How often do you have nothing on your schedule? Creating white space can help you stress less, stay healthy and be more inspired.
This week has been incredibly challenging.
After about a week of not feeling well, I finally went to the doctor and learned that I have shingles.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. If you had chicken pox as a child, the virus is dormant in your body. The virus can resurface as a rash and is often brought on by the perfect combination of stress and a weakened immune system.
I’ve been going nonstop for the past couple of years working full-time, building my health coaching business, teaching fitness classes, going through yoga teacher training, B-School and Nutrition School, and more. I’ve never taken time for retraction or white space.
While self-care has become part of my daily routine over the years, and something I talk to my health coaching clients about frequently, I’ve still struggled with over committing, over scheduling myself and dealing with the overwhelm I experience.
For a few months, I was scheduling a self-care night every week. I’d take the whole evening off, and just do whatever felt good. But when life started to get busy, my self-care nights were the first thing to go.
In addition to the painful rash that I have on my neck and collarbone, I have severe pain from my jaw to the top of my shoulder, an off and on headache, and a sore throat. On Wednesday, I took a two hour nap and slept for over nine hours. Being in constant pain is exhausting.
I admit, I’ve gone through moments of panic about all the things I need to get done but don’t have the energy for. I started off this month feeling motivated to launch an online challenge, teach some essential oils classes, and more. So I have this long list of things to do for my business.
But I really feel like curling up on the couch under a blanket and binge watching Netflix.
I’m also feeling so disappointed that this is happening in the middle of summer, when I would prefer to be spending time outside, riding my bike, swimming and being active.
While I typically just keep going, I’ve decided that I need to pay attention to this sign from the universe. My functional medicine doctor also strongly encouraged me to take it easy.
So I’m going to create some white space, time to just be. We often fill every moment of our days (I’m guilty of this). Even if we have a moment with nothing to do, we pull out our phones and scroll social media. We have this need to always be doing something productive.
White space has value because it allows us to avoid becoming completely overwhelmed, stressed and burned out.
Some ways I’ll be adding white space to my life…
- Saying no more often
- Not starting too many new projects
- Getting clearer about my priorities
- Reading books or magazines
- Going on walks
- Sitting outside
- Gentle yoga
- Watching documentaries
- Spending time with family and friends
I know this will be a challenge for me because I’m a doer. My to do list is always in the back of my mind, and I find it difficult to relax. But I’m committing to doing less for my health.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” – Anne Lamott
Have you haver had a stress related illness? What did you do to stress less?