everyone know that you are on vacation and when they can expect to hear back from you.

Create a List of Your Ongoing Projects

While it’s fresh in your mind, make a list of what you have to prioritize when you return. It’s easier than trying to remember it later, and your future self will thank you for getting organized in advance.

For each project, detail it’s status, and note specifically where you are going to start when you return. Retracing your steps wastes time and causes unnecessary frustration.

Hand Over Some Work That Can’t Wait

You could need some help to keep work moving while you’re gone. Ongoing work projects or active clients may need help during your absence.

You may want to have someone send out emails, blog posts, and social media posts while you’re gone. Or consider scheduling these yourself before you leave.

Lastly, give your coworkers any outstanding deadlines. Make sure to leave clear instructions if you want to avoid any calls asking for help.

Clean up at Home and the Office

Any good vibes from a vacation can be ruined quickly when you return to a messy home. Do the dishes, de-clutter the rooms, and take out the trash.

The same thinking applies to your desk or office. De-clutter the desk, organizing or throwing away the mail. Go through any stray papers and file or get rid of them.

Clean up your email. Delete old messages and reply to those that can’t wait for your return.

It’s hard to think about everyday chores when you’re planning a vacation, but you’ll feel more at ease if you return to a clean home and workplace.

During Vacation

Capture Ideas

Vacations have the incredible ability to add a fresh perspective to aspects of your work. You might come back from vacation and realize that things you were doing a particular way previously could be done better another way. You may have a great idea for a new program or product. Be prepared to have a small journal or capture these fresh ideas on your phone. If a vacation gives you ideas to make you more productive or serve people better, don’t let them slide by.

After Vacation

Add a Buffer Day

Don’t take a trip to the other side of the world and fly a red eye back the day you’re supposed to start working. Unless it’s a stay-at-home vacay, place at least one day between when you come back from your trip and when you have to start work.

This isn’t just to deal with some terrible jet lag. It can be a day of the weekend or an extra vacation day, but schedule a break between vacation and work

Some people call it a “vacation after the vacation,” but it’s really a chance to get back to your normal routine with the least amount of stress. There’s more to catch-up on than work when you return. Laundry, grocery shopping even sleep is necessary before jumping back into a normal work week.

Regain a Sense of Control

This means going through your emails, documents, news, and other messages to understand what’s been going on.

Schedule time dedicated solely to replying to emails in advance. If you schedule this before you leave the office, you won’t be scrambling the first day back trying to balance everything you need to do.

While going through your emails you will inevitably come across things that need to get added to your to-do list. Once you’ve captured them, prioritize those tasks on another list. These two lists alone will help tame the chaos and give you a good ideas what you need to do first.

Avoid All Meetings Except This One

If you have the misfortune of working for a company that likes meetings where an email or Slack message could do, resist all attempts to schedule meetings from the moment you’re back.

On your first day back, schedule a meeting with your assistant, business partner, key team member, or an accountability buddy to go over new priorities that have popped up, set your goals for the week, and to create a plan for how you’re going to get it done.

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

Take it easy at first. You’re allowed to pick up steam; few people will expect you to be fully productive from the second you start working. Write out the two lists mentioned above and going down the priority list, complete each task one by one. Avoid the temptation to multitask. Eventually, you’ll feel as if you’re back in the swing of things. Just don’t think you need to do everything immediately.

Plan Your Next Vacation

One way to alleviate the post-vacation blues is to plan your next vacation. It could be months away, but work is much easier when you’ve got something to look forward to. It doesn’t need to be a long vacation. It could just be an activity or long weekend. Plan something you’re excited about!

Wrapping It Up

What you do before, during and after your vacation all have a huge impact on your stress levels when you return. Implement these steps and the benefits of your vacation will linger longer!

There ‘s a huge difference between being “burnt out” and feeling “stuck”.

FEELING STUCK

Feeling stuck is a signal from your body, mind and spirit. The same way hunger or thirst is a signal. It means you need something.

