Back in January, a dear friend asked me to think of my word for the year. I considered all the options. “Health” would have been an obvious one. Or “giving.” Or “love.” Ultimately, I decided on “flow.” To me being in the flow is like floating in a pool on a sunny day with a glass of cool white wine in my hand. It’s feeling lifted and supported and serene, even if things are changing around you.
Last week things were chaotic in my world to say the least. My long-time assistant quit unexpectedly, business went awry in the accounting department, and my husband was sent to the emergency room! On top of that, I had a 3-day conference scheduled in Dallas with 200 other extraordinary women entrepreneurs. If there was ever a time to feel like I was being pulled in too many directions, this was it!!
I needed to ground myself, and fast! And to trust that I could be a part of what was going on around me while still remembering the feeling of floating in that pool. Each morning, I wrote my intentions, starting with the reminder to “Go with the flow, Joanne.”
The 2014 version of me would have been frantic during this period. She would have been burning to protect others and to sacrifice herself on the altar. But the 2015 version of me? She rode it out and came through the other side proud and stronger and more balanced.
If you are struggling with finding your flow, I invite you to try these 5 steps to get you back to center:
- Start with your intentions. What do you absolutely need and want to accomplish for yourself? Think realistically about what kind of time commitment that will take, and be sure to include some extra time to decompress—especially if this situation has you wound tight.
- Prioritize! When life causes you to change directions, you need to think clearly about your priorities. I am a list maker. I have to take a few minutes and think about everything on my to-do list and then decide which of those things are absolutely necessary and which can be moved to later. Often we feel pressured to do things that aren’t actually that important. Be clear with yourself and make room for what’s important to you.
- Ask for help. You have friends, family or colleagues who would love to help you in a pinch. You might not realize it, but they’re there. Think of how often you do it for others and remind yourself that it’s ok to reach out when you need it too. A little help from someone else can go a long way, especially during stressful times.
- Nourish your body with the best food available. Eating highly nutritious foods and keeping hydrated is always important, but it is especially so during crisis. The more nutrients your body absorbs, the better able you are to function, and that is never truer than when you are under extra stress. Many people get headaches during stressful times because they are dehydrated. This can make a huge difference in your ability to manage your situation well, so keep a water bottle with you throughout the day. Remember to drink ½ of your body weight in ounces daily.
- Be gentle with yourself. If you are going through a stressful time, your body and mind will need extra support. Take a few minutes to decompress by meditating, reading, walking, or soaking in a hot bath…it really doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something that nurtures you. You will always have more to give when you take care of yourself.
Now, I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or via private email if it makes you feel more comfortable. If this is something you can relate to, how are you going with the flow in your life?