Since working with people to declutter their spaces and lives, focusing on their time has always been an integral piece to the puzzle. If you just declutter your spaces and don’t look at how you’re spending your time, (your habits, routines, and beliefs) then all that work goes to waste. The piles quickly come back, along with running around putting out fires or being stuck in procrastination.
Understanding what’s underneath these patterns is key to releasing them. That doesn’t mean reliving, remembering or retelling your challenging past. It’s about connecting deep within and releasing trapped energy that keeps you stuck in a cycle of past trauma. I find that many of my clients get stuck in dorsal vagal (freeze or fawn). After experiencing some sort of trauma, big or small, the energy of it stays. For whatever reason, they were unable to take action in that situation and got stuck in freeze mode. This immobilization that Peter Levine talks about in his amazing book, Waking the Tiger, explains why some people can’t get things done and procrastinate.
Think of it this way, when we experience a trauma and feel that we are in danger, we can either fight, flee or freeze. If we are able to fight or flee then most of this energy is able to move through our bodies and we will be less impacted by the event. If we don’t get support and freeze during the event, then this stuck mode can follow us throughout our lives. Learning how to release this trapped energy is one part of the puzzle to helping reconnect with yourself and your natural rhythm.
What’s your daily rhythm?
When you remove the clutter, chaos and confusion you have an oasis of possibility waiting for you. Once you are able to declutter the main areas of your life, you can better focus on how you are spending your time and how you want to be spending your time. Having gone through this part of the process you also are able to begin letting go of trapped emotions, trauma and unhelpful beliefs.Feeling safer and more in your power allows you to reconnect to your mind, heart, body and spirit. When you are connected to yourself you are more likely to take care of yourself, focus and take clear action when needed. Getting into a daily rhythm supports you with being more intentional with your time.
Creating your own rhythm
Anchoring in your values and what keeps you centered allows you to have more balance and live from a place of power, purpose and intentionality. These anchors become part of your every day and natural rhythm.
Some examples of anchors that I use to strengthen my connection to myself and stay focused are:
- MEDSSS (meditation, exercise, diet, sleep, social, and spiritual)
- Deep connections with a few close people
- Being creative
- Being playful and silly
- Kindness, giving and receiving, balance, honesty and humbleness
On the flip side we also need anchors when we get out of balance and are no longer in ventral vagal. I use these strategies to help me reconnect:
- Vagal exercises – hands on my heart, shaking, ear massage
- Gentle movements
- Yin yoga
- Talking to someone I trust
- A good hug!
- Hot bath with sea salt
- Smudging or using crystals
- Cold water on the hands, face or shower
Learning to recalibrate and let go
Life happens and each day unexpected things can happen. What’s important to you? What do you want to focus on? What can you let go of?This recalibration allows you to be realistic with what’s on your list and the expectations you have for yourself.
Each day you can review what you need to do and see what you can let go of. You can reorganize your time so there is space and flexibility, yet still focus and structure. When doing this I also recommend seeing how you are balancing your time for yourself, others and your responsibilities. Time for yourself is integral to give you the fuel and clarity you need to stay strong and at peace.
Being intentional and focused
Some things to note about time management is that there is not one right way to approach it. For me, it’s about balancing between structure and flexibility. I see both in myself and clients: the need for lots of structure. With others I see the pattern of needing chaos in order to function and get things done. Both pose an underlying issue, the need to control in some way. The need to control usually stems from the need to be safe.
Both approaches are unrealistic and not sustainable. When you are able to release the attachments to your belongings and things being a certain way you release a chunk of control. This frees up time and space in your life to get more intentional. Being able to get clearer on your need to control will also help you create a better balance around how you spend your time.
Overall this approach requires you to look within and get support and guidance from a trained trauma therapist or coach. I highly recommend looking into finding practitioners that do somatic work to help you release the patterns in your nervous system that tell you you are unsafe and to address the coping mechanisms you’ve developed to deal with that sense of unsafety.
How to get into your natural rhythm
- Connect: Values + Intentions
Review what your intentions and values were for phase 1 release. Then ask yourself:
- What’s important to you and what do you want to spend your time on now that you are no longer buried in clutter?
Revisit what you want to create in your life and then ask yourself:
- Has your vision for what I want to create changed?
- Is there anything I want to let go of or add?
- What time wasters, distractions, beliefs, trapped trauma do you want to release that prevents you from staying focused and in a flow?
- How do you want to organize your time now that you are clear of physical, mental and emotional clutter?
- What boundaries do you need to create to make sure you are focused on what you need and want to do? Ie. being able to say no or putting a timeframe on certain tasks.
Now you can tune in and see what you need in the moment and have a sense of what’s ahead. Take some time to create your own rhythm for your morning, evening and self care routines. Here you will also focus on what anchors you want to integrate into these daily routines.
Over time and with practice you will find it easier to adjust, tune into what you need and reconnect to yourself. And this is the way to develop your own natural rhythm which will be rooted in the foundational things you need and change with the seasons along with the changes that happen in our lives. Going through these steps regularly will help you stay on track and live a more balanced, meaningful and intentional life.