When you’re stuck you need personal growth. Your life has gotten boring, stagnant, or predictable.

Feeling stuck comes from losing a connection with yourself because you are so bogged down with your day to day life.

You’re busy getting things done and you’re no longer learning anything new. That monotony makes you feel tired, complacent, and stuck.

BEING BURNT OUT

Burn out happens when you’ve had relentless demands or never-ending pressure put on you. Your nervous system is taxed and on edge.

You feel physically, cognitively, and emotionally exhausted, making it difficult to focus or feel good about yourself, your job, or even your personal life.

Being burnt out comes from chronic stress that hasn’t been managed correctly. This kind of continual stress leads to heightened cortisol levels and adrenal fatigue, furthering the cycle of making you feel tired and spread thin.

According to Psychology Today, one of the main signs of burnout is chronic fatigue. You feel physically and emotionally exhausted no matter how much sleep you get, how many breaks you take, or how much caffeine you consume… you just don’t feel like your regular self or get a boost of energy no matter what you do.

You feel disengaged and uninspired.

Instead of feeling invested, your feel detached which leads to losing your connection to yourself and the pride you used to have in your work.

You start to feel uninterested in things that normally bring you joy.

You feel like you might collapse if one more thing happens unexpectedly or gets added to your plate.

You find you’re more easily distracted or feel like you can’t get into the groove of work, even with tasks that you usually enjoy or love to do.

Solutions to feeling stuck:

  1. Get intentional about growing as a person.
    Pursue something NEW that interests you (sign up for a class, learn a second language, try a new hobby, or re-engage with a project that interests you).
  2. Spend time on things and with those that matter to you most.
  3. Celebrate every win!
    Small wins, my friend, small wins. They’re what keep you going. Do a happy dance, high-five yourself in the mirror. So what’s it going to be for you? Celebrate the the little stuff – because all those small wins will become a BIG sweet success.
  4. Keep moving forward!
    You must keep pushing on, even when you feel uninspired or down on yourself or just plain stuck.

    These are the moments that make or break you. Those “break” moments? That’s when I want you to cling a little tighter. Most people will quit when things get tough. Days will be filled with doubt and fear, questioning and exhaustion. But do you know that else they will be filled with? JOY! So much joy.

    Next time you feel uninspired, move through it anyway. Just a tiny bit of momentum can move you from uninspired to feeling ready to jump in again.

    There will be moments when you are digging in and it feels confusing. There will be days when you question if you are really cut out for this. Or maybe the ideas are just not flowing. Don’t quit! Keep moving forward.

    Progress not perfection, my friend. It doesn’t matter what pace you move at, just keep moving forward, okay? Forward is forward, that’s all that matters.
  5. Have some dang fun!
    When life gets too serious, your thoughts tend to get heavy. You are built to have fun. You are built to feel connected. So, if you’re in a “fun-drought”, plan something exciting to do this weekend. Not only will you get a burst of energy every time you think about it coming up, but you’ll get a second burst of energy from the experience itse.

Remember, you are a happy, passionate, and confident person at your core. Give yourself a break to reset or to start growing in new ways again. It’s the only way to get reconnected to yourself again.

Solutions to being burnt out:

  1. Talk to your family and friends for support.
  2. Self-care! Focus on getting sleep, good nutrition, exercise, social connection, meditating, journaling, and enjoying nature.
  3. Set boundaries with your colleagues, clients, and even family members for how much you’re willing to take on.
  4. Rest. This is different from getting sleep. This is about giving yourself a break.

    Studies show that rest can increase your productivity and efficiency. So if you need to lean on that fact to grant yourself the time and space, do it! If you can, take some intentional time away from work or at the very least create boundaries and get some accountability around holding strong to them.

    Maybe you can take a week, or a long weekend or an afternoon off. Maybe it’s as simple as shutting down email and getting off your screens.

