Kara Gordon

Returnings

A fortnightly letter to the people going at 100 miles an hour. We all have the things that keep us grounded: to-do lists, morning routines, communities, and rituals to keep us sane. But when things get tough, they often fall to the wayside. Here's a reminder to refuel.

Kick Into Overdrive

We all have the days when we're burning the candle at both ends and, I don't know about you, but mine tend to hit after right after a holiday. The Fourth was perfect. I was really behind on some personal work but I was able to get up, go through my weekday morning routine, and go to my favorite neighborhood café to kick my brain into gear. I worked for a couple hours before heading to an easy flow class, then worked for a couple more hours before heading to a pre-fireworks dinner. This was the view:

Then I woke up yesterday and, as soon as the coffee kicked in, my mind started racing. It took hours of bouncing around different projects to finally focus. Even though I had a lot of energy and it would have been impossible, my instinct was to curl up in a ball and sleep. Things are busy in the studio at my full-time job, I have several side projects with looming deadlines, and I'm starting to feel the pressure.

Sleep is often my response to stress. When I get overloaded and I don't voluntarily slow down, my body does it for me. Once, during my junior year of college, it got to the point where I could not make myself get out of bed for a week. My boyfriend at the time physically had to pick me up out of bed, set me on the floor, dress me, and drive me to class. If you stay in overdrive for too long, you will crash.

Thankfully, that kind of crash hasn't happened to me in awhile. I've gotten a lot better at listening to my body's physical cues that are trying to tell me to push on the brakes. They're really easy to ignore—maybe on the inside everything is telling me to slow down, but everything outside of me is saying I can't. Life is busy. People are counting on me. There are things that need to get done. My instinct is to spin my wheels, but I know that will only make things worse.

Some things that are helping me ride this out:

  • I'm really lucky to have the time and means to have a weekly therapy appointment. Therapy is not, and never will be, a fix-all for me. But, once I found the right therapist, we were able to create a space in my week that allows me to examine what goes on in my brain through different perspectives. Some sessions are really rough, but I've come to look forward to this time in the week.
  • Even though I have a lot going on, I'm still going for runs and making it to my yoga classes. When my workouts start slipping, that's when I know something is really off balance. This is important time for me to be away from screens and to give myself a mental break.
  • Deadlines. I know: deadlines are currently the root cause of my stress. However, I also know that I do my best work under the gun. All of my current projects have end dates, and these remind me that this is both temporary and necessary for my growth.

I would love to hear what you do when it feels like there's too much to do. Subscribe here and take the survey!

xo,

KG

Kara GordonComment