Catching a Break

breakLast month, I did something very important, which I highly recommend for your well-being and entrepreneurial success: I took a break from posting a blog!

While I had a few ideas rolling around, none of the ideas inspired me enough to move forward. I took notes, mulled over the ideas, and ultimately…realized it was simply time to give myself a well-deserved break!

As I wrote in a FB post last month, I have been publishing this blog for ten years, and I learned early on to only publish what inspires me and feels important to share. Which is why it was easy for me to give myself a break last month  and why that lesson is part of the message this month. I know from past experience that when nothing feels inspiring, I will come back with inspiration after some time to relax and recharge.

Giving Yourself a Break

More and more, psychologists, brain researchers, and successful entrepreneurs are discovering how much more productive and healthy (and successful) we are when we experience regular rest, relaxation, and fun!

It makes sense, too, because we now know that the brain begins to lose clarity and become less effective when it is tired or stressed. If productivity and creativity matter, then giving yourself a break is essential.

You may even have experienced being overwhelmed and stressed, then notice that you feel so much better after a few minutes laughing with colleagues and friends, spending time with loved ones, getting some fresh air while watching clouds go by, or taking a drive in your car. These are just a few ways we can ‘catch a break’!

I don’t know anyone, employed or self-employed, who isn’t working long hours and juggling their personal and professional lives. The human body is not meant to work 18 hour days on an ongoing basis.The importance of building in some time to relax, mentally unwind, rest if needed, and find some joy in life cannot be over-stated.

Catch A Break Every Day

breakYou might be thinking: WHEN am I going to find time to take a break? Here’s the ‘catch’: We don’t need to take a month away from our work to benefit from a break! In addition our regular vacation time, we can easily build ‘break’ time into every day life.

In fact, developing a regular wellness habit of resting, relaxing, and having fun every day will make you less likely to need long vacations.

Below are ways you can develop a regular wellness habit:

• Set boundaries and Honor Them – If you’re not used to doing this, give yourself 30 days to commit to setting boundaries around your work and personal life, and the demands put upon you by other or yourself. Know what works for you, and make the boundaries clear to yourself so there’s less blur and more clarity!

• Meditation and Mindfulness – Both meditation and mindfulness provide important rest to the mind, body, and spirit. If you already have a meditation practice you love, that’s great. If you’re still working on one, consider Intentional Resting or even just taking time out to watch clouds or the wind in the trees. Nature provides endless ways to stop, notice, and watch (plants, animals, birds, bugs, wind, clouds, etc.).

• Exercise – Whether it’s full-on time at the gym, a walk around the ‘hood, or 15 minutes dancing in your livingroom, exercise helps us release built-up stress and is it’s own form of relaxation. Whatever form of exercise you choose, it’s suggested that we ‘break a sweat’, the body’s way of letting go of emotions and toxins (along with deep breathing)!

• Laughter, Joy, and Appreciation – For me laughter tends to be spontaneous, and my kitty is often the source of laughter, great joy, and deep appreciation. Find some sources of laughter, joy, and appreciation you can seek out every day. It might be a certain YouTube channel, or a favorite book or movie series. A gratitude journal lets you milk the joy and appreciation even more.

• Wind Down – I started doing this a few years ago, and find it contributes to sleeping very well at night. I set a time, at least a half hour before bedtime, to turn off all screens and (if possible) all lights. Backlighting on electronic screens send a signal to the brain that it’s *daytime*, which keeps us awake and unable to wind down before bedtime. Turn off all screens, and give yourself a good 30 minutes to be…mindful, meditative, or just deep breath while snuggling with your pet(s) or family. You’ll be amazed how much better you sleep!

The added benefit of developing a habit of ‘catching a break’, is that you’re energetic sending a signal to the Universe that you value your time, that you enjoy the journey, and that you are ready for more ways to experience value and enjoyment. Imagine what wonderful experiences you’ll bring into your life!

How do you catch a break every day? Share your experiences in the comments section, below…

Image Credit: Barry-Jansson & Associates
based on image from iciakp.


Nancy Barry-JanssonNancy Barry-Jansson is a Metaphysical Teacher / Mentor who specializes in helping creative and healing women entrepreneurs grow and prosper through their businesses. She has spent more than 33+ years with metaphysical studies and been running her own creative business for more than 23 years. Learn more at AffirmingSpirit.com.