    Rest takes work, especially if your tendency is to be working all the time. For me, resting takes conscious effort but it’s worth it. I have to remind myself to slow down, to not be productive and to do things for the sake of play.

THE BIG PICTURE

You can’t go on like this. Taking a break isn’t a reward. It’s your right. If there was ever a time to find the courage to ask for time off or to take it – it’s right now.

Whether you’re stuck or burnt out, you MUST tune into what you’re feeling and give yourself what you need.

Are you in a season that’s exciting and makes you want to jump out of bed everyday? Or, maybe you’re in a season where you feel kind of meh.? Or, maybe you’re in a season that’s stressful and exhausting and you can’t wait to get back to better days?

I’m in a rough season right now. It’s been grueling and has taken it’s toll on my relationships, my productivity, my energy, my focus, my self-esteem, and dare I say, my outlook.

I don’t want to bore you with the details of this season I’m in. Because, no one’s seasons are the same. Here are some different seasons you can probably relate to like; being a huge support to your grown/almost grown kids, taking care of aging parents. running your own business, staying in the game of your profession because, my gosh, you have worked so dang hard to get there.

Or maybe you’re in a season of transition; moving, becoming an empty-nester, divorce, mourning the end of a friendship that has run its course, a job change, retirement. The list is long.

Some seasons are full of joy. Others are full of sorrow. Others are little of both, AKA bittersweet.

I’ve come to learn that life is full of seasons and it’s how we navigate them that really matters. When a new season rolls around I get overwhelmed. I start to lose my footing, and as result, I become super vulnerable to anything that throws me off.

So, that’s why I wanted to share a couple different ways that I stay grounded, especially in situations like the past few weeks, when things have gotten really tough.

Here’s what has helped me stay grounded as I move from season to season.

Change Your Scorecard

We’re always wearing so many hats, and there’s only so much time to get things accomplished. If you are still measuring yourself by the high bar you set for yourself in a joyful season or a season where you were the master of your days and you are now in a season where your time is not your own, you need a new scorecard.

Why?

Because your priorities have changed. It’s time to change your expectations of yourself. There is absolutely no shame in putting things off for a few months or longer. If you’re in a really busy season you have to look at that calendar.

So, if you had all these projects you wanted to tackle but your time is now spent caring for a sick child, partner, or parent, you need to readjust your expectations. If you don’t, you’ll be constantly beating yourself up for “not getting anything done”. Trust me. It’s terrible for your self-esteem.

You should be measuring if you’ve been showing up for this person as best as you can. Have you brought your best self to the situation? Sure, you can keep one project on your scorecard, but lower the bar. I know that doesn’t feel good initially, but you will soon realize you just took a whole lot of pressure off yourself.

Remind Yourself You Are In A Season

One thing I do when things are tough is to remind myself that I’m in a season and that this, too, shall pass. The season I’m in right now is one I’ve been in for awhile, and it’s a whole lot of bittersweet.

Please hear me when I say that I’m not complaining. I’m beyond grateful to have my amazing family and friends. I’m so grateful for the business I’ve created and to have the opportunity to wake up and do the things that I love every single day. Truly. But just like you, I’m human, and sometimes it can be a lot.

By reminding myself that this is just a season and that it will eventually end, I’m able to rein in some of those negative thoughts and maintain a much better mindset.

Be Grateful

Now, on the flip side, when things are going really, really well – when you’re just hitting it on all cylinders, like, things are just moving and flowing – that, too, is a season.

I think about how I’m in a season right now that on one hand, I’m looking forward to getting out of, but on the other hand, I know there is an incredibly painful loss that defines the end of this season. Bittersweet.

Whether it’s a great season, or kind of a rough season like I’m in now, I’m just going to be grateful because I know the season I’m in now, I’m growing. And at the same time, I’m just grateful that I know things are going to move forward and change. And, if I was in an amazing season right now, I’d be grateful for it because I know it doesn’t always stay that way.

