Taking a Day vs. Not Recognizing the Need for Downtime

We all have them. The pity parties. The days where that pint of ice cream just whispers to you “Yessssssssssss, you’re an adult. ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFASSSSSSSSTTTT”. The days when the world knocks you back a bit and you say the phrase WTF more than you’d like as a desperate question to the Gods rather than just an easy three letter comment on a gross meme in your social media feed.

The issue is, we are programmed to just go-Go-GO! And more often than not, we take a few moments to feel that feeling and then move on. We choke it down and distract ourselves by moving on to something else quickly, filling that little void of disappointment with a quick win.

What happens, though…. is we can let many of these small moments build and stack on top of each other, creating a tower of moments that wobbles precariously in the breeze of minor stumbles.

Well, the gusts of uncontrollable factors see that tower and just level it.

I had one such event earlier this week.

I struggled with the decision to write about it, but the point of this blog is to be true and real about what it means to lead a mindful life… so it HAD to be a post.

A few days after getting my greenhouse up, after several weeks of planning, prepping, a week’s worth of ground work and construction between different projects, after taking the podcast jump and setting up the back end of several more channels for the brand and using THAT project as a jumping off point…. well, Mother Nature sent 55-60pmh gusts within a wind event that lasted about 12 hours and shredded it.

Completely ripped it apart.

Getting the text from hubs “I am holding your greenhouse together with my hands. Please come home” as I was in the grocery store did not fully prepare me for what I would see when I pulled into the driveway 15 minutes later.

My wonderful husband, literally holding 3 sides and the roof of the greenhouse together as plastic panels were flapping in the heavy winds.

This wind event had been going on for about 7 hours at this point. And we had watched it like hawks…. a little wobble here or there, but nothing that would lead us to believe that it couldn’t handle it for another few hours while I went to the store for our weekly grocery trip.

Obviously, the wind had other plans.

Through the tears of frustration and litany of cursing, I worked to reverse engineer the entire structure, OUT of order of construction, simply to eliminate the safety risk of the winds catching a metal beam or plastic sheet and turning it into a spear. All while it was still gusting +50mph.

It took us about 30 -45 minutes. It was not easy. We were holding it together with one hand, fighting the wind from taking the entire structure all the while using our trusty Leatherman multitools disassembling the roof bit by bit, the walls, the door… Each piece slightly bent… each piece making me more and more angry… frustrated… feeling let down.

The normal process is to be angry, right? Something you worked hard on… destroyed by a force of nature, out of your control… you are MAD at it.

I guess I wasn’t prepared for this one event to make me SAD. I’m so used to just moving on to something else to fill the void of minor failure, that I was not prepared for this to make me completely rethink my decisions of the last 6 months. Yeah. Somehow, THIS was my tipping point.

I was angry and sad for the rest of the day, and woke the next morning with a commitment to double down on my efforts to create content, to improve the house, to improve the farm, to finish the perennial projects..

But, what I didn’t recognize was that my tower had been blown down.

Luckily, my husband did.

And he called me on it.

We talked it through. He let me vent… he let me vocalize what I was thinking in my head… and then he showed me how I was wrong to judge myself and showed how this one event did not change a THING.

Something I was always so proud of, my self awareness and ability handle my issues independently, was buried under that rubble. And honestly, in that moment, I NEEDED someone else to show me. I was blinded by doubt, emotion, anger, frustration… I needed that intervention.

So I took the day.

We went to lunch.

We sat outside in the sun.

I puttered around and planted a few seeds here… prepped the chicken garden bed…hammered in the drop log garden bed test posts… watched the Bald Eagle soar over the Farm, lazily riding the thermals and scoping out our chickens (don’t worry… they’re fine..), walked the garden to check on the bulbs finally coming up (the garlic… YES!)

We had leftovers for dinner.

I changed the duvet cover to bright, springtime colors and put fresh sheets on the bed.

We didn’t rush our daughter’s bedtime routine…

And I felt better…. MUCH better by the time we crawled into bed.

As I reflect back on yesterday (my ‘downtime day’) I do have some takeaways to document (mainly so I don’t forget them… or to have them serve as a reminder… for me… or maybe even for a reader…)

  1. Don’t stack your minor failures too high before objectively understanding them. This one is tough, because it means we have to SLOW DOWN and really figure out where the failure came from to begin with and address THAT… not bury or wallow in the failure itself.
  2. Don’t dismiss help, even when it comes in the form of someone asking how you are. Take advantage of that moment for yourself… to be honest, not dismissive. “I’m fine” might make you feel strong in the moment and the other person feel ok, but if they really know you, they will know you are not fine and that you are dismissing the moment. TRUST in those moments to help you. It is hard for those of us that are driven to be so independent, but while you can do most things alone, you cannot do it ALL alone ALL of the time.
  3. Don’t delude yourself into thinking the event that made you feel this way changes EVERYTHING. It might change a few things, but it most certainly does not change EVERYTHING. My hubby asked me a question that really made me think: If I didn’t build the greenhouse (eliminating the bad event), would I be doing anything differently? No, no I wouldn’t…. I would still be planting, still be working on the house, still be building my brand… With or without the greenhouse, THOSE are my goals. The greenhouse was just success marker that I had created… and when that success was taken away, I looked at it as a TOTAL failure of my goals. Which, of course, is QUITE AN EXTREME takeaway… but one that seemed logical in the moment of my anger and frustration. LET those outside observers help you see the truth. I couldn’t. But my hubby could. And for that I am grateful!
  4. Revist your goals and see if anything changes after the event. For me, my goals stills stand.
  5. Give yourself the time you need to work through the event. Don’t short change it. It WILL make you stronger and healthier to see the self-care work through.

So now, I will be sorting through the shrapnel next week and rebuilding the greenhouse. I will most likely re-inforce the structure somehow (even though wind gusts over 50mph are pretty unheard of in interior New England where we are…)

And I will get back to my content schedule, work schedule and regularly schedule programming… LOL. Folks, I HAVE 17 varieties of dahlia to plant this year… WOW! 🙂

I needed yesterday.

I didn’t see it, but I am grateful my husband did.

I needed yesterday so today (and tomorrow and the next day) can be the best they can be… so I can be the best I can be.

Sometimes being mindful means accepting help in the moments you are most blinded by circumstance and CANNOT be present for yourself.

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