Well hello, there!

It feels like it’s been AGES since I’ve written a post on here! I took some much-needed (and pretty much forced) downtime during the last few weeks of the year and am finally feeling ready to come out of my cocoon.

2015 was amazing in so many ways.

I made so many wonderful connections through blogging & business, I took a solo trip to LA for BlogFest, I completed (and rocked!) my first Olympic triathlon, I had the pleasure of working with a ton of amazing women online and in the gym, I finally got to leave my J-O-B to work for myself full-time, plus so many other fantastic things.

But in the midst of all the awesomeness I was letting myself get caught up in “the grind”. “The hustle”. “The struggle”. Whatever you want to call it. I was pushing 17-hour days on the regular, partly because I thought I had to, but also because I felt there just wasn’t enough time to get it all done.

Daily exercise is such a normal part of my life now that it never really took a back seat through all of this, but I wasn’t eating properly and wasn’t giving myself a chance to recover and I ended up with a few injuries to pay for it.

I was repeatedly going through cycles of burnout. I’d get to a point where getting out of bed seemed overwhelming, so I’d force myself to take a day off, feel great, and then get right back in the swing of things the following day. No bueno. I liken this to draining and re-charging the battery on your phone. I’d get to about 20%, re-charge to 60%, then go again. I’d drop down to 15%, re-charge to 55%, and so on, until there was nothing left.

By the middle of December I had no desire to do ANYTHING. I didn’t want to train others, I didn’t want to train myself, I didn’t want to write, I didn’t want to do my “stupid effing expenses” (that phrase made it out of my mouth a couple of times), and I really just didn’t want to be here. I knew there had to be a more manageable way of running my business and my life, but I was too exhausted to think about it.

So I just stopped doing everything.

I did what I needed to take care of my clients and showed up to sessions, but beyond that I skipped out on just about everything else. I felt guilty doing this amidst all the “IT’S THE LAST 15 DAYS OF 2015 – HOW ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE THEM COUNT?!” posts, so for the most part I just shut out social media.

After a couple of days of recuperation I was starting to feel better, but I stopped myself during those moments of “well if I just did ____ now, I’d have less to do in January!” and really forced myself to not. do. anything. By the time my planned break from training rolled around the feelings of guilt had subsided and I was ready to allow myself to relax.

I visited family, bruised myself running around playing with a bouncy ball with my younger cousins, caught up on a ton of quality time with the boyfriend, treated myself to a spa day, went out for some lovely meals, went for an adventure in the snow, and binge-watched Broad City for four hours.

It was amazing.

seasons of lifeWithin the last couple of days of my break, I was ready to reflect on 2015 and think about what I wanted 2016 to hold. I was ready to get back to my clients and my routine, but this time I had a different perception about what I wanted it all to look like.

I made a lot of realizations about myself during those few weeks. I realized I don’t have as much of a handle on my anxiety as I thought – I’d just been masking it by being busy for four years. I realized that my business wasn’t going to fall apart if I didn’t publish a blog post and share it across multiple social media channels, or if I chose not to promote any sales during the holidays.

I realized I didn’t need to have my whole year mapped out by January 1st, and I learned that even though I may not have had all my goals planned out to a T, I know what my values are, what kind of person I want to be, and what kind of business I want to run. And I remembered a concept I heard at a conference last year:

The seasons of life.

Just like the planet goes through seasons – winter, spring, summer, and fall – our lives go through seasons as well. They might not correlate with our planetary seasons, and we may be in a certain season for years at a time. But it’s a normal to move from the summer of our lives to the winter of our lives, and it’s not something to try to hide from or be ashamed of.

I spent so long trying to stay in the summer of my life – trying to grow as a person, an athlete, and a business owner, trying to create products and content, trying to live with abundance – and I totally ignored when my innate need for winter came through. Which is SO not in line with my life motto of “own your shit” 😉

My point through this rambling is that I want to remind you that it’s OKAY to not do it all. It’s OKAY to not be everywhere at once, and to not want to be everywhere at once. It’s NORMAL to feel the need to hibernate and take care of yourself from time to time, and there is NOTHING wrong with giving yourself a break, even when you have the intention of continuing to make progress.

You can bet your ass I’ll be doing things differently this time around! I’ve got big plans, but I’ve also got a lot of years ahead of me. I have an idea of how I’m going to reduce the smaller things that don’t matter, and put my focus towards the things that will make the biggest impact. Because at the end of the day, we really only have today and the memories we’re left with. It’s time I listen to my own advice and enjoy the journey.

seasons of life

So friends, I’d like to know – have you ever found yourself experiencing the different seasons of your own life? Have you ever felt overwhelmed with everything that “needed” to be done, and if so, how did you combat those feelings?

Showing 10 comments
  • lauren

    Very well-written! This is such a good post, and I feel like a lot of people would appreciate reading something like this, letting them know it’s okay to not do it all. I actually did that – between Christmas and New Year’s I took time off from pretty much everything (except my full time job), and it may have been only a short amount of time, but it really did help!

    • Ariana

      Thank you, Laurel! Good for you for taking the time to take care of yourself. It’s amazing what just a little bit of time will do! With all the pressure to do it all it can definitely be nerve-wracking, but it’s oh-so necessary 😉

  • Susie @ SuzLyfe

    Yes, a great post full of reminders that there is a time and a place for everything. We don’t have to be everything to everyone at every time. You can’t be balls to the walls at all times! That can be really hard for a lot of people to understand and accept, especially with the social media influence with these personas of people who are perfect even when they are taking a break.

    • Ariana

      I agree – social media can be so wonderful for connecting people (like us! 😉 ), but it’s easy to get caught up in how we think things should be based on what we see.

  • Farrah

    The title of your post made me want to start singing Seasons of Love, hehehe. <3 I'm totally on board with what you wrote though, and I'm really glad you got to give yourself some downtime–I've definitely been doing the same, and although I also felt somewhat guilty about my complete lack of productivity, I like to think it was also very much needed. Being able to do nothing and just BE is such a luxury sometimes!

    • Ariana

      Haha! I’d be totally cool with it if you serenaded me with that song 😉 <3 I'm so happy you took some downtime for yourself! You SO deserve it! And yes - BEing is a luxury that shouldn't be taken for granted!

  • Carmy

    Amazing! I admire you so much for going the self employment route! Can’t wait to see what 2016 brings for you!

    • Ariana

      Thanks Carmy! I hope 2016 brings you all the amazingness you deserve!

  • Annmarie

    I am SO happy that you wrote and shared this. I have recognized in the last few months that I am also masking my anxiety by staying busy- it is starting to burn me out BIG time though and while I did take a few day break during the holidays, I need a REAL vacation and to stop getting caught up in the hustle and do what’s best for ME.

    • Ariana

      It sneaks up on you, hey?? I hope you’re able to find that time to rest and recuperate. You have amazing things to offer the world – we need you happy and healthy! <3

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