Breathe

When I started doing breathing exercises this year, I had no idea that I have the most shallow breath. It’s hard for me to take a really deep breath. Is it easy for you take a deep breath and count to four? Like, one, two, three, four, maybe fix, six? Can you do a little bit more and then hold it for four? And then let it out for eight? That’s what they do on the Calm app, I breathe in for four, hold for four, out for eight.

When you take a deep breath in, hold it and let it out, your entire body responds. Science backs this up. Deep breathing stimulates your vagus nerve that then calms you. I do this every morning before getting out of bed. Then you’ll find me throughout the day now just taking a moment, just taking a breath. Deep breathing gets me through those anxious moments.

Ask For Help

Finally, when I’ve got too many plates spinning in the air and I feel like they’re all about to come crashing down, I have to be brutally honest with myself. I can’t pretend that I’ll somehow get it all done. This is so closely tied to Changing Your Scorecard above. Lying to myself is only going to make it worse for me and everyone else.

Instead, I need to lean on my amazing family and friends and delegate some things that I absolutely need to take off my plate. Most importantly, I can’t be afraid to ask for support.

So, in this season, I’m not worrying about getting dinner on the table or grocery shopping. My family is so capable and willing to take that on. I’ve had to push some big things off in my business and focus on my 1:1 coaching clients.

Wrapping It Up

When a new season is upon you, reprioritize your scorecard, eliminating, delegating, changing expectations. Remind yourself seasons of life are normal. You will be okay. Just breathe.

My friend, whatever season you are in, know we are all in this together. Right now is the time to love yourself hard. Love those around you you hard. Give yourself the space to move through your priorities at a pace that feels manageable to you. And in the moments you feel like you’ve jumped into more than you can handle or life has just dumped it on you, remember that you’ve got this, and I am so cheering you on.

The trick to accomplishing anything is thinking you can do it. In other words, confidence is key. Many of the confidence killers we inflict on ourselves are thing we don’t even realize we’re doing.

But as with any behavior, these habits that slowly kill your spirit can be unlearned. The first step, of course, is recognizing them.

Check yourself to see if you have any of these 10 confidence-killing habits.

#1 People Pleasing – saying yes to everything

Saying “yes” to everyone stems from a desire to feel needed and liked. When you focus on pleasing others, you neglect yourself. Pleasing yourself is not selfish. It’s necessary. When you focus on your needs instead of everyone else’s, you reinforce that you matter. Stop linking your self-confidence to others’ approval. Instead show up for YOU!

#2 Using Always and Never

Your language is a reflection of how you feel about yourself and feeds your confidence, or not.

Using the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ is a common unconscious confidence-destroying habit that leaves you feeling like you have no ability to make changes, when that’s hardly the case.

Anytime you find yourself saying ‘always’ and ‘never’, you are destroying your confidence. Because of their seemingly absolute, black and white, all or nothing nature, you’re setting yourself up to feel hopeless, helpless and less confident.

#3 Maintaining toxic friendships

We truly are who we spend time with. If we are surrounded by people who are lazy, complain or have a victim mentality, then that is who we become.

If there are toxic people in your life who threaten your self-worth and significantly chip away at your self-esteem, it’s time to kick those relationships to the curb.

Seek out positive reinforcement, not haters.

Get a tighter rein on the positive influences. Hone your friend group and be intentional with who you surround yourself with. Make sure you’re surrounded by those who have your best interests at heart, and who love you and want to see you thrive.

#4 Bullying Yourself

You say things to yourself that you would never say to another person. These sound like, “I’m not good enough. I’m a loser. Or, I’m so stupid.” Constantly speaking to yourself this way will have the same effect as if someone else were saying those things to you, which can deal a serious blow to your self-confidence.

