July - Growth
July is here and so is the heat and humidity! The dog days of summer came early this year to many parts of the country and with a vengence. Historically, the name is derived from the period following the rising of the brightest star in the sky, Sirius (also know as the "Dog Star"), which in the Northern Hemisphere is around July 19th.
Even though it is the beginning of the hottest days of the year July is also a time of great activity, travel, adventure and hard work. This is the time that crops are growing, people are reconnecting with family and friends, and putting well laid plans into action. Taking care of yard work, sprucing up the home, tending to relationships.
All these activities take both time and energy. Sometimes we can be pulled in many directions at once and get spread a bit thin. The past month that has happened to both Metz and myself. Even though vacations, spending more time outdoors, exercising and art fairs are all very much fun and something we like doing the obligations can overwhelm. It is very hard to say no to the things we love to do and frustrating when illness, unexpected family matters and just the not so fun chores creep into the mix.
There is so much talk about life balance but rarely any real advice about how to attain it. We have no answers ourselves! Every person is different and every set of circumstances make it difficult to come up with a plan that everyone can implement. The most anyone can do is suggest some tools that one can use to assist in attaining that balance.
Exercise is one of my coping mechanisms. But with high temperatures coupled with high humidity it makes it very difficult to use it. This lack of exercise triggers higher blood-sugar levels in myself which greatly effects my mood and triggers stress response. Meditation is another tool but it can be hard to focus or even have the motivation to do it when depression starts to creep into the picture. Sometimes, it is just okay to do nothing.
Self-care is another phrase that gets used a lot. Not entirely sure what the definition even is, but tends to be a blanket 'get out of doing anything' for free card. It doesn't stop me from feeling guilty when I am not working on the very long, never ending to-do list! I haven't found a tool or phrase or justification that does that.
Perhaps this is not the inspirational pep-talk I would have liked it to be but I think it is important that all of us understand that no one can be 'on' all the time. We are not robots. We are complex emotional organisms with complicated and temperamental hormonal systems that can be put off balance for multiple reasons. There is this societal drive to always be working on oneself and sometimes that just isn't possible or realistic.
And perhaps that is true growth, to recognize ones limitations, be aware of ones strengths and weaknesses. Know when to push those limits and know when to pull back and take a rest. Self-talk can work both ways. It is so easy for me to criticize myself that I'm not working hard enough or doing enough during the day. So that is my goal for growth this year. To work on positive self-talk. To recognize my strengths and accomplishments. To not minimize my need to take a break and let myself recharge.