Relishing the Renewal

As I wrote about in my February 2010 post, Aligning with Your Natural Creativity Cycles, once we have completed a large project, it’s not uncommon to desire a time for rest and relaxation. This is a normal part of the creativity cycle, and if we don’t allow ourselves this time, we often create illness or some other *road block* to provide it to us.

Now that I have completed the online portion of my latest project, a 7 part call series for small businesses entitled, Harnessing Your True Power: What to do BEFORE you take action!, I literally feel like I just gave birth to a HUGE baby with a 2 month-long labor!!!

By the way…

If you wonder why people charge for the audios and transcripts from these kind of series, take my word for it: It’s a HUGE undertaking, and most people wouldn’t do it in the first place if they realized it upfront. This is from someone who simply ADORED interviewing the experts and talking about this subject. That part, though adored, was only a fraction of the work involved! I worked nearly 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 60 days conceiving, creating, planning, preparing, and managing every detail of this series…and there were even more people behind the scenes helping *me*!

When you give birth to a human baby, the body’s hormones fill the mother with a myriad of conflicting emotions. I’m finding myself feeling similar conflicting emotions, sans the hormones. Part of me is ELATED to have this baby born, and  *out in the world* so I tell everyone about it, while another part of me…just wants to relax and sleep.

I recognize the latter emotions as a sign that I have completed the major creation phase of this project, and my mind/body, body/mind is ready to take a breather. I’ve learned to give myself this respit…it pays off! I stay healthy while I’m relaxing, and the next project benefits immensely. Honoring this part of me is not only good self-care, it’s good self-love. When we treat ourselves kindly, the universe mirrors that back to us in many ways.

While the major creative part of this project is over for me, I won’t consider myself *done* until the final transcripts have been provided to me, I do my magic-makeover on them, and they –along with the final audios– everything is officially delivered to all the folks who purchased the entire call series.

Which reminds me…

I also want to personally thank everyone who helped me get to this point, including all the experts who happily gave their time and promoted these calls, and my behind-the-scenes team that helped me with transcripts.

I especially want to thank those who purchased the entire call series before even a single call was available (talk about TRUST in what I’m about and what I offer!!!) and those who bought after listening to the calls…realizing this series was worth purchasing. Thank you!

Thank you for joining me on this incredible journey!

Thank you for summoning this information through me!

Thank you for inspiring this great resource!

Thank you for listening and sharing these calls!

Thank you for purchasing the series!

Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!

Once the orders are fulfilled, then, I will truly be ready to relish the renewal phase and…relax!

To get to that place of fully relaxing into renewal, I have a *secret*.

Relaxation CoachFortunately for me, I am working with two very special relaxation coaches who know me well…who also happen to be very furry and cuddly. They are intent on ensuring that I learn the proper way of fully, and deeply relaxing. In fact, they specialize in this and are equipped to pin me down, if need be!

If you are self-employed, I highly recommend working with such specialized coaches. If you aren’t so lucky to have your own relaxation coaches, I know your local shelter will be happy to *hook you up* with some! Your body and your business WILL thank you: Seriously, I’m not sure I can ever convey the power of this kind of coaching, whether it’s 1:1 or 2:1 or 3:1 or … OK, your city probably has limits, so check on those first.

So, now that I’ve shared this secret with you, if you don’t hear from me for a little while, you’ll know my relaxation coaches are showing me how it’s done! =^..^=