#5 Focusing on Your Weaknesses

The more we talk about our perceived negative traits, the more we will believe them. Not only that, but focusing on those flaws leads our subconscious mind to look for evidence that this belief is true and create new experiences to support it. At a certain point, these perceptions will turn into a self-created reality.

#6 Comparing Yourself to Others

When you compare yourself to someone who you perceive as better than you it diminishes your confidence. We have the tendency to tell ourselves that, compared to someone else, we aren’t qualified to do our job or lack the ability to be a good parent, partner, friend, or listener.

But by doing so, you’re likely to feel as if it isn’t even worth trying to live up to your expectations, thus enacting a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Instead, only compare yourself to those you can learn from. What are they doing or what do they have that you want? How did they get there? What attributes to you admire about them? How can you use this new knowledge to move forward?

#7 Spending Time on Social Media

Social media can have damaging effects on self-esteem and self-image. If negative comments or a lack of likes and interaction are getting you down, it’s time for a social media hiatus. Try to remind yourself that social media, in the grand scheme of things, is a pretty superficial place. And remember, the only validation that matters is the kind you find inside yourself.

#8 Not Admitting When You’re Wrong

Confidence is crucial, but over-confidence is downright dangerous. Knowing when to admit you are wrong is an important step in maintaining your self-esteem, because confidence doesn’t mean being right all the time. It also means being self-aware. You’ll learn that even when you make mistakes the world doesn’t come to an end. Own it. Admit your mistake. Forgive yourself. And move on.

#9 Neglecting Yourself

One of the main ways you can damage your confidence is not engaging in self-care. Not scheduling doctor appointments, cancelling training sessions at the gym, or eating like garbage send subconscious messages to your brain that you are not worth the time, money and energy necessary to lead a healthy life.

#10 Playing the victim

Thinking people are out to get you, that you are always wrong, or that you have terrible luck, are all damaging to your self-confidence. These thoughts can lead you to think the world is against you and that no matter what you do, it’s never good enough. Begin by reframing your thoughts to “That didn’t go as I had hoped, but next time will be better because I’m smarter now.”

When you are confident you will:
  • feel happy, valuable, fulfilled
  • feel worthy of the good things in your life
  • easily cope with life’s challenges
  • be productive
  • trust yourself to show up for YOU
  • stop looking for external validation because loving yourself is where true confidence thrives.

The fastest way to change the way you think about yourself is to change your behavior.

Identify which habits above you want to change and take one small step to start today.

Don’t forget to download your free confidence building guide.

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

“I’m exhausted and I think it’s because I don’t take enough downtime.”

This is what one of my coaching clients is dealing with.

Can you relate?

If you can, you are going to be surprised at the outcome of this coaching session.

Together, my client and I dove into what “enough downtime” meant for her. This lead us to her beautifully color-coded daily planner.

What we discovered was she had plenty of downtime planned in her schedule.

After peeling the onion, layer by layer, she discovered she was taking the downtime, but she didn’t feel like she experienced any of the benefits.

Hmmmmm.

So, what was happening during her downtime?

There were distractions.

She wasn’t present during her “me time”.

Like anything else in life, we have to be there in the moment to have the experience, no matter what it is.

If you’re not present in the moment, you’re going to miss your “me time.”

It means being intentional and committing to your downtime. It is sacred and should be treated as such.

It’s not about how much downtime you have that matters. It’s about how you show up for it – for yourself.

But isn’t the point of downtime to NOT have all that pressure of showing up a certain way – to just let your mind wander and NOT have to be accountable to anyone or anything?

Well, the answer is both yes and no.

Yes. It’s your time to let all the stress go. To stop worrying. To stop doing all the “shoulds” on your list. Yes, this time is about you and no one else.

And the answer is also no. You can’t be distracted during your downtime.

Here’s an example.

You decide you need some time to yourself and you’re going to indulge in some Netflix binging. And while you’re watching you are also scrolling on your phone.

