Taking a Body Break

I’m in the middle of doing a bunch of new stuff with my business and website. It’s all very exciting and good, but it is requiring a lot of creativity at the moment. My house is littered with post-its containing snippets of ideas. When I’m at the grocery store, I find myself pausing to email myself ideas. I spend long minutes staring into space while my creative brain does its thing.

In my line of work, I’m usually creating something. I adore creating. Yet, I’ve noticed that when I create something this large, I tend toward, let’s say, a little irritability. Certain members of my household have even used stronger language, like “grumpy.” And other words.

The other day, when I found myself being annoyed at my dog for sitting there and looking cute, I knew I needed to do something. What is it about this process that brings out my inner… er, grouch?

So, I got out my trusty mind-body journal again. I sat down and had a conversation with my body, emotions, and soul. I needed to know what was going on, and where I was getting off track.

Here’s what my body said:

“This creating is great, but please stop %$#@ sitting so much!”

Here’s what my irritability said:

“Space! Create space! There’s not enough space for this process!! ARGH!!!”

Here’s what my soul said:

“You need the space to create, and then you need breaks away from it, for the gestation process to happen. Schedule large chunks of time for creating, and then also get away.”

I immediately followed all the instructions. I scheduled creative work blocks in my week. I instituted “body breaks” into my day. And I planned some social activities that have nothing whatsoever to do with coaching, writing, or websites.

I felt better. Having the creative space gave my brain a sense of relief. It could stop trying to create all the time. I also created some meditation time, away from everyone, including my dog. I realized just being alone is something I crave.

I set an alarm to ring every two hours throughout the day. When it goes off, I get up and do something physical for a few minutes. I ask my body what it wants to do. It has asked for everything from a couple yoga poses to running up and down the stairs to lying backwards over my exercise ball. It also requires daily walks right now.

I am back to enjoying my dog. I have not bitten anyone’s head off in at least 3 hours. I feel more sane. I’m having more fun creating.

What’s the moral of this story?

To me, it’s yet again the wisdom of the body. Listening to it, following its advice, and tending to its needs is making me more creative, more productive, and less stressed. From this vantage point, I look back to those years of chronic pain and my struggle to learn to listen to my body, trust its messages, and live my life based on body wisdom. Just think – what if I hadn’t learned that? Where would I be today? I don’t know, but I do know I’m grateful for the experience.

So, if you’re feeling a little off today, ask your body for some advice. Maybe you need body breaks, too. (I’ve noticed mine are really fun! And I get great ideas during them.) Maybe you need something else. All I know is, your body will tell you.

How to Ask:

Here’s an easy way to do it. Draw a quick outline of your body with your left hand. (Kind of like a chalk outline around a murder victim. Yes, I might have an addiction to detective shows.) Still with your left hand, draw a symbol, design, word, or whatever you’re called to draw inside the body outline. Let this depict any areas of physical tension or emotion.

Then, have a written conversation with your body. Use your dominant hand to represent you, and your non-dominant hand to represent the area of tension/emotion in your body. Start by asking, “What are you here to tell me?” Then, switch the pen to your non-dominant hand and answer in the voice of your tension/emotion. Depending on the response, you might need to ask further questions to clarify. Just ask whatever you feel like asking, continuing to switch the pen back and forth during the conversation. Before long, you’ll know exactly what your body is trying to tell you!