Effective Solopreneur: Aligning with Your Natural Creativity Cycles

I was recently reminded of the Creative Cycles and realized that it is not exclusive to artists, but everyone ~ as we are all creators of our life experiences. I share this
information with you now so you can begin asking yourself how you can use these cycles to help yourself and your business.
Are you aware of your creative cycles?
Are you taking advantage of their natural ebb and flow to enjoy creating your art, your life, your business?
About 7 years ago, when I was creating a lot of fine art watercolors, a fellow artist friend shared a small hand-bound bound book that explained the natural cycles of
creativity. To be honest, up to this point, I hadn’t even noticed that there were predictable cycles. Although, I had noticed that if I wasn’t creating in some way it was hard to
get the creative process going again.
The book was written by a woman, an artist herself, who was getting her Masters in Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, I don’t remember
he name, but this gal had noticed a creative cycle in herself and others and decided to self-publish a book about the process. She knew my friend and had given her one
of the hand-bound copies of the book, and my friend shared the book with me. So, I began reading the little book and was amazed how much it not only resonated but
explained a lot!
The author suggested there are four common stages of creativity: Gestation, Inspiration, Creation/Birth, Renewal/Rest. These cycles happen in a certain order, like seasons
of the year, but differ in their length from artist to artist, and project to project.
If you are a successful non-commercial fine artist or a writer of novels, whether you are consciously aware of them or not, you are successfully managing these cycles. If
you are just starting out or an unsuccessful artist, you may not be taking advantage of what these cycles can do for you. If you are a commercial artist, designer (interior,
web, etc.), these cycles are most-likely tied more to the projects you are working on for clients.
Here’s the breakdown of the four stages, as I recall them:
Gestation
This is the stage where things are quiet creatively, but you are feeling hopeful because you are noticing interesting experiences, gathering ideas, deciding what you want
to work on next.
Inspiration
This is the stage where you find a new idea that *excites* you. It might be a single idea, or one idea that quickly spawns many additional ideas. It may be something you
observe outside of yourself or something that pops into your mind. The topic feels juicy and pregnant with potential. You begin whittling down the ideas collected to decide
what you really want to focus upon.
Creation/Birth
This is the stage where you begin taking action toward materializing the inspired idea, from start to finish. The creator’s energy is high, and they often feel full of life and
vibrant. The work may take on a *life of it’s own*, possibly even going in a new direction not considered in the Gestation or Inspiration stage.
Renewal/Rest
This is the stage creatives enter upon completion of the Creation/Birth stage. Often, the artist has been focusing so intensely on the previous stage, that this stage may feel
like a shock. New or Inexperienced creators may find this stage comes relatively unexpectedly. Most creators might find themselves feeling low, possibly even feeling
depressed, in comparison to the high-energy stage of Creation/Birth. Doubt creeps in, and in this low energy stage, the creator begins questioning if they will ever do
anything worthwhile again. In extreme cases, a creator susceptible to addictions may do drugs or drink to deal with the low energy, doubt, worry, and fear. However, if the
artist is aware of these stages and knows *this one, too, shall pass*, they can embrace it and move through this stage relatively quickly~sometimes hours, versus days,
weeks, or months.
How Does This Relate to You?
For centuries, farmers have known to sow seeds, nurture the plants, and harvest with the seasons. Following the natural cycles makes farming easier and more productive.
The same is true for your business. When you read through these stages, above, did anything stand out for you? Did you find yourself seeing connections in your own
creative cycles?
At the end of large client projects, I often got ill or, at the very least,  needed to sleep 14 hours a day for at least a week or more. Prior to understanding the cycles, I would
often beat myself up about getting ill or needing excess sleep. I doubted myself and wondered if I was depressed, even though I felt optimistic the vast majority of the
time. Once I knew about this stage I realized it was not only to be expected, but a good thing that I could look forward to experiencing. I prepared myself for it and
arranged lots of self-care in advance knowing it would be most appreciated. As a result, this stage went from 2+ weeks down to a few days, sometimes just a weekend or
a self-care-filled-afternoon to recharge. Knowing about this stage, preparing for and embracing it made a huge difference!
I also began appreciating the Gestation and Inspiration stages more, instead of putting all of my focus on the Creation/Brith stage ~including the expectation of being in that
one stage ALL the time~I began to see how each stage had value to my creativity.
What stage would you say you are in right now?
What can you do to embrace this stage and prepare for the next one?
How can you use these stages to plan your business activities (including Marketing and Service/Product Creation) so they are fun for you, rather than forced?

I was recently reminded of the Creative Cycles and realized that they are not exclusive to artists, but everyone ~ as we are all creators of our life experiences. I share this information with you now so you can begin asking yourself how you can use these cycles to help yourself and your business.

Are you aware of your creativity cycles, or are you forcing yourself to be always “ON”?

Are you taking advantage of their natural ebb and flow to enjoy creating your art, your life, your business?

Creativity Cycles

About 7 years ago, when I was creating a lot of fine art watercolors, a fellow artist friend shared a small hand-bound book that explained the natural cycles of creativity. To be honest, up to this point, I hadn’t even noticed that there were predictable cycles. Although, I had noticed that if I wasn’t creating in some way it was hard to get the creative process going again.