Before you know it, the first episode is over and you have no clue what is going on. You fall asleep because you were never fully invested or present. Netflix keeps popping up the the next episode and the next.

When you wake, you beat yourself up for not even making it through your downtime as you had planned. You also know that you’re not going to be able to fall asleep tonight because you took a 2 hour nap. You also know, that tomorrow is probably going to suck because you know you’ll be exhausted.

That is the exact opposite of what downtime is intended to do.

Downtime is supposed to be your time to relax and get reenergized.

Here’s another example.

You grab your phone and go for a walk. Someone from work calls and it becomes a stressful conversation. You’re not paying any attention to your walk. You don’t notice the warm breeze, birds chirping, or the new spring blooms. You’re present with work but not with your downtime.

You get back home and you’re more stressed than when you left. Ugh.

Here Are 6 Ways to Stay Present During Your Downtime.

  1. No scrolling. You can have your phone on you for emergencies but other than that, don’t look at it during your downtime.
  2. No multitasking. Focusing on only one thing allows you to be present and take in the entire experience you’ve chosen – be it a bubble bath, a walk, reading or working on a project you’re interested in.
  3. Make downtime a consistent priority. Try to keep it at the same time of day. Then it becomes a habit, and you know you can count on yourself to take the time.
  4. Don’t let others in unless they are part of your planned downtime – for example, if you’re working on a project with a friend.
  5. Tell others you will be unavailable for the time being.
  6. Get creative with how you spend downtime. Something active like gardening, walking or baking can help you unwind more-so than a nap. If it’s something that interests you and lights you up, you’ll be more likely to be fully present.

Remember, the challenge is not finding more free time. The challenge is being present in order to realize the benefits of relaxing and getting reenergized.

Don’t forget to grab your confidence building guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

Taking breaks is the counter-intuitive approach to improving productivity.

Breaks should be a priority, not a reward for completing your to-do list. Listen to your body and know when to stop. Taking a break will help you perform better, get better ideas, and feel good about yourself.

WHAT IS A BREAK?

A break is a brief pause of work or physical activity. You decide to give it a rest with the intention of getting back to your task within a reasonable amount of time.

But do you fear you’ll never get back on task?

Here are 4 ways to ensure you’ll get back on task:

One: Set 2 alarms – one on your phone that you take with you on break. That is the only thing you do with your phone on break. And a second alarm in your work area that will force you to go back to turn it off – once you’re in the space, you’re more likely to start again.

Two: Tell someone what time you need to get back to work.

Three: Write on a post-it where you stopped and where you’ll start when you get back.

Four: Work for 2 Minutes – Telling yourself you only need to work for 2 minutes will get you started. Before you know it, you’ll realize you’ve been working for 20 minutes.

TWO COMMON MYTHS ABOUT BREAKS

Myth 1: Scrolling on your phone, watching You Tube videos, playing video games, essentially anything on a screen is a great way to take a break.

Truth 1: Anything on a screen is a big no-no. As this survey by Huffington Post suggests, activities like social networking can significantly increase stress. When you’re on a screen you’re more likely to lose track of time. It is also more difficult to get your brain off the screen and it does not give your brain the break it needs.

Myth 2: Breaks take too much time. It’s better to push through without one.

Truth 2: You think you don’t have time for breaks? Truth is, you don’t have time to NOT take breaks. Read on. You’ll find out why.

5 REASONS WHY BREAKS ARE INCREDIBLY VALUABLE:

One: Breaks are essential for your physical and emotional health.

Movement breaks, specifically, lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. Getting up from your chair to walk, stretch, do yoga, etc. can reduce the negative health effects from too much sitting. Just a 5 minute walk every hour can improve your health and well-being.

Two: Breaks can prevent “decision fatigue.”

Author S.J. Scott points out the need to make frequent decisions throughout the day can wear down your willpower and reasoning ability. Decision fatigue can lead to simplistic decision-making and procrastination.

Three: Breaks restore motivation, especially for long-term goals.

