KARINA SHEPHERD

KARINA SHEPHERD

My Spring Clean – thoughts from taking time out

Is it simply the stage of life we’re in? Could it be our fast-paced modern lives? Is it just heightened stress as a result of the global pandemic? Do we have to ride it out knowing that, in time, things will settle down?

You must know what I mean…

That feeling of overwhelm. Life is full, there’s no space. Days seem to pass you by where it feels like all you’re doing is parenting and working. You go to bed so you can wake up and do the same thing again tomorrow. You feel yourself crumbling.

To say these past few months have been busy is a colossal understatement.

Personally, I found that when we were amid the COVID lockdown, there was a sense of concern for the unknown but, also an enjoyment of the time spent with family, and time enough to simply potter. Then in the blink of an eye, an influx of people began travelling to the South Coast to escape the city and, so many of them were asking for home-made, nutritious, in-house catering.

There were inter-generational family celebrations, overdue gatherings with cherished friends and people just wanting a break from cooking, after months of not eating out. With limitations on the number of people able to gather in public spaces, gatherings were hosted in-house and it quickly became too much for this little business to take on.

Sheer demand totally outstripped our ability to supply!

Now, basic business strategy would tell you that when this happens, you grow your business accordingly. But I truly never envisaged the success of this small business to be what it is today. And, here’s the thing. I never wanted Dandelion & Mallow to grow big. That wasn’t in my plan.

I took some time out to consider this. And so began, My Spring Clean.

My Spring Clean

 

In late August, my daughter and I participated in a women’s circle. We had an entire weekend without socials or screens, and I loved it! I came home from that weekend, inspired for this to continue and thus, I decided to have the whole month of September off social media. No Facebook, no Instagram.

This social detox coincided with a HUGE September for me work-wise.

I had thought, that without social media, I would find myself with oodles of time and space. But that didn’t happen. Other than work, meditating, feeding my family, washing clothes and walking the dog, I had very little time to just be. Forget about being able to spend time with local friends, my broader family, or within my community. This lack of extra time helped me come to the realisation that I work way too much. Being on social media simply sapped up those little moments in-between.

That month I swapped the scrolling for reading. I listened to podcasts while I cooked, I played music while I cleaned…80’s and 90’s mostly. Anyone might think I was trying to channel a time before all this technology existed!

It took a little bit of adjusting in those first few days of my social media sabbatical. I habitually picked up my phone, subconsciously heading to the social icons all the time! My mind was always drawn to content ideas which I could post, and my eyes were constantly searching for photos worthy of a share.

After 10 days, I began to analyse the why of social media, and I was left feeling somewhat ill at how it had affected my mind. However, at the same time, I missed the online connection with certain inspiring and like-minded people. I felt a sense of loneliness.

By the end of three weeks, I was feeling calmer. In fact, I felt less pressure generally. I also found I had substituted news apps for the social ones as I was spending too much time looking at them instead. This meant they had to be deleted too. With news stories selected for me based on my preferences, what I was seeing had become repetitive and one-sided with the perfectly timed appearance of fear-based stories to pique my interest as it began to wane. From then on, I vowed to only look at the news once a day, via a search engine.

 

My Spring Clean

 

During my month-long Spring Clean, two very interesting things happened.

  1. My rosacea cleared more – could this be due to less stress?
  2. I had a massive cry during an afternoon meditation session.

It was clear I needed to go inward. I asked all the questions of myself, searching for some answers.

This time of introspection perfectly coincided with a family holiday to Byron Bay. Thank you, universe! I finally had the time, and space, to think. I immersed myself in nature, I moved and ate well, I connected with family and I read books. Without socials. It was so healing.

I would love to be able to wrap this up for you in a nice, neat bundle and explain to you all the answers I discovered during my Spring Clean and my time away. Unfortunately, I still haven’t found them, it seems my journey will continue. One thing I am certain of is, it’s time to set firmer boundaries around work and socials.

The other thing I’ve come to realise, in this time of busyness, where we are expected to juggle all the balls and do all the things. Why not allow ourselves to mute one of those pressures? I have found being off social media has been quieter for my mind, it has allowed me to be more present and deal only with what is in front of me and, I highly recommend it!

So, what about you? Have you ever had a social sabbatical and what was your experience like? I’d love to hear how time away from the online world helped, or even hindered, your life.

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