The book was written by a woman, an artist herself, who was getting her Masters in Psychology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the author’s name, but this gal had noticed a creativity cycle in herself and others, and had developed a hypothesis about how to work with the cycles. She noticed that everyone benefited by working with the cycles, rather than against them, and decided to self-publish a book about the process. She knew my friend and had given her one of the hand-bound copies of the book, and my friend shared the book with me. So, I began reading the little book and was amazed how much it not only resonated but explained a lot!

The author suggested there are four common stages of creativity: Gestation, Inspiration, Creation/Birth, Renewal/Rest. These cycles happen in a predictable order, like seasons of the year, but differ in their length from artist to artist, and from project to project.

Here’s the breakdown of the four stages, as I recall them:

1 | Gestation

This is the stage where things are quiet creatively, but you are feeling hopeful because you are noticing interesting experiences, gathering ideas, deciding what you want to work on next. This stage comes after the creator emerges from the Renewal/Rest stage.

2 | Inspiration

This is the stage where you find a new idea, or series of ideas, that really feels *exciting*. It might be a single idea, or one idea that quickly spawns many additional ideas. It may be something you observe outside of yourself or something that pops into your mind. The topic feels juicy and pregnant with potential. You begin whittling down the ideas collected to decide what you really want to focus upon.

3 | Creation/Birth

This is the stage where you begin taking action toward materializing the inspired idea, from start to finish. The creator’s energy is high, and they often feel full of life and vibrant. The work may take on a *life of it’s own*, possibly even going in a new direction not considered in the Gestation or Inspiration stage.

4 | Renewal/Rest

This is the stage creators enter upon completion of the Creation/Birth stage. Often, the creator has been focusing so intensely on the previous two stages, that this stage may feel like a comparative shock. New or inexperienced creators may find this stage comes relatively unexpectedly.

This can be a very critical stage for creators because most find themselves feeling low, possibly even feeling depressed, in comparison to the high-energy stages of Inspiration and Creation/Birth. Unprepared, doubt, worry and fear can easily creep in during this time, and in this low-energy stage, the creator begins questioning if they will ever do anything worthwhile again. They simply don’t have the energy to contemplate something new, and often feel defeated because of the low energy levels.

In extreme cases, a creator susceptible to addictions may retreat to drugs or alcohol to deal with the low energy, and/or soothe doubt, worry, and fear. However, if the creator is aware of these stages and knows *this one, too, shall pass*, they can embrace it and move through this stage relatively quickly~sometimes hours or days, versus months or years.

The creator knows they have left this stage when they find themselves entering the Gestation stage as they gently begin gathering more data and being intrigued by new ideas of theirs or other creators.

How Does This Relate to You or Your Business?

For centuries, farmers have known to sow seeds, nurture the plants, and harvest with the seasons. Following the natural cycles makes farming easier and more productive.

The same is true for your life and your business. Do you force yourself to create when you really need to rest, or try to rest when inspiration is striking? Do you honor or resist your natural creativity cycles? When you read through these stages, above, did anything stand out for you? Did you find yourself seeing connections to your own creative cycles?

At the end of large commercial client projects (Rest/Renewal), I often got ill or, at the very least,  needed to sleep 14 hours a day for at least a week or more. Prior to understanding the Creativity Cycles, I would often beat myself up about getting ill or needing excess sleep. I doubted myself and wondered if I was depressed, even though I felt optimistic the vast majority of the time. Once I knew about this stage, though, I realized it was not only to be expected, but a good thing that I could look forward to experiencing! I prepared myself for it mentally, and arranged lots of self-care in advance, knowing this stage was on its way. As a result, my experience of Renewal/Rest dropped from from 2+ weeks down to a few days, sometimes just a weekend or a self-care-filled-afternoon to recharge. Knowing about this stage, preparing for and embracing it made a huge difference for me!

I also began appreciating the Gestation and Inspiration stages more, instead of putting all of my focus on the Creation/Birth stage ~including the expectation of being in that one stage ALL the time~I began to see how each stage had value to my creativity.

Here are some questions to ask yourself now:

What stage would you say you are in right now?

What can you do to embrace this stage and prepare for the next one?

How can you use these stages to plan your business activities (including Marketing and Service/Product Creation) so they are fun for you, rather than forced?

How can you combine these stages with your knowledge of the Law of Attraction to create true synergy?

I invite you all to share your insights and thoughts below in the comments to other readers will benefit…

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