When we work, our prefrontal cortex makes every effort to help us execute our goals. But for a challenging task that requires our sustained attention, research shows briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation later.

A small study summarized here even suggests that prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance.

Four: Breaks increase productivity and creativity.

Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative. “Aha moments” came more often to those who took breaks, according to research.

Five: Breaks called “Waking Rest”, AKA resting while awake, helps consolidate memories and improve learning.

Scientists have known that one purpose of sleep is to consolidate memories. However, there is also evidence that resting while awake likewise improves memory formation. During a rest period, it appears the brain reviews and ingrains what it previously learned.

WHEN NOT TO TAKE A BREAK

If you are in a state of “flow” it does not make sense to take a break. Flow is characterized by complete absorption in the task, seemingly effortless concentration, and pleasure in the task itself. Simply enjoying what you are doing may be a sign that you still have plenty of energy for your current activity.

In short, if it ain’t broke, don’t “break” it.

7 TIPS FOR TAKING BREAKS SO YOU COME BACK RECHARGED, REENERGIZED, AND MORE PRODUCTIVE.

One: Walk or exercise.

Get moving. A walking break leads to more creative ideas than a sitting break.

Two: Get Outside

Staying in an artificially lit, stuffy office or home, all day might be a necessity for getting things done. But escaping that space for even a few minutes during the day can have huge benefits. Fresh air helps clear the brain fog allowing you to focus with a clear head. Choose where you go wisely. Walking in nature tends to calm, while city streets amp up engagement.

Three: Change your environment

Briefly leaving your work space and going to another area will help your brain rest and switch gears.

Four: Hydrate and have a healthy snack.

Opt for high protein, low sugar snacks. And always, always, be drinking water!

Five: Take a few deep breaths.

They don’t call a rest “taking a breather” for nothing. Deliberately taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on your breathing for just 30 seconds is a mini-meditation that can relax your mind and body.

Six: Daydream

Daydreaming gives the prefrontal cortex a break, taking you on a brief journey to your unconscious mind where chaos and creativity reign.

A report published in Science Magazine found that simply letting our minds wander by zoning out or daydreaming has similar benefits to meditation.

Letting your mind drift can help you come up with more creative ideas and help you problem-solve.

Seven: Have some coffee or tea.

Coffee could be a great way to bring your brain to focus on the task at hand. A study conducted on 2010 concluded that employees who take regular coffee breaks are more efficient and productive. A dose of caffeine can keep you alert, reduce stress, and help you stay active.

HOW OFTEN TO TAKE BREAKS

While the rule of thumb is simple: take a break when your brain feels saturated, different researchers have come up with different options.

  • A post published in Inc. Magazine suggests a break every 60-90 minutes.
  • The Pomodoro Technique advises working for 25 minutes followed by a 3 to 5-minute break, and then a 15 to 30-minute break every 90 minutes or so.

While it’s true that different durations work for different people, you should decide how often to take a break depending on the type of work you need to do. Keep the momentum for as long as you can and take a break after 90 minutes. However, if your thoughts start to wander more frequently, a short break every 20 minutes might be helpful.

MONITOR YOURSELF AND LEARN

As you take breaks, be mindful of the results. Which kind of breaks seem to help you become more creative, motivated and productive? Which kind of breaks just seem disruptive to your work? Notice what works and what doesn’t. Research on breaks is a generalization; only you can decide what particular strategies work best for you.

WRAPPING IT UP

By knowing you have a break coming up, you’re more likely to stay focused and work with purpose.

Breaks are an enriching way of giving your brain that much-needed rest. According to Forbes, taking breaks as self-care can literally save your life.

In our culture of doing, taking regular breaks can be seen as lazy or unproductive. But when done correctly, breaks are the ultimate productivity hack, because they let us do more in less time. So, stop glorifying long days and burnout-inducing hours and take a break.

You deserve it!