I am the queen of isolation periods. I can go weeks, just focused in my own little bubble and rarely communicating with the outside world. I feel like although we need to be social creatures and make time for friends, family and business, I do believe there are times when we can only rejuvenate by spending time alone. I personally am more productive when I wipe my slate clean and focus on myself and my goals for a while. Sometimes I do absolutely nothing at all, but catch up on reading and much-needed rest for a few days. Regardless of how I spend my time I always feel better, refreshed and ready to go after one of my isolation periods. Below are 4 reasons why I go into hibernation and how it helps to keep me productive.
1) Feeling overwhelmed
Sometimes we just simply have too much on our plate. It may be that we decided to start too many projects at one time or we started a new project that has way too many layers. It could also be maybe life has thrown you way too many curve balls at the same time. Regardless of the reason, we all find ourselves feeling a little burdened by life and all the things we have to do.
Once I start to feel overwhelmed I immediately go into a period of isolation. Let’s be honest, when you already feel like your plate is full the last thing you want to do is pile more on top. So instead I start to cut back on where my time and energy is allocated until the noose around my neck starts to loosen. That means I’m not going to social events, I limit the time I spend talking to and hanging out with friends and cut back on the time I spend scrolling through social media.
For this period of time, all I’m focused on is creating a plan of action and working through it so that my priorities are straight and I get what I need done in a timely fashion. By shutting myself off for a period of time, I have now decreased my stress level and feel a whole lot less overwhelmed because I have put myself in a place where I can focus on my priorities and not have to juggle so many people or things, which makes it easier to manage my time more effectively and get more done efficiently.
2) Burnt out
Burnouts are common and need to be dealt with quickly because they can really hinder productivity. When you are burnt out you are tired, frustrated and on edge. Most of the time your thought process is affected and so is your creativity. When you’re burnt out you are working in the negative and it’s hard enough for you to function, much less put real time and effort into anything.
When I feel burnt out I take a hiatus from everything! Everything comes to a halt and the only thing I focus on is getting myself back to a place where I feel whole in mind, body and soul. I spend a lot of time resting so that my body will start to love me again and catching up on things I enjoy but regularly don’t have time to do, like reading books by my favourite authors. I take the time to enjoy the little things and create a space of zen for myself so that I can rebuild myself from the inside out, so when I get back to the grind, I feel like a brand new person.
I feel like when you’re burnt out you need to be selfish about your recovery and that means you don’t have time to focus on anyone else. My friends and family have learnt to accept that when I’m in this mode I’m not dealing with their problems or issues, they need to have a backup person on hand to run to, because I need a moment to get myself right and I can’t do that being focused on everyone else and what they have going on.
I also feel like when you are burnt out you need to leave your projects at whatever stage they are at and come back to them when you are fresh. Trying to work on yourself but still staying on top of all the things you are working on is not going to work. Let’s face it that is part of the reason you burnt out in the first place. For me when I just clear my plate and focus on me, when I’ve recovered and get back to work, I find that the kind of work I generate and the ideas that flow are way better than anything I would have created when my brain was still feeling like mush.
3) Unsure of my next move
I can’t even lie sometimes I get stumped. I’ve either maxed out my creativity or hit a brick wall in my thought process. This is common for me because I find that I’m a person who functions based on inspiration. If I’m not driven to do it or write it, my brain literally sits at a blank, I can’t just write about anything or create just anything out of nothing. In these moments, I like to take a few hours or a day to search for inspiration.
Sometimes I’ll go for a walk because I find being outside surrounded by nature and life, actually helps me think clearer. Other times I’ll pick up a book and read for a few hours to see if I can generate some creative thinking. Then there are times I glue myself to the computer to do research. I’ll research current events and business ideas. I’ll spend hours just looking to see if there is anything going on around the world that I agree or disagree with that could inspire me to write. Or I spend time looking for different ideas on things I can add or do to improve my business and brand.
Regardless of the reason or the method, sometimes it’s just a good idea to separate yourself so you can find enough peace to make a solid decision on the next move you are about to make. Sometimes it’s necessary to kill the noise so you can find ideas and spend the time to do the research and put together the game plan to make it work.
4) Reconnect with myself
We can all relate to times when we get so caught up with our lives, our careers, our friends, families and lovers that we completely neglect ourselves and even lose ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I feel like a complete mess when I fall out of touch with myself. I usually get really down on myself and frustrated with everything. Over the years, I’ve learned to recognize these signs and I retreat into my own little world asap to rejuvenate.
I spend this time being absolutely selfish and doing whatever it takes to reconnect with myself. I usually invest my time into sorting through my thoughts and emotions, pampering myself and counting my blessings, reminding myself where I’ve come from and where I’m trying to go. This usually helps restore my drive and confidence so when I do get back to my regularly hectic schedule, I have a new found understanding and appreciation for the person that I am in this stage of my life.
When I’m trying to reconnect with myself, this is usually the time when I am completely off the grid. I only deal with my immediate priorities like work and being a mother, other than that I’ve got tunnel vision, I’m completely focused on myself and creating a good mental and emotional space for myself.
I believe that you need to carve out time to shut everyone out and just focus on getting in touch with yourself. We are always surrounded by opinions and people and things that pull us in way too many different directions at times. When we don’t make time to focus on ourselves and to keep up with the changes we are making as people, I feel like we leave ourselves in a really vulnerable and dangerous place where we can be too easily swayed and unclear about why we do the things that we do or why we love the things that we love.
Taking time to reconnect with yourself helps remind you of who you are as a person outside of who you need to be for everyone else. It also helps to keep you grounded and helps you to get refocused on your goals and dreams and make decisions on how you want to go about achieving them or if your current dreams and goals still reflect who you are as a person.
Like I said before, I know we are meant to be social creatures and as people, we do thrive by having people around us to support us and to bounce ideas off of and to vent to. I do believe, however, that the only person you need on your team sometimes is yourself. If you’ve exhausted all other options and still feel like you're stuck, trust me, try going into a period of isolation. Force yourself to focus on yourself and enjoy your own company and watch and see if it doesn’t make a difference in your life. It doesn’t make you a bad person if sometimes the only thing you have the energy to focus on is you and the things in your life that you are trying to put into perspective. The people who love you and support you will understand; just make sure you warn them first!